N came running up to me this morning, "Hey Mama, whas this say?"
I squinted at the label on the cuff of his pajamas, "Um, Baby Place"
N smiled, and shook his head, thinking that I was teasing, "No it doesn't! Whas this say?"
When I repeated, "Baby Place", his denial got more insistent.
"No! It say 'Boy's Place'!"
I tried to pacify him, explaining that it wasn't pajamas FOR baby's, it was just the store's name. But his sense of Boyhood had been injured, and he insisted that it said, "Boy's Place".
I then told him to go ask his sister. "Hey E! Whas this say?"
I could hear E in the other room. "It says 'Baby Place'".
This just fueled the fire. His yells of "No! Boy's Place!" got louder, and he ran to the door of his room and jumped up and down. "No! This is Boy's Place! See? I a Boy!" then he ran into the nursery where I was with the baby. "THIS is Baby Place!"
I could tell that this was going nowhere good, so I finally agreed with him, "You're right- you are a big boy, and you are wearing Boy pajamas."
He looked at me , and asked to make absolutely sure, "It say Boy Place?"
I nodded, resigned, "Yes, it says 'Boy Place'."
Satisfied, he turned to go get changed. E was leaning against the doorframe, toothbrush in mouth, watching this exchange. As he passed her he said, " See E? It DOESN'T say 'Baby Place', it say 'Boy Place'"
E and I exchanged conspiratorial glances and she just rolled her eyes, but didn't contradict him.
She had just learned one of her first lessons in preserving the fragile male ego.