September 2017

The tricycle
                for Hamish

Grandma bought the tricycle
shiny red and yellow
the thrill of independence
your feet off the ground
never thinking to paste
a new logo on
even after the fuss you made
of cutting and pasting two
Holden lions
onto your ride-on big red car
that you wore out one camping trip.
It sat beside the green wheelie-bin
on its remaining three wheels, for months
before it finally went out.

Remember the grazes and shallow cuts
on your elbow and knees
that first time you fell off;
salty streaks caressing your cheeks
you lay on the gravel, curled in your tantrum pose.
Now, you ride it in figure eights
on the fat decking, helmet strapped on tight.

The bucket at the back is rarely empty;
transporting cars, beloved bunny;
milk cup – half full; dregs from a Clix pack
or a Fuji red – minus two bites.

Can’t decide
whether to ride it
or play with something different,
sit atop playing your guitar,
taking turns to use feet and fingers,
sometimes singing.

Soon, you’ll want to upgrade
and the trike will keep the garden company,
like Cinderella’s coach after midnight.
No doubt we’ll give in – or Grandma will –
accept that it was merely the precursor to a bicycle.

 

© Tiggy Johnson

“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”*

I’ve always been aware of gender conditioning and actively tried to combat any lingering prejudices or stereotypes in my own parenting, even down to encouraging dolls with my boys when they were little. It’s great to read people writing about gender issues they’re experiencing with their kids. For too long these subjects have been discouraged or silenced. I’d love to publish some more creative writing on this topic, especially if you are struggling with a child who actively tries to move away from gender normative preferences. A society where everyone can be themselves thanks Gloria for those aspirational words.

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* Gloria Steinem