We've read the studies; we know how even the most commitedly egalitarian parents tend to praise their little girls for being sweet and quiet and gentle, and praise their little boys for being active and energetic and strong. We didn't want to be those kinds of parents. We wanted to raise a girl who was strong and independent and fierce, who wouldn't be afraid to stand up for herself and speak her mind. Pink was only a symbol, of course, but a pretty powerful symbol. It seemed worth avoiding too much of it.
Which is why I'm a bit dismayed to find that in the morning, when I take over from Kevin's night shift and change Kavya's spit-stained onesie (she's spitting up a lot these days, often in copious and entirely unladylike fountains -- and never mind the stuff coming out the other end), I find myself reaching for the pink. The pink onesie, the pink blanket, the pink burp cloth. And oh, every once in a while, an unabashedly pink dress.
They're just so cute, dangit. All those tiny little flowers, and the pink looks so nice against her tanned skin (she got a bit of my brown skin tones, but mostly she's still looking like Kevin). And for a few minutes, when she's nice and clean (before she starts spitting up again), it's impossible not to cradle her against me and tell her how sweet and pretty she looks. I want to surround her with flowers. And when Kevin tells her, "Now, be a good girl for mommy," as he hands her off, what he's really saying is be quiet, be peaceful, don't cause too much trouble.
This isn't what we wanted. Just one month in, and already, she's being programmed into just the sort of good girl we hope she isn't going to be. Sometime in the next few months -- by the time Kavya actually starts understanding what we say, rather than just the tone of voice -- we need to change the message we're putting across. So that she knows that we think a good girl isn't just sweet and gentle and easy to get along with. That sometimes a good girl is fierce and feisty and strong. That a good girl is brave, that she has the courage of her convictions, has passion and integrity. Even if that sometimes means going against what everyone else thinks. Even if it makes her a troublemaker.
If we can manage to get that message across, then Kavya can wear all the pink she wants.