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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Girlish Cars and Boyish Flowers

So, the 2.5 year old offspring of mine has been going to school diligently for about a month now. A lot of compromises and rearrangement of priorities later, things were finally falling into place.

That is, before I realised that pre-school was more for the parents’ benefit rather than the child’s. In Ahaan’s own words, he goes to school to play. For us however, the school has taught us time management, wardrobe management, lunchbox planning and alarm clock dependencies. It has been an interesting experience to say the least, and we were becoming experts in that… until the school decided to throw a curveball, in the form of a “Hawaiian day” (cue: Eye roll). Secretly, I was very excited about my first mommy-assignment, and started planning strategies and counter-strategies. 2-days before the D-day, we go shopping, just to find that there are no shirts with flowers (or leaves or trees) for boys. No as in NONE.

After almost 3 hours of running unsuccessfully from one shop to another, I called for reinforcements. My sister (while she was first in line when the lords were distributing imagination, innovation and creativity, I was in the ‘talking without thinking’ line) listened patiently before asking why I can’t make it myself. She gave a lot of ideas and sent me multiple photo-sets, and a bit of an effort later, the shirt was ready.

Tada! My version of the Hawaiian Shirt!

So, apart from being an egoistic post showing off my borrowed creativity, I was very upset about what we are doing to our children. To put it succinctly,



Black, Blue, Grey, Green, Red, White
Pink, Yellow, Orange, Red, White
Loose and Baggy
Tight fits with frills and fluffs
Vehicles (2-wheelers, 4 wheelers, trains, aeroplanes) , Fierce Animals, action figures
Dolls, pretty girls (& fairies), Domesticated animals, flowers, lot of lace and glitter
Macho and Muscular (I am strong!)
Cute and Feminine (Daddy’s little girl)
Vehicles, Animals, Mind Games, Action figures
Dolls (and lots of it), Doll houses (and other sets) and handicraft kits (jewellery, pots, sparkles etc)

We as a society either have a zero tolerance for uniqueness or don’t have the patience to nurture it.  To be fair, a change is tantalisingly around the corner. Men are wearing skirts now and two of the most admired characters on TV include Jassi (from Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi) and Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones).  The boy-who-wanted-to-be-Sheila was one of the best stories to come up in Bollywood (Bombay Talkies) in recent times (if ever). As parents, we can contribute to the change too, by remembering some basic points:

·         Blue does not make a boy, and pink does not define a girl.

·         A girl likes kitchen sets, but given a chance, she would also like a toy-truck.

·         A boy would love to cook, clean the house and say hello to plants.

·         When (and that’s a giant When) you catch yourself stereotyping people, give yourself one tight slap.

That ought to do.

Note: This is a hypocritical post, and I know I stereotype as well. But well, to modify the Stark motto: Change is coming.



Sree said...

Ha ha .... a really good post. I am yet to have a kid of my own but I am frustrated with pink-blue and rest of the this if for gal / boy distinction. Well, I say break the norm. Yes, I bought my friend's daughters dino shirt from the boys rack and you know what they look adorable in it. I wouldn't be surprised if they grow up to be Ms Indian Jones looking for trouble across the globe, I think we as adults need to break the mould ;)

aarthi said...

Ha ha... so ahaan is getting a pink shirt this time from me... dont worry, i'll try to get the one with a truck image on it. A happy medium!

waazzzuuuppp said...

Hahaha very true, I guess we dont realise the choices that face us as kids growing up until you see your little ones face with them?

Archana said...

Sree: Totally agree, I have done the cloth swapping as well!!

Aarthi: Pink shirt with a truck actually sounds interesting - if you can find it!;)

Niranjan: You said it!!!