But Mummy, I am almost definitely a boy called Aiden.

Almost definitely a boy. When I was seven, my Mum left my Dad and took us all to Ibiza for an extended holiday. You can’t blame her – my Dad was a scout leader so poor Mum had dealt with jamboree and damp tents in random fields for 17 years by that point.

A lot of things happened on that trip – I fell out of a tree and was treated in a Spanish clinic where a nurse poured iodine over my stomach while my brother sniggered: “Oh, this is gonna hurt sooooo much” (he was soooo right). Also, we learned to ride, and dive, and we even bunked down with some 20-something football supporters when we lost our hotel room temporarily.

But all anyone ever remembers is: “Hey, wasn’t that the trip where Sally pretended she was a boy called Steve?

Ugh. Families. Fortunately, karma being a good friend of mine, I’m now storing up a plethora of embarrassing gender-related anecdotes for Flea’s teenage years.

Last November, Flea decided she was a boy called Aiden. At first, I presumed it was just a phase – but then she started correcting me every time I forgot to call her Aiden, and she would get tearful if I called her a good girl. “But Mummy, I am almost definitely a boy!"

It’s been almost eight months now and  Flea is definitely still a boy called Aiden. Her t-shirts are adorned with robots and pirates, she will only wear boys’ shoes, and her favourite toys are knights, pirates and monsters. Occasionally, she still weeps with disappointment when she wakes up in the morning and realises she still hasn’t grown the necessary ‘boy’ anatomy. Her school uniform is the only skirt she will consent to wear. She refuses to wear pink and will occasionally consent to yellow on the basis that "boys AND girls wear yellow, don't they Mummy?"

I’m not complaining. I hate pink, and there's no room in my life for anything sparkly.  I really don’t know how I’d cope with a child who wanted to play with fairies or princesses (or, "inappropriate gender role-models", as I prefer to think of them). The health visitor who did Flea’s three year check said it’s very unusual for children to be so fixed in their pretend identities, but it’s probably just Flea’s “highly creative” version of having an imaginary friend.

But what I really love is how other kids are so accepting of Flea’s dual identity. Recently, Flea was playing with her cousin Harry and he came into the kitchen to ask for some snacks.

Sally, can me and Flea have some biscuits?”

“Sure, help yourselves.”

“AIDEN, your Mummy said yes

On the bright side, my cousin's eldest daughter pretended to be a cat for a whole year. She can be seen on their wedding video, in a lovely white dress, miaowing to the congregation.


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. Just a Mum
    26th July 2009 / 6:21 pm

    That is hysterical! My little monkey occasionally pretends to be TV characters but only for a morning – I can’t believe Flea has stuck to it for months!

  2. 26th July 2009 / 10:19 pm

    I tried my hardest to make my daughter a tom boy, but failed miserably. She doesn’t even like batman! It shows how much I love her that I haven’t disowned her.

  3. 26th July 2009 / 10:39 pm

    This is so funny, my youngest allways changes his name, but usually only for a couple of days. How wonderful and strong willed she must be.

  4. 26th July 2009 / 11:29 pm

    Our boy grew out of wanting to be a girl by his fourth birthday. (Or at least he got very worried about people thinking he wants to be one.)
    I’m still a bit sad about that. I liked his imaginative play, and dressing him up. Now it’s all pirates and Spiderman. But I also have a little girl now.

  5. Sally
    26th July 2009 / 11:34 pm

    @Dan – aw. Flea loves Batman to distraction. She’s never seen Batman but she has a figure, and she just thinks he’s the coolest thing ever because he has… a cape.
    @TheMadHouse – oh yes, she’s very determined! Except for that one day she decided she wanted to be the Coco Pops monkey she’d seen at nursery!
    @Mwa – it is lovely to see, and I hope school doesn’t bash it out of her too quickly. I’m hoping that because her new school is a small class with kids she knows really well, they’ll let her grow out of it naturally.

  6. 27th July 2009 / 11:46 am

    Oh I love this. I always wanted to be a boy when I was little too but NEVER gave it the commitment that the wonderful Flea is showing. I have to ask though… why AIDEN??!

  7. Sally
    27th July 2009 / 11:51 am

    I suspect that it’s because he’s her favourite boy at pre-school.
    Being a boy, of course, Flea only plays with *other* boys – usually two little boys called Aiden and Thomas. So she’s always coming home full of demands for Spiderman t-shirts and Power Rangers.

  8. 27th July 2009 / 1:40 pm

    Flea/Aiden sounds very determined. Who says kids have short attention spans?!

  9. 27th July 2009 / 6:08 pm

    Now you made me wonder what is in store for me…