COMMENTARY | A U.K. couple recently revealed their child's gender after keeping it a secret for five years, but it has some people questioning their parenting methods.
While Beck Laxton and Kieran Cooper concealed the gender because they wanted to avoid stereotyping, the jig was up when it was time for Sasha to start school. It was then that school administrators wanted to know: Is it a boy or a girl? (It's a boy.)
In an interview with Cambridge News, Laxton explained why she decided to raise her son "gender- neutral" and said even she didn't check the baby's sex until a half hour after he was born. (After nine months of wondering, what's another 30 minutes?)
The couple kept the child's sex under wraps, bought him gender-neutral toys and refused to let him dress in masculine clothes with skulls or camo prints.
But pink, sparkly clothes weren't on the banned list and neither were dolls.
Some are comparing the family's controversial decision to a lab experiment.
While every parent can raise their child as they see fit, critics think this child's best interests weren't always at heart. Indeed, it almost seems as though Mama Laxton was encouraging the girl play.
A family Christmas card featured a picture of a picture of Sasha dressed as a fairy. "Children like sparkly things," his mom said. Sure they do, but why does Sasha look so unhappy in the picture?
Of course, up until now this method seems to have worked for the family. Sasha sounds to be a happy child who is open to a variety of experiences. But one has to wonder how Sasha will thrive once he gets out from under his mama's wings and into the real world.
Kids are known to tease, and Sasha still sports the "girls" blouse from his school's uniform.
"I don't think I'd do it if I thought it was going to make him unhappy, but at the moment he's not really bothered either way," his mother claims.
As for five years ago when the couple broke the news of their baby's birth to family and close friends -- but neglected to mention the gender-- Laxton said, "There were a couple of people who assumed it was a boy, because that's the default: something's male unless you say it isn't."
Victoria Leigh Miller is a freelance writer. She has been writing about parenting topics since 2001.