Below is a picture of my son at about seven months old, sitting in his buggy.
He hasn’t really used it a lot due to the fact that, up until three months before this photo was taken, he still screamed pretty much non-stop unless he was in the sling and even after that it was touch and go.
Happily, as you can see, he now seems to be fairly content sitting in the pushchair so I may use it a bit more from now on.
The sling is undoubtedly easier for negotiating shops and busy areas but the buggy is handy to hang bags off of and I’m getting a bit sick of using my 15 year old sixth form college rucksack as a change bag, it isn’t at all glamorous even though I’ve picked off all the awful band logos that seemed like a good idea to teenage me.
As you will no doubt have noticed, the buggy is pink.
And not just any pink, a really obnoxious bright day-glo pink.
I am, as it happens, aware of this.
When I went to buy this buggy, which was also available in blue and silver and is awesome because it weighs less than a newborn baby, it was half the price in this colour. At the time I only had a girl and I really didn’t think too heavily about it.
Yes, the colour is pretty dire…but I saved myself £75. I’m a money saver at heart (thanks, dad) and I cannot argue with that.
I mean, it doesn’t actually matter, right..?
Well, I didn’t think it did. So imagine my amazement when the following exchange occurred just outside my local shop:
Old biddy: Oh, lovely little smiler you have there. What’s her name?
Me: He’s called Screamy McPukesalot (I didn’t really say that. I gave his name. Obviously)
Me: Yes! He. My darling little boy Screamy.
Her: Mumbles something incoherent, shakes head and walks off.
Now, maybe I am being over-sensitive.
Maybe her abrupt ending to the conversation was not, as I perceived, in direct relation to the fact that I had a pink buggy containing a baby boy.
Perhaps she really could not think of an appropriate ending to the conversation. Maybe she was exceptionally socially awkward. But the most likely explanation is that she thought I was a bit of a weirdo and wished to converse with me no longer.
It is not be the first time I have encountered this kind of attitude, and I very much doubt it will be the last.
Poor little guy eh? Maybe I should have bought him a less terrifyingly pink buggy, perhaps something in a shade of blush? I do concede that this particular hue of fuchsia is kind of horrible.
But I fear that this is only the start for him; after all he is the little brother of an older sister and his mum is pretty cheap.
When I found out that I was expecting a boy, I was quite shocked.
Somehow I had just assumed I would have another girl.
I have a sister. My dad had sisters, daughters and then a granddaughter. Adding a boy into the mix seemed unlikely.
And yet, here we are.
My first reactions after finding out the sex at a scan were ridiculously practical, ‘What am I going to do with all the girl’s stuff?’ and ‘This is going to be expensive!’. Also, ‘How on earth do you do boy nappies?’.
Once I’d had time for the news to sink in, and another scan confirmed that he was most definitely still a boy (and not a shy one), all the very pink and very girly baby clothes got packed up and moved on to make space in a rare and very much uncharacteristic burst of organisation.
Anything that could possibly be deemed unisex was put in storage for the new arrival.
Everything that wasn’t an item of clothing got kept.
He will have to endure a multitude of pink bibs, cutlery, toys…
It’s not that I bought everything in pink for my daughter, it’s just that a lot of things only seem to be available in pink or blue; it appears that shops like to push stereotypes from a young age.
But given only we will see him at night time, a pink sleeping bag shouldn’t pull his masculinity into question and he doesn’t seem to mind very much. I mean he is a bit of a jerk at bed time but I’m 99% sure the colour of his sleepwear isn’t to blame.
I will stop short of putting him in dresses (most probably – you can’t be prepared for every poonami and food explosion); I’m not trying to make a point.
A friend of a friend commented on a lovely little baby girl in a dress and pink tights at a baby group, only to be told it was a boy and the mum just preferred girls’ clothes.
As much as this is of course her own business, I can’t help thinking that the kid is going to have a few questions when he finds the photographic evidence of his early cross-dressing exploits. Also, I barely put my little girl in dresses.
I don’t mind girls dressed in pink and boys in blue, if that’s your thing knock yourself out, but it’s not really me and dresses just aren’t that practical when you have a toddler who has all the grace of a baby elephant and routinely trips over her own feet.
Unless, of course, he wants to wear a dress.
If he demands to be Elsa rather than Spiderman, then so be it (except clearly Anna is the heroine of the piece, and she has better songs, so I don’t understand why they all want to be Elsa, but I digress…).
If, at age two, twelve or twenty, he does want to wear a dress, well then, that’s fine (and most certainly cheaper).
But I’m 100% sure it won’t be because he had a pink buggy.