A Kid Like Jake: A Review

With so much time on my hands, I have added dozens of movies and shows saved on my List of things to watch on Netflix. I have been binge-watching everything I possibly can. Yesterday, I saw a new movie added on there called A Kid Like Jake

If you haven’t watched the movie, please don’t read on any further. I am planning on talking about the parenting that takes place in this movie and the relationship dynamics between the parents and Jake. 

The movie itself is slow moving. It’s a drama that consists of a lot of dialogue. Although the movie is about four-year old Jake and his gender non-conformity, you seldom see little Jake throughout the movie. Mostly you are looking at the relationship between the parents and how they are dealing with the stress of their home life while they are trying to get their son into private school. 

I did like the idea of this movie. I don’t think there are enough movies or shows out there to address the gender boxes we put our children in, specifically boys. Some parents see a boy playing with a barbie, or wanting to wear a dress and they panic, they try and “shut it down” and discourage that kind of behaviour.

Why?

Because a lot of people think that boys liking things that society has decided are meant for girls means that they themselves want to be girls. They fear it is a sign that their son will be gay, and despite how they felt outside of that moment, whether they are accepting of homosexuals or the LGBTQ+ community, it is different when it is their child. 

Why?

I can’t speak for these people. I can only speak on situations I’ve seen or existed in. It isn’t that these parents have anything against people who identify outside of their born sex, or love people society, although way more encompassing and accepting now, don’t necessarily think they should love. I think it’s because every parent has a dream for their child. They have a vision of how their lives will play out. They see their son as someone who will grow to be a good man they can be proud of, one who will fall in love and give them babies. Most times, that vision is a boy/girl relationships. Our minds have just been hardwired by the world we live in to see it that way. 

Seeing their son dress outside the norm, love fairytales and envision himself as the damsel in distress as opposed to the heroic prince may cause them to subconsciously mourn the idea they had of their child. The life they had planned for him. 

In A Kid Like Jake both his mother and his father (played by Claire Danes and Jim Parsons) seem so comfortable with his personality in the beginning of the movie. It leads you to be believe that the conflict in the film will be with the parents and the outside world. 

Instead, the personality of Jake is brought up to his mother by a friend, Judy (played by Octavia Spencer) of hers who also is the director at his pre-school. She mentions his unique view of the world, his interests and how he doesn’t feel restricted by gender-norms. She then suggests she should use this information to help Jake stand out on his private school applications as they are always looking for diversity. 

Jake’s mother acts as though she has been taken completely by surprise and like she is hurt by her friend’s words. Her reaction had me disliking her character through the rest of the movie. 

As a parent, as a new parent, there is nothing more important to me than my child’s happiness. If my daughter is happy covered head to toe in mud, then I will let her play in the mud. If she is happy wearing rain boots every day, rain or shine, accompanied with a tutu and a wizard’s hat, than that is what she will wear. As long as she isn’t hurting anyone, her happiness comes above all else. 

I do understand being protective when the subject of your child’s sexuality comes up, like at one point in the movie where poor Jake is called a ‘Flag’ by another kid at his fifth birthday party. What I don’t understand is being so closed off.

A conversation comes up in the middle of the movie. Greg and Alex (Claire Danes and Jim Parsons) are out to dinner with a friend of Alex’s who’s son is friends with Jake (Priyanka Chopra) and her date (Aasif Mandvi) and he asks the table about Caitlyn Jenner. He said he had heard in an interview that she is still interested in women and asks if this makes Caitlyn a lesbian. Alex gets upset when he said the reason he brought it up was because when Greg and Alex had stepped away from the table to take a call, they had spoken about Jake. 

I had expected her to stand up for Jake. To tell them that he was unique and wonderful and he would be wonderful whether it was wearing a dress or wearing overalls. Instead she buckled. She was flustered and went home to blame their parenting with Jake, as though if they had made different choices, they would have a different Jake. 

I felt bad for Greg throughout the movie. You see glimpses of him when he is truly happy and it is moments where he is watching Alex and Jake play together. he is supportive and receptive, and he tries to support Alex in all her day to day choices and life but you can tell she often bulldozes over him which leads to him keeping a lot of his thoughts and opinions to himself. 

It’s definitely a movie worth watching, although I do feel like the movie should have revolved a little more around Jake. The relationship between his parents are important because it explains some of his pent up frustrations and aggressive behaviour, but we never really hear from Jake why he loves it all so much, why he prefers to be a princess than a prince and I think that would have really opened up a lot of eyes to why some people make certain choices. 

My daughter is young. There is still a lot of time before she learns to understand who she is. I think that in today’s society it is important for all parents to let their children know they can come to them with anything and we won’t judge or suppress them. We need to encourage them to be who makes them most happy so long as we also encourage them to be good people. 

Kindness and love, everything else is up to her. 

If you get a chance I would suggest watching the movie. Although it wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be, I am hoping that if the movie gets enough support, it will open the door to more movies and shows like this one that open our eyes into different people’s hearts and how they love and feel. 

Boy Or Girl?

I found out I was pregnant on January 16th, 2018. At the time, I was so excited and completely wrapped up in the new idea that I was finally pregnant, that I didn’t think too much beyond that.

