Sunday, January 6, 2013

Butterflies vs. Basketballs

Today I officially entered some scary new realm of adulthood when my husband and I paid $55 for a Costco Membership.  I don’t think either of us really knows if the cost is worth it, but the other hundred thousand or so people who all seemed to converge there today must think so.

This also is my first official piece writing in the mom genre, as I am, knock on wood, soon going to be parent in the next few weeks. (If I were me 10 months ago, I would promptly stop reading right about here.)

So I sent my husband to find 500 rolls of toilet paper while I looked at baby clothes. Yesterday, I read that a baby can go through 3 outfits a day, and I have about 6 on hand (thanks Samantha and the Chacham family), partly due to procrastination and a little due to superstition.

We are also trying to take a minimalist approach to the baby. We live in a comfortable, 2 bedroom condo. However, it does not lend itself, and neither does our budget to buy everything on the Buy Buy Baby registry list.  (Traditionally, Jewish people don’t have baby showers, although today, many do).

As I searched for the clothes, I encountered a problem. We didn’t want to know the sex of our baby. We aren’t militant about it, if a doctor or nurse slipped, we wouldn’t care that much, but we don’t really care about the gender so we’re going for the surprise element. So the problem? The clothes are really gender specific not just by design, but with phrases like, “Daddy’s little lady bug.”

So then I started to think about my own gender biases. Why don’t I buy all the pink princess butterfly and the dark blue baseball truck driver onesies and put it on my kid, no matter what the gender is. What do I really care? It’s just clothes.
But I couldn’t do it. So I looked again for gender neutral clothing, and sort of found some, but I think they are actually for boys because they are blue. And then I heard a voice of an old person saying, “Why are you dressing your baby like a little boy?” But I bought them anyways. The kid needs to be dressed.

So today I bought clothes with cute monsters, ships and sea creatures on them. The one with ships says, “My Little Captain.” If I have a daughter, and she wants to be a captain of a ship, I’m totally cool with that. In fact, I’d be impressed.

The big wardrobe question will come when we do know the gender. Just go to You have two choices: baby boy or baby girl.  So will I buy the bright pink My Little Kitty Princess Fairy Gear that says “My Little Angel” or the football NFL logo black velour “Number 1 Draft Pick” onesie?  
Or will I be too tired to care?

I know, I know, this should be my biggest problem. Besides, my nieces love princesses, fairies, and Barbies, and they are awesome kids.  

But my gut just tells me that I don’t want to foist gender stereotypes on my child, at least during the first week of its life. It’s not like I’ll refuse gifts of frilly dresses or masculine shirts. But it’s just not me to buy them, at least not yet. Would I feel differently if I knew the gender? I actually don’t think so, but I could be wrong.

I’d like to end with the most ridiculous passage I read yesterday in the book “What to Expect the First Year” about getting gender neutral clothes for your baby:

“If you haven’t learned the gender of your baby through prenatal testing, don’t buy everything in yellow or green (unless you’re crazy about those colors), particularly since many infants don’t have the complexion to carry off those shades.” (Page 43, 2003 edition)

Well, if the baby can’t pull off its yellow onesie, I’ll just call “What Not to Wear” and get their advice. I’ll put their number right next to poison control.