Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

You can have any colour as long as it’s pink

I think that’s what Henry Ford said right? Or at the very least it seems to be the message from all the modern day Henry Fords running clothing or toy companies. You know the drill, you go into a shop and there is a wall of blue and green for boys and a wall of pink for girls.

The lady of the manor went to buy some slippers for Matilda today, all the girl ones were pink with hello kitty on. Yuck. Matilda however was most pleased with her dinosaur ones from the boys section, you should have seen her face as she showed them off to me when I got home from work. So proud of her new ‘shoes’, she even takes them off before going up the stairs as we do “no shoes daddy”.

Oh and she also wants pyjamas with nee nars on.

Matilda in pink suit feeding chickensI love that she likes these things and isn’t obsessed with pink everything. The innocence still not to be dictated by what society expects boys and girls to do. However I do worry sometimes that my own aversion to all things pink and the desire to buy things that Henry can also wear will mean she ends up never being girlie.

Or is that just part of the downside of being the first born? Parents always wanting to create hand me downs? Am I supporting her choices or going to far and stopping her choosing pink if that’s what she really wants?

I do also feel the need to carry a sign saying “it was very cheap in the sale” when Matilda is walking around in her bright pink splash suit. But it was truly a bargain in the Muddy Puddles sale.

Henry will just have to suck it up when he’s big enough to wear it.

For some reason lots of people seem to think that Matilda is a boy when we’re out, so sometimes some pink clothing comes in useful. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that she’s happiest getting dirty and rolling around on the ground. Delicate she is not and I love it.

So how do you balance this? Buying clothes for an older child without always thinking whether their younger sibling might be able to wear it? Do you just buy second hand to cut down costs and then have more freedom not to worry about hand me downs?


  1. Don’t know if you saw Kate Takes 5’s post yesterday (it may even have inspired this one) but pink definitely is one of the most thorny issues where girls are concerned. With Heather we tried to steer a course through the middle ground, neither encouraging nor discouraging pink things. She gravitated to pink of her own accord though (I blame Peppa, and TV advertising) and would happily tell anyone who would listen that it’s her favourite colour. As she’s got older, this has meant more toys, clothes etc are pink, but not exclusively, and we deliberately bought some things in the non-pink primary colours before Megan came along, in case our second wasn’t a girl.

    As it turned out, she IS a girl, and although she isn’t old enough to express any preferences yet, she will probably go down the pink route too, if only because her sister is there to lead her. At the moment, though, her favourite colour is probably blue, because that’s the only one she consistently recognises and can say!

    I think the key is giving them their own space to pick what they want, encouraging (but not forcing) balance, and as they get older making them aware of cynical marketing etc.

  2. sabrina montagnoli

    March 13, 2013 at 11:24 am

    I think, no expert I’m afraid, that eventually as Matilda gets older she will definitely start letting you know what colour she likes and well that just might be pink. You might also get Henry getting a bit miffed at the fact that all he gets is the hand me downs as he grows older and you never know his favourite colour might just be pink. You can’t hide from the symbolism of pink can you? It can be such a vibrant and pretty colour if it was just given a chance to be just that. By the fact that she rolls around in the dirt wearing pink proves just that point!

    My wee man loves green (phew not blue or pink) and I think it’s because it is the colour he learnt first and so much of nature is green so he gets to point it out all the time. When I buy him clothes I go to the boys section so he is dressed rather traditionally and well I am not thinking of a second child. At this age I definitely think second hand and get hand me downs and gifts from relatives!

  3. I think all you can do as a parent is go with the flow. With my first daughter we pinked her to pieces, EVERYTHING was pink and/or girly, and she went along with it happily. But as she has gotten older I have realised she seemed to think she had to go for pink options because she’s a girl right? Now although she does like pink she won’t say it’s her favorite colour. she loves purples and some greens. Like your Matilda she is girly in some ways but then you’ll find her up a tree in a dress collecting caterpillars! She loves getting muddy and playing football. I do think there is a lot of emphasis on girls being pink, the media are terrible for it. My second daughter is happily sporting dinosaur slippers as I type. I’ve tried to mix up her clothes into dresses jeans joggers leggings and lots of colours. eBay is fab for selling on something you know has lots of wear in it and grabbing something in a different style or colour that has plenty of life for your little one, no worrying about your son not wanting it and spending a fortune on a new one. I just try to let her chose and know she can wear/play with what she wants. That there are no boys and girls things just things. They’ll be who they are going to be. Colours of toys and cloths don’t change that.

  4. My mum apparently hated the whole pink thing and most of my baby and toddler pics have me in a lot of checked shirts and dresses and browns to yellows to reds. I think the shops need to get a bit more imagination when it comes to girls clothes. My niece is a little tomboy and just not bothered with too much pink but my friends daughter just seems completely addicted to pink. I think if I ever have a daughter ill be dressing her all the colours of the rainbow and steering away from pink as much as possible!

  5. You stop worrying about it and shop in charity shops which also teaches you kids to save the planet! 🙂 Funny – I was blogging about this today too! There’s some nice posts here!

  6. Rob is exactly the same with the pink blamange suit. He hates it. But as I keep reminding him, it was a great bargain!!!
    I also wonder about toys! Elsie has a doll, kitchen, a train set, cars and a digger!! She likes them all, but really loves the kitchen and doll. Also pretend cleaning at her friends houses (as you’ve seen). Her Pops made a comment about her having girlie toys and being sexist but actually I think that’s rubbish. It’s a lot more to do with what they see around them. If, like Matilda and Elsie, they see their Daddies cooking, cleaning and pushing a pram then there is nothing sexist about them playing with those things that they see adults doing around them. It’s natural that they would want to play at what they see and those things are cooking, cleaning and looking after a baby!

  7. Have to say I hope I’m never going to buy something for Olivia because it might be used by the second one. Not clothing anyway – things like bikes/trikes/scooters is a different story.

    Second hand? No issue with that. If the clothes are in good nick who cares who else has worn it? One wash and it’s no different than brand new, except the price.

    As for the pink thing, yes it’s annoying. We struggle with the same thing. However quite often we will buy the boys stuff too. Girls can wear dinosaurs too 🙂 The thing that pissed me off the most was when I went to buy some Duplo. Girls sets and boys sets??? What happened to just Duplo? As in a box of bricks?

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