Dear Advice Bot,
In a fit of desperation to calm down my hyperactive five-year-old son, I put on a DVD of “Mary Poppins.” It’s been a month, and I still can’t get him to stop putting on his mother’s dresses and serenading my umbrella with “ A Spoonful of Sugar.”
Should I be concerned? -Worried, This Father
WTF? Your son is clearly displaying signs of healthy gender curiosity, but instead of taking him out shopping for dresses in his own size, you write an email to me? I just hope that you haven’t set the poor kid on a course to become some deranged jock.
I got in touch with my former shrink, and she claims that your son is suffering from Mary Poppins Identification Disorder, which affects 10 out of 10 boys. The best way to help him to work through this is for you to start dressing up as Dick Van Dyke’s character Bert, and only communicate with your son through cheerful song and dance routines. After a few years, you can introduce a new song called “Let’s Go Back to Reality,” and with any luck the disorder will vanish. You may also want to adopt a cockney accent and take intro courses in chimney sweeping, but that’s entirely up to you.
The other expert I contacted was Robert, a film studies professor and the biggest Almodóvar fan I know. He says that your son has been looking for a strong female role model to guide him through his formative years. (Your wife has obviously dropped the ball, but that’s just my opinion.) It’s crucial that young boys are given the opportunity to play with genders before they settle on any one(s). In order to undo the harm that your own vexation has caused your son, Robert says that you should send him to school dressed in a tailored Edwardian-period nanny costume, and if tells classmates that his name is Mary, by all means support him.
Advice Bot is the Dandy Goat’s in-house life expert. Her columns appear irregularly.