Raising My Rainbow

C.J. and Cookie Sitting In a Tree

In C.J.’s preschool class there are about a dozen boys and one girl. Guess who’s C.J.’s BFF? The one little girl who he affectionately calls Cookie. Cookie plus C.J. sitting in a tree…

“When you had your parent-teacher conference, did Ms. Sunshine talk to you about our kids needing to keep their hands to their selves and them being too touchy feely?” Cookie’s mom asked my husband recently. Ms. Sunshine hadn’t brought the issue to our attention.

“Do you and Cookie touch each other at school?” we asked C.J., trying to seem very casual about the whole thing.

“Yeah,” he said nonchalantly.

“What do you mean?” we asked, meeting him on the corner of casual and nonchalant.

“We hold hands and hug each ‘udder,” said C.J.

“Do you kiss?” My question earned a wide-eyed look from C.J.’s Dad.

“Gross!…Yeah, sometimes, Cookie asks me to kiss her on the cheek cause we’s gonna get married.”

Cookie might be a good match for C.J. Or, she might confuse our gender nonconforming son even more. Cookie is a cutie with short brown curly hair, sleepy eyes and a bright smile. She wears old-school red Chucks, Toy Story shirts and carries a Batman backpack filled with her dinosaur toys. She likes all superheroes, but Spiderman and Iron Man are her absolute favs. Cookie is very territorial, I mean protective, of C.J.

Her and C.J. have little in common, except that they both appear to be gender creative. They are a quirky match made on the preschool playground.

Cookie’s identical twin sister, although in a different class, likes to play with them too. She moves fluidly between girl toys and boy toys and girl clothes and boy clothes.

Yes, by age three he had perfected his signature pose.

When an invite to Cookie and her sister’s pirate-themed fourth birthday party made it into C.J.’s backpack you’d have thought he’d been invited to New York Fashion Week. Finally, the day of the party arrived. It was not a girly pirate theme with pink jolly rogers sporting heart-shaped eye patches. No, this was a legit pirate party and dress up was encouraged.

“C.J., we get to dress up for Cookie’s pirate party, isn’t that fun?”

“Woo-hoo! I wanna be a princess.”

“No, Cookie wants you to dress like a pirate.”

“I don’t wanna be a pirate, I wanna be a princess.”

“But, it’s Cookie’s party and she wants all of her friends to be

“When it’s my berfday party can my friends dress up how I want them?”


Cripes almighty, that was a big promise that I hope he forgets, but he probably won’t, and I’ll have to deal with that when I get there, but I’m pretty sure all of the boys and dads won’t want to dress as princesses or cheerleaders (although that would be fun for me and my girlfriends to watch, I’m not going to lie).

The sassiest superhero of them all.

I loaded the pirate into the car.

Burgers. Bounce house. Bubbles. Then, face painting. The birthday girls, naturally, got to be first. Cookie’s Sister wanted to be Captain America. Cookie chose Spiderman. Up next? C.J., who was painted into one fierce Wonder Woman. The three gender creative superheroes got together for a picture.

“That’s so funny, the twins wanted to be boys and the boy wanted to be a girl,” I heard quite a few adult partygoers say.

Time for balloon animals. Cookie and her sister requested swords. C.J. wanted a pretty pink flower. While the girls waved their swords at C.J. He sniffed his aromatic latex daisy.

Gift time! Cookie unwrapped the Super Hero Squad Headquarters that we got for her. Cookie’s Sister unwrapped the My Little Pony with baby pony and stroller. They both hopped up to hug C.J. in gratitude. They lingered and fought over who would release him first. When the embrace was done, C.J. turned to me in silent tears.

“What’s wrong, honey?”

“I want that My Little Pony.”

“When it’s your birthday you can get that My Little Pony,” I said, knowing that was a promise I could and would make good on.