I’ve always loathed the way we encase childhood in rigid gender roles. Whenever Himself and I find ourselves in a toy store, Himself is treated to a tirade of feminist rage.
“Look at this! It’s a little pink iron and a little pink stove and a little pink broom, all in an aisle that is actually labelled ‘Girls’. We are brainwashing our little girls to think that girls are the ones who do the housework before they can even read!”
Himself idly picked up a little iron. “You never played with these things, did you?”
“Of course not! Wait, why do you ask?”
“No reason. No reason at all.”
(In my defence, I will never allow a little pink iron to cross my threshold, no matter what the gender.)
I know (now) that you’re not supposed to have a gender preference, so my excuse is that I need to know the gender in order to choose a name. Not that I’m freaking out about choosing a name. Not at all. After all, there are baby name books, all 900 pages of them. I just need to find a name that my child will have to live with for the rest of its life.
So, in a breath-taking sweep of hypocrisy that you can only ever get away with when you’re pregnant, I’m desperate to know the gender of my child. A name that will always be suitable, that’s easy to pronounce and spell, that’s unique but not weird. I just need to find a name that I love, not just like. Like “life-long-commitment love” not “we’re good friends love”. No problem. I’m pretty calm about it.
“So, in a breath-taking sweep of hypocrisy that you can only ever get away with when you’re pregnant, I’m desperate to know the gender of my child.”
Then there’s also the fact that I would quite like to dress my child in something other than grey. I think the same people who design women’s clothing design baby clothes. I can just see a bunch of men sitting around a massive boardroom scratching their heads, “What is it that women want from clothing?”
Women around the world: “Pockets!”
Men around the boardroom table: “They’re such a mystery.”
Women around the world: “Jeans that fit adult, human women!”
Men around the boardroom: “So subtle.”
Women around the world: “Baby clothes that aren’t aggressively pink, blue or grey!”
Men around the boardroom: “I guess we’ll never know.”
And so, baby clothes continue to be sold only in pretty princess pink, superhero blue or I’m-in-the-middle-of-a-pronoun-crisis grey.
And women’s pockets remain resolutely sewn shut.
“Are you going to have a gender reveal party?” asked the best friend over tea, one week before the big scan, the scan when everyone else I’ve spoken to has gotten to see the gender.
“A gender what?” spluttered my mother.
“It’s a party where you reveal the gender of the baby to the guests.”
“Oooh…” My mother looked very relieved.
“You can bake cupcakes and put the icing in the middle,” suggested the best friend.
“I can do what now?”
“Oh yeah. Maybe your husband could bake cupcakes…?”
So, it was with great excitement that we walked into the doctor’s room. At least I was excited. Himself, who has, in fact, read some of the parenting literature, refused to say that he had a preference. I knew when I married him that I was marrying a smart man.
And, of course, the baby was sitting with his/her/its legs folded.
“That’s your kid,” muttered Himself.
“The way it’s sitting – you always sit with your legs folded like that!”
“Well,” murmured the doctor, “will you look at that?”
It really was. The little blighter waved at the camera and gave mom and dad a big thumbs up.
“Do you know what you’re having?”
“Oh yes. It’s definitely a Slytherin.”
Amy Lalouette lives with Himself (her very patient husband) and is expecting her first child (aka Slytherin Baby). By day she’s an English teacher and by night she reads, writes, holds murder mystery parties and does belly dancing. Unfortunately, all this interferes with her lifelong ambition to have a spotless house and an empty laundry basket! She records her experiences (and confusion) of expecting a baby on her personal blog “Mommy’s Off her Meds”.