Cheryl Kilodavis’s 5-year-old son, Dyson, has always preferred to wear dresses. And pink sparkly stuff. And bright, bright colors. This distressed the mother of two boys until her then 8-year-old son, Dkobe, told her to back off Dyson.
At which point Cheryl Kilodavis realized her son’s flamboyant dress-code was her issue and no one else’s. She not only backed off, but she wrote about boys who like dressing as princesses — for kids. Her book, My Princess Boy, was released in December.
The author and her subject went on the Today Show this morning to promote the book and talk about her son’s experiences as well as her own.
I think it’s great that the mother is letting her son express who he is. But I wonder if she couldn’t have gone on the show alone to get her point across. Kilodavis is walking the fine line that all of us who write about our children walk — what’s their story to tell and what is ours? How much of our children do we give away in order to reach out to others? How hard should we fight for their privacy or do we simply relent to a world that doesn’t want us to have any.
I love that Kilodavis not only wrote about her son’s unconventional taste in clothing but that she went on national TV to talk about it. I also love (probably more than anything) that Dyson’s father, Dean Kilodavis, is also totally on board with accepting his son for who he is and is proud and protective enough of him to go on TV and say, basically, “who cares?”
But I think the segment could have easily been just as powerful and interesting without Dyson doing not one, but two command performance skirt twirls for Meredith Vieira. I think the host’s attempts to get the boy to be cute and girly butts up against, if it doesn’t go over, the line of respect for this young boy. Vieira wants so much for Dyson to wig out and make us melt/gasp; but he’s a normal 5-year-old on a news show — not a trained actor at a Disney audition.
View the video below:
Cheryl Kilodavis is obviously a caring and loving mother, just like My Son is Gay blogger Nerdy Apple Bottom. These family’s support and embrace their sons, which is what they especially need for when the inevitable name-calling happens. But we don’t need the twirl or endless photo stream of Dyson in a dress to get what the show is about.
Kilodavis mentions her son’s name is nowhere in the book and that his privacy has been protected. But YouTube is forever. Which is also how long Dyson’s anonymity will be lost after Vieira’s attempted circus show this morning.