"I didn't see any other kids behaving that badly."
"Shouldn't he be over these by now? He's four. The books say he should be over these."
"What are we doing wrong? We need to spend more time with him."
And so on....
It helped, somewhat, that when he and I returned to the park sans kids later that evening we saw at least two other children, including one much older than Gavin, being dragged out of Disneyland by their parents. I'm probably a horrible human being for taken pleasure in someone else's embarrassment, but hey, I'd been there.
A day later we were home and back to reality. I was busy getting ready in my bathroom, and the kids were busy getting into my stuff. Mia noticed my nail polish and asked me to paint her toenails. I obliged. Then Gavin asked me to paint his toenails too. I said fine, but cautioned him that some people think that boys shouldn't paint their toenails and so he needed to be prepared for that. He said, "That's okay Mom. I don't care." So I painted each of his ten toes bright red. He compared his 'pedicure' with his sister's and then it was on to the basement where his toys were waiting to be played with after a week of rest.
The next day was my husband's turn to pick the kids up from the babysitter. Murray called me at work to say that there'd been an incident that afternoon and Gavin was feeling badly. Apparently some of the other boys had laughed at his red toenails, because only girls are supposed to have polish. Then my little boy did something that made us both so proud. He told the boys to stop laughing at him and leave him alone because he liked his painted toes and that's all that mattered.
Seriously. So proud.
Still, it bothered him to be made fun of, and I understood that. When I got home I tried not to make such a big deal about it, just reassured him that we loved him for who he is. I asked him if he still wanted to have his toenails painted and he said yes. It's still there, well over a week later.
And I figure that for all of the tantrums, we are raising one confident little boy. Someone who is okay with who he is even if it's not always okay with others.
I guess it means we must be doing something right, right?