I really don’t like pink.
It’s really amazing to me that we still live in a world where many baby things only come in two, very gender-specific colors. I battled this often while creating my registry, which by the way, is a totally insane thing for a first-time mom with slightly greater than zero baby knowledge to have to do. Why do I have to choose between pink or blue organic orthodontic silicone pacifiers? Why does a baby with no teeth need something labelled “orthodontic”? If I buy the blue ones, everyone will assume that my little bald raisin baby is definitely a boy, which, why should that bother me anyway? See how rife with self-doubt and controversy these decisions can be? No?
Personally, I don’t get why the one thing we want to advertise about our newborns, the one definite fact, is that this one’s a boy or a girl. Pink or blue. Grotesque sequined flower headband that probably itches or navy sports onesie, it’s out of your hands.
Time to defy the dichotomy. (Just kidding, this is what tons of people do- that’s why many things are made in a third color: yellow. Yellow is for the people who want to be surprised and the gender-neutrality nuts.)
Poring over the 452 (I just checked) pacifier choices on Buy Buy Baby makes for a confusing Tuesday night, but it got me thinking. Here I am making tons of choices for a tiny almost-person that really isn’t alive yet. What am I trying to sculpt her little being into? What do these choices represent to me? What do I want all this stuff to say about who I want her to be?
I want her to be curious. I want her to look around her little world (her bedroom, the sky, the front yard, outer space, the $300 car seat I picked out that’s latched into my mother-in-law’s old Honda civic) and just be blown away. What is all this stuff? And then, how does that work? Followed by, well why is it like that? I want the kind of kid who asks you why the sky’s blue so many times you want to fling them across the room. I want her to think, explore, and break things to see what’s inside (just not any of my stuff). I want her to grow up knowing that the right answer is usually fifteen more questions.
So, my nursery will not be pink. It will be bright, sunny yellow, sky blue, and bell pepper red. Instead of lace curtains, a beaded Sex and the City chandelier, and a fuchsia chevron mural, I’m going primary. I think I’ll frame some Carl Sagan quotes. I already bought her an abacus (which, truth be told, I hope she never asks me how to use- no idea). There will be lots of animals, planets and vegetables, plenty of bright colors to look at, plenty to explore while she’s lying there not thinking about anything because she’s not old enough to know what’s going on besides “I just pooped my onesie again.”
I look at pictures of pretty pink nurseries and just about all I can say about them is that this child is definitely a female (and that the mom or dad really, really like bling). What if that child grows up and goes to NYU, joins a riot grrrl band, shaves her head bald and decides that gender is an archaic concept? (Totally did that). I want to give my daughter the freedom from birth on (the chromosomal stuff isn’t really her choice) to change her mind about who she is and who she wants to be as often as she can conjure up a new identity.
One day she’ll see pictures of this place, and we’ll talk about why her weird mom framed a drawing of Neil deGrasse Tyson and hung it over her crib: because nothing will serve you more than an inquisitive mind.
Then she’ll pull on one of her five tutus, grab my hand, and we’ll drive to Home Depot together to pick out the pink and purple paint she’s requested to turn her science nursery into a princess room. Hey, that’s fine, too.