11 July, 2011

Unisex babies/baby clothes

Did you hear about the family in Toronto that decided they wanted to raise their kids gender-neutral? I like the idea. We have a friend who has a ton of extra baby clothes that her little boy grew out of before she could even take the tags off, and she offered them all to us only "if we have a little boy." Both Stu & I thought the parameters strange, since we have no qualms with dressing a little girl up in onesies patterned with trains! Because really, at a few months old, our kid wouldn't know the difference...

Though we knew we wanted to find out the sex of our little nugget before he was born, Stu & I actually thought about not telling anyone, to avoid the inevitable gendered gifts in blues-for-boys or pinks-for-girls (I like both colors, personally.) Of course our next thought was "Then we'll get all yellow and green stuff" and I don't think I could handle a wardrobe and playroom of all yellow and green. And we are excited to share our news, so we couldn't keep it to ourselves anyway.

I know gender and sex are two different things, one being socially constructed and one being biological fact, and I don't have anything deep or earth-shattering to add to the debate on kids and gender. But despite the good intentions of what the Toronto couple is working toward, I think our society makes it hard on kids not to 'fit in' to some kind of box...it is human nature to try to figure something/someone out by associating them with what is already known. Still, I like the idea of letting a kid's personality grow more naturally, and without the shaping of gender-specific toys or outfits. Like Angelina & Brad's daughter, who somehow has gotten labeled as a lesbian at age 4 for liking "boy" things.

If I had unlimited money, I would dress our kids in all Polarn O. Pyret.

I'm a convert, having spent a year as a nanny for three squirmy Swedish kids with their own very distinct personalities and a penchant for getting dirty. ALL Swedish kids wear this brand (okay, SO much for my big "let kids be individuals" thing...Swedes are notoriously conformist.) But I still like their good quality and the relaxed approach to patterns and styles. They do make pink dresses in flower prints, but there are far more uni-sex kid clothes in their line-up than most brands can offer.


Their stuff isn't budget-priced. I bought my first pair of mamma jeans from PO.P last month and felt like I should be eating cheap falukorv for the next week to make up for the cost. But the jeans look good, and will last me the entire pregnancy (Well, I hope. Because if they don't, it means I gained too much weight and I can't pull them over my butt!) But I'd still buy them for my kids. Come to think of it, maybe I should be scoping out Swedish second-hand shops for used PO.P stuff before we leave! Of course, I haven't bought a thing for this kid yet, aside from the father's day gift for Stu (that I purchased before we knew we were having a boy, thinking a little girl would be just as subjected to her pappa's Eagles fever as a little boy would.)

Oh, we do think we decided on a name! We reserve the right to change it up until the day he is born (and maybe even after!) so we probably won't be sharing it anytime soon. Don't want anyone to get too attached. It is pretty darn Scandinavian, though. Poor kid...let's hope he likes his heritage later in life!


  1. I'm not gonna lie, you can totally forsee some fun PoP kids clothing from me. Because I do love it, I mean, heck, I bought some for the godkid!

    Can't wait to see you sooooooooon!

  2. You must be using a particular definition of gender? It sounds like from your comments that you mean "gender roles," as in what culture or stereotypes put on people. Gender is still just a synonym for sex most of the time. The trick seems to be then, which gender roles should we reject or be suspicious of and which should we embrace as natural, if any? I mean, while we tend in the USA to define our male-female-ness as being *exactly* equal in all ways and more of an outward appearance at times, most people (I'm assuming you included) still realize that men and women are different in more than just a socially constructed way. Not in a gender wars way nor an oppressive way, but a beautiful, Nature way! If you have a little boy, I can understand not pinning down blue for his whole wardrobe or even avoiding pink but that couple with the "gender neutral" method thinks that even *calling* their baby a boy or a girl is "unhealthy!" The phrase, "Let boys be boys" comes to mind. :D

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  4. My son didn't want to know the sex of the babies. He wanted healthy babies which he got and whatever sex was fine with him.

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  6. The biggest challenge with kids clothing is that they become too small very quick.

    Polan is pretty sweet - but, I've heard that it comes pricey.

    - Alma

  7. That is complicated to choose small baby clothes, It's size not available every where, It's bit messy.