Thursday, 20 March 2014

True Colours

About a month ago Jack started rejecting clothes that he routinely wore all of the time.  I'm not a stranger to picky toddler clothing preferences - Molly still holds a love hate relationship with leggings and jeans that I doubt I'll ever understand.

Jack's recent foray into the role of savvy fashionista coincides directly with daycare teaching all of the kids about colours and the rainbow.  I slowly came to this realization as I created a pile of repeat offenders (rejected shirts that Jack has refused to wear for nearly a month) in the rainbow palette of navy blue, dark green, black and grey.  Molly and Jack generally have their own clothes during the day now (mainly because Jack is significantly bigger than his sister), with the exception of most of the pyjamas we have available that are a free-for-all for either child.  Essentially we just allow each toddler to select whatever they want for bed time so long as it fits and is seasonally appropriate.  Jack's growing frustration over being able to wear bright purple Dora pyjamas at night and then being offered an army green shirt with a monster truck on it to wear during the day, something he isn't vaguely interested in, is understandable.

toddler at the batting cages Centennial Park Toronto
 Jack at the batting cages last summer

Over the weekend Jack selected something of Molly's to wear in the morning: A pair of bright fuchsia pants (that were two sizes too small) and a mauve cardigan (also two sizes to small) with no shirt underneath, I let it slide.  Molly gave me attitude for letting him do this, because he was wearing her clothes and she didn't want to share. Chris was unimpressed because I'd encouraged our son to dress like a cross between someone from the cast of Priscilla Queen of Desert and our own neighbourhood hooker*, especially once the boy had added in some Mardi Gras beads. I accused Chris of acting like a dad in a 1980's sitcom who was upset because his son wanted to wear pink or play with dolls and he countered by saying I was using my son to pursue a personal agenda by allowing him to wear something ridiculously ill fitting, something I would never allow Molly to wear.  The truth of the matter was we were both right, and both wrong.

Within an hour Jack had smeared blueberry yogurt all over himself so I needed to get him into another outfit, no matter what my feminist ideals were telling me.  He was a mess and needed to wear something else.  He selected a bright green shirt and pair of jeans.

Molly at the batting cages

Later that night I asked Jack what his favourite colours were: yellow, purple, green, pink and bright blue, but mostly purple.  He went on and on about how amazing purple is.  The next day I went online and to some stores in search of brightly coloured clothes with no success.  In shopping I faced the issue that maroon is not the same as grape purple and navy is not bright blue and nothing else is available.  Anything in the colours he wanted were uber feminine with flowers, ruffles and bows.  What ever happened to the gender neutral gym uniforms we were forced to wear?  Even Osh Kosh B'Gosh is genderizing their overalls these days. I'd hit a dead end, so I called in the reinforcements: Nana and Papa.

I arrived home from work the other night to a bag full of brightly coloured shirts from a variety of thrift and bargain stores, including a bright purple sweatshirt and bright purple dinosaur T-Shirt.  As I showed Jack his pile of new clothing, Molly tried to make claim on everything grape coloured.  I kept repeating that these were Jack's clothes...finally we compromised after she selected a bright blue shirt that said something "sassy" about being awesome that Jack was generally indifferent towards.

The more exposure I have to childrens clothing, the more annoyed I get.  The selection is great if you are that little kid who loves monster trucks and tools, or bows, tiaras and frills: but that seems to be the majority of what's out there.  Yesterday Jack told me he wanted a pink shirt to wear that wasn't Molly's, so back to the mall we go.

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*Welcome to the Junction West.  Yes we have a neighbourhood hooker.


  1. Oh, we have this problem too sort of. Our B/G twins are ten months old and we aimed for as much gender-neutral clothing as possible in the early months but it's so so hard as they get older. Like you, pajamas are a free for all (and incidentally is how we found out our son looks great in fuchsia) but it's all so gender normative for daytime. I've even tried dressing our daughter in his hand-me-downs (his girth is more ample so he outgrows things more quickly) and since she doesn't have much hair, people assume she's a boy. I feel like I am seeing more interesting, neutral stuff out there but it's one-off, boutique stuff and expensive so out of our league for the most part. Sigh. Is it too early to institute a uniform policy?

    1. We now know who created the whole people in the future wear uniforms concept - parents of toddlers. I really want to give them both the choices they want, toddlers can make so few decisions surrounding their day to day lives and schedules...this is something I want them to have (some) control over....That being said wearing shorts when it's January isn't going to happen.

  2. If you can get things shipped to a US address, go on ( states not canada's ) website, you can get him all the colours of the rainbow!
    We had to do that for Liam who's favourite colour is pink :) My mum was the one that found them for him, we got purple, green, pink, blue, orange, brown, red, and some others I'm forgetting in golf t's, short and long sleeve :) AND I got him 6 pink t's that say TOUGH GUYS WEAR PINK with a stick figure showing his muscles- one in every size from now until he hits like 13! haha