She limpits my leg
suctioned on, screaming
for an icy-pole.

He buckles and squirms,
in arms, wanting out,
wanting down, up, on, off.

She calls me stupid, a bitch.
Mightily high and strumpeted
she throws open the freezer
and fingers her prize.

He demands suction,
bodily moulding
of mouth and breast.
He sucks on my arm, and
wails like a wounded seal
at the lack of sustenance.

She’s quiet now,
flinted and formidable
the challenge is made.

I don’t have the energy.
My battle gear is mulched under
four years of dirty nappies.
Half-hearted, half –arsed,
I suggest, but she’s immovable
and I waver only slightly, before caving.

Sternly- “Only one” I say,
but face is not saved
and I’ve doomed her to ‘brat-hood’.

I sit.
He sucks, she sucks,
he kneads me like a stress ball
she plays me like a lute.
And we’re all happy.


© Sue King-Smith

“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