June 2014 – A quick trip to the washroom, and within minutes there had been 2 beautiful solid lines on my home testing kit that said my husband and I were pregnant! Our celebration had consisted of excited talks at a supersonic high pitch, giggles that resembled the banter of school girls, and our crazy pet dog who jumped about excitedly on our bed.
To make the arrival of our little bub more comfortable, my husband and I decided to get things organized in our house and lives that very day! Lists were made, parenting styles discussed and the house rearranged to accommodate our baby’s arrival. All at 6 weeks pregnancy. Enthusiastic much? That was us.
Not wanting to waste a minute, we had head to the closest shopping centre with our ‘list’ in tow. We not only planned on doing a reconnaissance of baby items, but we intended on buying stuff as well. Unfortunately, no matter which maternity / baby store we went to, there was a clear cut division between things for ‘girl’ babies or ‘boy’ babies. Majority of them had a section for ‘newborns’, however we found them all to lean towards a certain sex, either blatantly obvious in their display, or subtly color coded and accordingly accessorized to imply the gender it’s meant for.
The lack and scarcity of ‘neutral’ (clothes, baby books etc) disappointed us, but we didn’t let it dampen our childish stupor. Onwards we continued with our mission towards the next stop – the toy shops. And guess what? You either have to turn left for boy toys and right for girls’ (‘cuz girls are always ‘right’ haha). I wondered how everything in today’s age and time became so gender oriented. Who decided that girls can’t play with remote controlled cars and boys sit with doll houses? Who said that girls shall be in everything pink and boys have to do all things blue? Suddenly we faced a big dilemma. Do we fall into this trap even before our baby is born? Is it responsible parenting on our part to mould him/her into a certain stereotype?
Our woes didn’t end there. Eventually, planning a baby shower was just as difficult for my sister. We were ‘those’ kind of parents-to-be who didn’t know the sex of their child till the day he made his grand appearance. However, everyone wanted to know if we were going to have a girl or a boy, mostly so they could procure gifts accordingly. And I don’t blame them, the market trends don’t make life any easier. But for parents like me who want to ensure that their child is exposed to all the colors of the rainbow and is open to all kinds toys and play, it becomes very difficult to search and choose gender neutral products. I want my child to decide what he/she likes, without being pressurized into conforming to the society’s prejudices; is that wrong?
In due course, we were blessed with a healthy baby boy. But I guess there was a certain gamble involved for all our family and friends when they bought presents for the shower. He now owned everything in either shades of blue or hues of pink. There may have been a few things in yellow or green dotted about, may have.
So here are some fun facts* for you:
1. Most babies are color blind when there are born and can only see shades of grey for atleast a few weeks.
2. In June 1918, an article from the trade publication Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl”. Ha!!
So for now, I make peace in dressing up my son in blue AND pink, till the day HE decides what his favorite color shall be :)