I had this new, exciting secret.

I was pregnant.

However, as more time passed and my OCD started to kick into full gear I began to think about everything. Every outcome, good and bad. I researched and planned it all, every path my mind could have thought up.

When the dust settles, and you battle your way through all the fits of worry and endless planning, you stop and think about one simple thing; boy or girl?

You have this life growing inside you and you want to bond with it. You want a link and you want to start calling your little kiwi by the name you have chosen but will most likely keep to yourself for a few more months. This is a little difficult when you are constantly calling the baby it.

Typically, they say the gender is best revealed during your second trimester ultrasound, somewhere between 20-25 weeks. It was long before my 20th week when I started painting these mental images of my life and the small differences the sex of my unborn baby would make.

If you are a whimsical person, there are a few different things you can do to “determine” the sex of the baby before that ultrasound. You can pee in a cup of baking soda and water, whether or not it bubbles determines boy or girl. You can use the Chinese Gender Calendar method, which seems to be successful just as often as it is wrong.

I didn’t do any of these things. I hate having blurred answers. I hate the idea of maybes. I opted to wait for my second trimester ultrasound to determine the sex of our baby, however that didn’t stop my mind from wondering.

Turning to the forums that both kept me sane and shook my sanity, depending on the day, I decided to take a poll. Not to find out what everyone was having, but to find out what they hoped they were having.

When I was younger, I always liked the idea of having a baby girl. My reasoning was because I thought my life would be like the Gilmore Girls. I would be best friends with my daughter, we would be completely wrapped up in one another’s worlds and although we would disagree at times, we travelled through life together and our paths always worked their way back to one another.

My own mother described the differences between having daughters and sons to me. She always told me that raising girls was hard, it was an uphill battle from the time they could talk back to the time they were teenagers and eventually moved out. Similar, we were often at odds with my mother (my sister a lot more than I was). Raising boys, she said was a lot simpler. They were easier to entertain, they were like whirlwinds that seemed to leave everything slightly askew but they were easier. However, when they got older, they grew apart. They fell in love, and they created their own families, often forgetting about their mother, or leaving her a smaller role in their lives as their partner was usually close to their own parents. (Again, this is not always the case, just her opinion.)

Daughters, if you raised them right, grew up to eventually become companions. They were people that could sit with you, have a glass of wine and discuss life. They were phone calls you would spend hours on, just discussing your life and the ups and downs of it all.

Either way, raising children is an adventure.

According to the polls that I set out, it seems a lot of women these days would disagree with my mother. A lot of women want sons. This made a lot of sense to me.

I have worked with children all my life. I have been baby-sitting since I was twelve years old, long before parents asked for references and experience. I was a camp councillor, a daycare teacher, and even a nanny. My life, at one point or another, always seemed to be evolving around children.

In my own personal experience, I too felt like boys were easier. I helped my mother raise two of my brothers. Whenever a female cousin would be left in my care I would always groan at the idea of having to watch them. They always seemed like more work, like I needed to keep them entertained, always interacting with them. Boys kept themselves busy, almost a little too well and often they needed to be told to take a break from it all.

The poll had me wondering; “Why have a preference at all?” Are mother’s falling into the whole Mama’s Boy/ Daddy’s Girl lines? Children are blank slates when we get them, rough pieces of clay yet to be molded into anything, aren’t they?

Their very personalities are formed by influence. By the things we allow into their lives to shape them. Sure, sometimes children fight the molding we are doing, they become what they are to spite us rather than because of us, but even that is something we’ve done in a way.

So what does the gender of our babies matter?

When I was younger, when I had everyone else children and before I was pregnant with a child of my own, I thought I knew. It all seemed so simple to me. Boys seemed to be more fun.

Yet, meeting the right little girls has shown me first hand that there are girls that aren’t divas in training. There are adventurous, rambunctious, imaginative, wild and free little girls that make me smile and think; “Hell yeah, I want that!”

As far as I am concerned at this point of my pregnancy, the sex of my baby doesn’t matter. Healthy and happy, that is really all I want.

I’ll let you know what I think later (I will be honest, I am happier with the baby girl name we have chosen than the baby boy name, and my husband’s suggestions make me realize he will get absolutely no say in anything :P) when I actually do find out the sex of my baby.

Until then, I will pretend I know what I am talking about, and tell you that the gender of your baby is irrelevant.

Welcome To Parenting

There are so many things in life we like to think we will be prepared for. In so many ways, we never stop taking first steps. As children, we look at adults and think they have all the answers, they hold all the knowledge and as we age, as we grow up, we will too.

Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case. If there is one thing I have learned through my life and know now more than ever, pregnant and twenty-seven, it’s that no saying is truer than “Fake it ’til you make it.”

If you thought being an adult was hard, that you were just stumbling through the milestones hoping you were doing things right, just wait until you become a parent!

Hopefully, we can stumble our way through everything together! Because hey, I am just like you, pretending to know what I am doing, pretending I know how to be an adult and sooner rather than later, I will be pretending I know how to be a parent.

Let’s all pretend together! A journey is always more fun when in good company.