Today we went to the pool. When we got to the pool, there was a boy there, wearing a pink swimsuit.
Princess loudly exclaimed, “THAT’S SILLY! PINK IS A GIRL COLOUR!”
I was horrified and scolded her immediately. Because, there is no such thing as “boy” anything and “girl” anything, right? The feminist in me (I blame my mother) gets stabby at the mere mention that boys can’t wear pink, or girls can’t wear blue.
I should mention at this point, that the boy in the pink togs was, in fact, my son. Let me explain.
Last week it was a scorching hot day, and we walked for approximately 2000 steps (courtesy of my new-xmas-present-FitBit) in the horrific heat to go for a swim in the local outdoor pool. When we arrived, I realised that I had left BoyChild’s togs at home. ALL THE WAY AT HOME.
There was no way we were going back, and there was no way the kids were going to tolerate not swimming. So, I dug and rummaged through our swimming bag and found for him, a pink rash vest (that I’d brought along in the hopes that BabyGirl might want a little more coverage that her silly little toys allowed – she didn’t) and some blue swim nappy pants (spares, should we have a Code Brown while swimming. We didn’t).
Now, I didn’t think that BoyChild would accept this swimwear. I didn’t think he would, because there is very much “his” things in our house, and “the girl’s” things. Not because we have girl things and boy things, but more because his sisters hate to share (looking at you, Princess). Back in October, BoyChild’s preschool had a “Dress in Pink” day to acknowledge Breast Cancer research. No matter how much persuading I did, there was no way he was wearing pink that day. Nope. No way, jose.
But, he did wear the pink togs. I don’t know why, but I didn’t question it – I was just relieved the issue was over.
And so, I bring you to today. We decided to go to the indoor Aquatic Centre, and the kids put their togs on. BoyChild bypassed his regular red top and blue shorts, opting for the pink top and blue swim nappy once again. I asked him, are you sure that is what you are going to wear?
“Yup, Mum. These are my togs for today. I like them”.
Well, there you go then.
And so off we go. And we get to the pool, and my own daughter is the one to laugh and point at him. I suspect it was as much sibling jabbing as anything else, but nevertheless is was not ok.
To be perfectly honest, I was very much en guard at the pool today. I was closely watching how the other people reacted to BoyChild and his pink swimming top. I was on edge, nearly willing someone to make a comment, so I could delve into an unhinged rant about gender and children.
I don’t want my kids to grow up with preconceived ideas about gender, and what they are and aren’t allowed to do. I realise that it’s an uphill battle, given the colour of the aisles in department stores and the packaging that every toy, drink or random other product comes in.
So, what can we do to make sure they know that they can choose whatever colour they want?
Dress your girls in blue, but offer them in pink as well.
Dress your boys in pink, but offer them blue as well.
If you kid wants to wear green, so be it. If you kid wants to wear flannel pyjamas, a tutu, gumboots and a sailor hat, so be it.
No one made a comment at the pool today. Perhaps people saw him, went home and mentioned to someone that they’d seen a boy in pink togs today. All I know is, I went swimming with a four year old boy, who had a great time in the pool, and probably didn’t give a second thought to what he was wearing.
Long may it last.