Splinter returned from his late night trip to the dump with several bags. He hadn’t had a chance to go through them yet, but he knew that there were clothes and toys in them. At the moment he was tired and he knew that the boys would wake up early so he headed back to bed to get as much sleep as he could.
He was woken the next morning by the sounds of the boys laughing and he knew that they had found the bags. With a smile on his face he made his way out of his room to find the boy sitting on the floor with the contents of the bags spread out around them.
They have had few luxuries on their five short years so this would have been like Christmas morning for them. Leo had found some action figures and was acting out a scene with them. Donnie was building a tower with Legos while Mikey played with a soccer ball. Splinter’s smile faded and ears dropped when he saw Raph.
The young turtle was wearing a torn pink princess dress and swaying back and forth with a Barbie doll in his hands. None of the others seemed to notice or care, but Splinter wasn’t going to allow it.
“Raphael,” he hollered, causing him to jump.
“Yes father?” Raphael turned to look at Splinter.
“Take off that dress,” Splinter growled.
Raph looked up at him in confusion, “Why?”
“It is not for boys,” Splinter explained. “Take it off now. And put that doll down.”
“But I like them,” Raph whined.
“No!” Splinter insisted. “You are a boy, act like it.”
Leo lifted his new found toys, “Can I keep these?”
Splinter looked at him, “Yes.”
“What about these?” Donatello asked about the Legos.
“Yes,” Splinter nodded. When Mikey held up the ball and looked around it at Splinter, a gentle chuckle escaped Splinter and he nodded again.
“That’s not fair,” Raph shouted. “They can keep theirs. Why can’t I keep mine?”
“I told you,” Splinter looked at him. “Those are for girls and you are a boy. I will not have you degrading yourself like this. Now put the doll down and take that dress off.”
“I hate you,” Raph shouted throwing the doll down and crossing his arms. When he didn’t move to remove the dress, Splinter stepped forward. Raph saw his father coming for him and ran away, but his balance failed him and he fell to the floor.
Splinter was on him and removing the dress before Raph could recover. Raph struggled against his father’s grip, trying to squirm free and the dress tore in half. Raph’s eyes filled with tears as cried over the loss of his new toys.
“Stop that,” Splinter snapped. “You are a boy and you must act like one.”
Raph just sat on the floor and cried. Leo walked up next to Splinter, “I don’t understand why Raphie couldn’t keep the toy.”
“This is not a toy intended for boys,” Splinter explained again.
“Why?” Leo looked at the dress. “I like it.”
“It is for girls,” Splinter insisted.
“Was’sa girl?” Mikey asked rocking, back on his carapace and playing with his ball.
“My wife and daughter were girls,” Splinter tried to explain. “The four of you are boys.”
“Why is that only for girls?” Donnie asked. “Why can’t boys play with it?”
“Because,” Splinter sighed. He looked down at his crying son then down at the ripped dress. “Society says that it is wrong,” he mumbled to himself. Turning, Splinter walked over and picked the doll up off the floor then fished through the bag, managing to find another dress.
He knelt down next to Raph and placed a hand on his shoulder, “I am sorry, Raphael.” He shushed him, “Calm down before you make yourself sick.” He offered the dress to Raphael along with the doll. “You can have them.”
Raph looked down at the dress in Splinter’s hands, “But that one’s blue.”
Splinter smiled, “It will have to do until I can fix the pink one.”
“Okay,” Raph mumbled, accepting the dress and doll. “Thank you.” He got up and put the dress on before returning to his dancing.
Splinter smiled and began to pick his way through the items, sorting them. As time passed Raph got bored with the dress and doll and started to play with some of the other toys. Splinter watched as Mikey slipped the dress on next and let the fabric swish over his legs with a wide grin on his face.
Society would never accept his sons anyway, so why hold them to the same restrictions? Joys in their life are going to be hard to come by as it is, may as we let them enjoy the few that they find.