Even before I was pregnant my husband and I always knew we wanted to save finding out the gender until baby was born. This meant lots of guessing games, sweepstakes and old wives tales on the run up to birth as well as any pre-birth baby gifts and my baby shower were gender neutral. I loved this and still to this day enjoy dressing baby P in white, grey, lemon, mint and any other non-blue or non-pink items. She looks adorable and innocent, like a baby off an advert-that is until she stains it with a sicky burp or the poo explosions she is renowned for!
Once she was born the cute pretty pink dresses and girly items rolled in and we were kindly inundated with pink blankets, socks, toys, tights, grows, vests, bibs and anything else a baby girl would need. I’ve loved dressing her up in little cute girly outfits and dresses, but often wonder if we are stereotyping my daughter.
Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love the gifts we have been kindly given and love the generosity of people, I’m not one to ever look a gift horse in the mouth, I will also hold my hands up and admit I too have excitedly bought typical girly items, but why? Why do we automatically put girls into one category and boys into another? Why do we assume that already at this young age she will like pink, dolls, dancing, fairies and princesses? Why have I naively assumed that my friends new baby boys want cars, footballs, blue clothes and trains, trucks and you buses?
Little P is only 3 months, her life revolves around eating, sleeping, pooing (endlessly), gurgling and giggling. She’s only just forming her personality and choices, so who are we to decide what she will or will not like? It’s interesting the comments people make, she was bought a pink bear comforter, “because all girls like comforters” but do they? How do we know? Will P even want any kind of comforter and do we want to force her into following the trend and being part of the crowd or do we want her to be her own person and stand out?
As a dance teacher everyone comments on how she will be a dancer too and love ballet but who’s to say she won’t prefer going to football or rugby? Maybe she’ll want to play cricket or do karate. Don’t get me wrong, I will lovingly take her along to my local dance school and let her explore the class but should she decide she’s more into playing the drums then that’s her choice.
I guess I feel the same about toys we buy her, yes we will probably get her dolls etc but why not also let her have a train set or cars. I know I played with cars, Lego and other such “boys” toys when I was young and I’m sure her time with my nephews may encourage her to explore their love of dinosaurs! And why not? I know if they chose to play with a doll my brother and sister-in-law wouldn’t care as long as they were happy and sharing appropriately! In fact on that note I know a few friends who’s little boys have dolls and love playing with them and I wouldn’t bat an eyelid if we had a boy and he decided to do that.
Not knowing the gender meant that we chose a gender neutral themed nursery with a green jungle theme that we love and she seems to love gazing and the colourful ornaments. She can later on when older decide on her own colour and theme for her room (however I may sway her from the deep purple my brother once chose for his room when we were teenagers!). We also saw some cute baby dress up outfits and got her a Mike Wazowski and Superbaby and Batbaby romper suits, to which my husband said. “we’d better have a boy now” my reply was of course, “why?” And when she grows into them I’ll happily let her done her cape and take some cute pictures of her dresses like the cute little monster that she is!
On the run up to Christmas some friends and family have asked for ideas as to what to get my daughter as have I for their children. Many have commented on trying to get the girls or pink version of things for P or their own children/relatives but why? My initial reaction was why because in someways it’s more cost effective to get the green or red because if we or they have another baby and it’s a boy it can be used for them. However, then I’m contradicting myself stating that a boy can’t have pink but why can’t they? My husband has often dressed in pink shirts or t shirts and the colour suits him! My nephews have a pink toy till that they love playing with and shouting “price check on isle 3” down the microphone of. Who cares that it’s pink? It keeps them entertained and lets them imaginatively play shop.
I guess what I really feel and am trying to say is that my intention is to let my daughter form her own choices and tastes as she grows up and that I don’t want to force into any particular way, whether that be influenced gender or any other form of stereotyping. I want it to be influenced by her and her own likes and dislikes.
So for now, I’ll dress her in pink, blue, red, green, grey and rainbow!! I’ll let her explore whatever toys she likes and grow and develop in the way she wants as long as she’s learning to be kind and courteous. I’ll teach to appreciate the people around her and the kind things they do for her.
Once again then, I’ll thank everyone for their gifts for my daughter, pink and girly, gender neutral or blue and boyish they are totally appreciated and will be lovingly used or worn regardless of what gender influence they may have. Those decisions will be left for when P’s big enough to decide what colour, dress style or toy type she likes.