And I admit, I like dressing her in pink. She looks insanely adorable in her pink ballerina dress, with a long-sleeved white shirt and her hair up in a pink-banded ponytail. Her pink light-up sneakers complete the outfit, and it makes her so happy when everything matches. (Her standards for matching are very strict -- the various pinks, for example, should be exactly the same color. I have tried to tell her that blue and purple 'go together', but Kavi is having none of it.) Mama likes cute little outfits, and daughter is picking up that attitude, I can see. After she gets all dressed and hair brushed in the mornings, Kavi turns to me and asks, "How do I look?" And I tell her, always, "Beautiful!" She goes away happy, and I wonder whether I should be doing something different, so that she doesn't think to ask that question.
I also like dressing her in blue, or green, because both colors look great with her skin tones. And so does brown, which is often really hard to find for little girls. There's an upscale kids' resale shop near us, and I managed to find a gorgeous little dark brown t-shirt there, with white silhouettes of girls riding horses across the front. It was probably $40 new, but down to $5 for resale, thank god, and I snatched it up, because you just can't find that sort of thing at the big chain kids' clothing stores. Almost everything is relentlessly gender-segregated, and it drives me crazy that even the stupid jeans are so clearly boy/girl designed, making it very difficult to be frugal about passing clothes down from your daughter to your son.
And part of this is in my own head, I know. Because when I was last sorting Kavi's old clothes for Anand, I found that I had a hard time imagining dressing him in pink, or in flowers, or in the jeans with the little ruffle at the heels. (Kevin would have been fine with it.) And when I dress Anand in a pair of dark grey corduroys and a blue sweater with a white tall ship on it -- I swoon. He is such an adorable little man.
It's not just clothes either. Anand is transitioning from bottles to sippy cups right now, so I picked up two new ones just for him. And they had one in blue-green, and one in pink-orange, and I stood there in the aisle for way too long, trying to decide whether to get two of the blue ones, or one of each. I went for one of each, even though it felt a little awkward, and was proud of myself when I gave Anand his pink sippy cup of milk the next morning. And then Kavi got a little upset, because the pink-orange cup was bright and pretty, and wasn't it supposed to be for her? And I said she had three cups already, and two of them were pink and yellow, with flowers and crowns on them. And Anand could have pink things too. I'm not sure I convinced her, but she did wander off shortly thereafter. (Anand, of course, did not care about the color -- he just wanted his milk, and as fast as possible, please.)
I have this ongoing battle in my head, whenever I shop for them. Nobody gets military clothes (for babies? seriously??), or much in the way of sports clothes. Not that I have anything against sports, really, but the boy = sports thing is SO intense that it makes me reflexively angry. Especially when they're designing clothes for a one-year-old that make him look like he should be hanging out in a seedy bar, hitting on drunken frat girls. We buy a lot of clothes with dragons, and robots, and dinosaurs, and just animals in general. Dogs are good. For both kids, although Kavi is starting to resist grey and black and dark blue, and she thinks some of the aliens / robots / dragons are scary. Which makes me sad.
And she's picking up stuff from pre-school now that makes me crazy. Pink is for girls!, she'll proclaim. And that makes me want to go put Anand in a pink dress, right now, but of course, I don't have any pink dresses for him, because of the aforementioned buying into the same damn cultural constructs. Argh. Although to be fair, pre-school also has her coming home from school and saying, Look how big my muscles are! Much better.
My father commented when we were back home for Thanksgiving that I should cut Anand's hair soon, because it was starting to get a little long and girly. And I bit my tongue, because I was raised to be respectful to one's parents. But also because I was sort of stunned that someone would actually think / say such a thing. Argh. Now I want to grow his hair into a long, flowing princess cascade down his little back.
No, I'm not going to do that. I'll probably cut it within a month or two.
I know, I've written about this before, and I imagine I will again. Because I'm not sure it's going to be resolved anytime soon. Maybe she'll get tired of pink dresses and turn into a tomboy, or he'll turn into a...I'm not sure what a polite term for it is. Girly-boy sounds awful, and sissy-boy is much worse.
But whatever you call it, however they dress, I'm committed to being fine with it, even if, I suspect, it will sometimes make me uneasy on some level. It's my job to make them strong and confident enough that my kids can wear whatever they damn well feel like, at any age. No matter what anyone, including their mother, thinks of it.