I don’t enjoy painting my own nails. So I don’t. I typically go to a nail salon for pedicures and I don’t paint my fingernails because I don’t have any. Lately though, in an effort to save money and because I don’t have enough time to go out, I’ve been doing my nail painting at home. One day my 4 year old saw me doing this and innocently asked me to “put colors on his toes.” My initial, knee jerk reaction was a “no.” I mean… he is a HE and nail polish is for girls. He asked me again, so sweetly, and all he cared about was that he would have colorful nails just like mom. My 4 year old didn’t connect nail polish to women, or gender roles, or anything else beyond just “pretty.” To him it looked fun! He likes drawing, coloring, painting, why wouldn’t he think painting toe nails is an activity all people could do?
So… I informed him of the side effects (having to sit still and not touch his nails for a while) and he was more than happy to sit while I made his toenails “beautiful like mommy’s.” If you had been there to see his face and hear his genuine excitement, even the pride he displayed showing his father, you would have done it too.
Next thing you know my 2 year old sees the fun, and in his wordless way, asks for the same. He was just as thrilled with his new colorful toes and squealed with delight.
My intentions weren’t political or meant to prove that boys can do anything girls can do (which they can) or vice versa. I did it because it made my boys happy!!! It does fit in with how I want to raise my kids but that was just a bonus. Do I worry about what others think? Nope. I’ve already been asked by about 1.5 million people, family included, about why I would paint their nails. My answer? “Because they asked and because they like it.” For those who pry deeper with questions about “making them gay” my answer isn’t as short and isn’t as nice. Nail polish doesn’t make anyone gay… sooooo….
All I can say is that the 5 minutes it takes to paint my boys’ nails are some of my favorite minutes we’ve had. The polish wears off quickly (especially considering the playing my boys do in dirt, sand, and water) but I’m hoping they might remember our nail painting sessions fondly. I hope that because I’m raising them to be open minded little boys that, with a little luck, will turn into open minded men and fathers someday.
To the curious- I purchased Piggy Paint* to use because it is non-toxic. It wears off pretty darn quickly on hands, less so on toes, but I like it because I know the kids have their hands in their mouths often. *affiliate link