So, we were drawing reindeer for our front window the other day, when Big D asked for clarification of which gender each of Santa’s reindeer were. I responded that I thought that most folks thought they were all male, but that wasn’t necessarily the case, and we could make some of them female reindeer if we wanted to do so.
Flash forward to Buddy drawing a HUGE breast on one of the reindeer, which I subsequently (and completely accidentally, I swear) cut off. This lead to the following conversation between Big D and myself while coloring and cutting.
Big D: “So do the reindeer babies come along with Santa so they can have ummies?” (Family shorthand for breastmilk)
Me: “I’d think that the mama reindeer who are nursing their young would stay home that year, and take care of their babies.”
Big D: “But what if they have JOBS?”
Me: Stunned silence followed by “Well, I guess they could pump their milk for that one day of the year, and the baby reindeer could hang out back at the North Pole where Mrs Claus and the elves could take care of them while the Mama reindeer did their jobs with Santa.”
Gulp. Who knew my 5 yo could bust my feminist chops in one Christmas-themed swoop?
Anyway, Big D decided that only the very smallest baby reindeer would need fawn-sitting, and the big-kid reindeer would come along with Santa and their parents for training. Our final scene is still lacking the reins and lines connecting reindeer, but you can imagine that the big-kid reindeer are tethered to their parents. I was happy to point out that they could be tethered to both mother AND father reindeer, and hoped that it somewhat redeemed my earlier lapse.
I value the time I spend being a homemaker and nursing mother, but has this experience really colored my perceptions so much that such traditional roles have actually changed my default feminist settings?
Anyway, as mortified as I was by this, I’m incredibly glad that she called me on it. My role as homemaker hasn’t kept me from teaching my girls a thing or two about what I *could* be doing with my time! Phew!