James and I made our first baby purchase two weeks ago when we bought this impossibly tiny onesie in an innocuous shade of cappuccino brown.
Rehashing the problems with the old ‘blue is for boys’ and ‘pink is for girls’ business seems tired, until you are about to have—or have had—a baby. You think that all of that must be so passé and that we’ve surely moved on as members of an enlightened society to realize that colors say nothing about the gender—and certainly not the sex—of an infant. And then your sister has a baby boy and her home becomes flooded with fluffy blue things in the very worst shade of the color and you realize that you’ve been very, very naive.
Months later, you might even find yourself appalled at your own giggle, when the tiny nephew appears at your door wearing a pink hooded sweatsuit purchased by a doting, if colorblind grandfather.
Of course things haven’t always been this way. And lo, we might still see the day when little boys run around in long locks and white frocks. But save a brief respite heralded by some supposed bra-burners in the 1970s, pink for girls and blue for boys has pretty much been the standard since the 1940s. (These guys give a little historical run-down if you’re interested.)
And what happens when you’re foolish enough to wait to know the sex of your unborn child? An onslaught of yellow and green and baby animals is what.
If I’m going to be picky—and I am—I prefer a rosy-cheeked babe in the soft neutrals of the near-colorless.
It’s not that I don’t like color. It’s just that I often find more comfort in a softer palette. And just because there’s a wee one on the way, I won’t suddenly be embracing all things pale green and butter yellow for the sake of so-called gender neutrality.
A week ago when at my mom’s bidding I put together a little collection of wish list items for what she insists on calling Junebug’s layette, she sent this reaction to my “color” choices…
“…And when Junebug goes to Pre-K and the teachers ask about colors, Junebug will say that the carpet is more of a dove and the chalkboard is actually closer to a charcoal than the more accurately true gray of Farrow & Ball Mole’s Breath. That is a nice quality in a small child—to be able to distinguish between these shades, because not everything is black and white and rainbows, you know?”