Can you guess which of my children this is? Can you?
If you guessed Emily, you would be wrong. It’s my little Andrew. Wearing one of his sister’s outgrown pajamas. One of her pink outgrown pajamas.
This type of dress isn’t unusual in our house, the most probable culprit being laundry holdups. (I know, if Ben did the laundry a little bit more in between his two jobs we totally wouldn’t have this problem. Sheesh.)
Anyway, the reason I showed you this picture is that I don’t care if my little boy wears pink. Nor do I care if he wears frilly pants. This might sound strange, but I highly doubt he is born favoring the colors blue and yellow. I know what you are thinking, “This is crazy talk” but hold on to your gender stereotypes a little longer and let me explain.
A peculiar parenting idea Ben and I have embraced is to recognize just how much we socialize our kids to prefer certain things, like colors, over other things. For example, Emily loves to wear dresses. Often, I have to put her in some type of dress at night to avoid unsavory tantrums. I made her this way. Almost from birth did I place her in pretty, pink dresses. I wanted people to know she was a girl so I dressed her accordingly. I made this conscious choice while simultaneously understanding that one day she might only prefer dresses. And I was okay with that.
With Andrew, I’ve always dressed him in blue and yellow. Again, I wanted people to know he was my adorable little boy and felt very comfortable using typical boy colors. Yet, when he started closing in on a year and was rapidly outgrowing his pants (you know, his 3-6 month pants) I decided to pull girl pants from my store of baby clothes. I chose pants that were neutral enough, only a little frills, so nobody would know he was wearing girl pants. After doing this a few times, I stopped masking even that and started including Emily’s old pajamas in his attire. Hey, when you run out of clothes you use what you have, y’know?
Andrew now has plenty of boy pajamas so we don’t have to use his sister’s anymore. But, when he’s older, I’ll make sure to show him this picture so he knows that it’s okay to like, and even wear, pink. Because, frankly, color preference doesn’t make the man–it’s treating others with respect and compassion that make a man (or woman).
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