I Dressed My Baby Boy In Blue—I’m An Idiot

“What’s all that stuff back there?!  I see pink!” C.J. asked enthusiastically as I was driving him home from school.

Crap.  I didn’t have to turn around to know what he was pointing at.  He had seen the shopping bags I had stashed in the back of the car and covered with a beach towel.

You see, we have welcomed a new member into our extended family.  C.J.’s Dad’s brother and his wife had their second child, a girl.  They waited to learn the sex of the baby until the birth. A few days after they called to say that a baby girl had been born, I dropped C.J. off at school and spent two hours shopping for my new niece.

I’m the last person who should be enforcing traditional gender norms.  I’m the last person who should be buying $100 worth of pink outfits, blankets and burp clothes.

I should know better than to buy a teething ring that looks like a giant engagement ring and rattle that looks like a luxury handbag. But, I did it.  I did it all and I’m not taking it back. She’s the first girl in the family, there are no “girl” hand-me-downs for her

When she’s a toddler I will buy her tools and cars and dinosaurs and encourage her to excel in math and science.  I will be her auntie who will tell her that she can be anything that she wants to be: president, astronaut, athlete, firefighter.

But, for now, she can’t hold her head up, sleep through the night or see more than a few feet from her face and I want to see her in pink with ridiculously sized flowers and bows in her hair.  I would paint her nails if I could.  Where you might have previously thought me to be a model citizen in the land of gender nonconformity, I suddenly had a niece and briefly became the queen of enforcing gender norms. You are more than welcome to leave an admonishing comment below.  I was bad.  Real bad.

But, I knew that I couldn’t be that person in front of my children. So I went shopping in secret, while C.J. was at school, and then hid the evidence to pack and ship later on the sly.

“What is all that pink stuff?  Is it for me?!” C.J. asked again.

“It’s presents for Baby Sarah,” I said, knowing that it wasn’t going to be a short conversation.

Playing with Grandma Colorado's dogs at his cousins' house.

We had told him about the arrival of Baby Sarah the night before at bedtime.  I wasn’t exactly eager to tell him that there was a full-fledged girl in the family, but I had to after being reprimanded by Grandma Colorado for not spreading the good news.

How would my gender-nonconforming son react upon learning that the role of “most feminine child in the family” that he had been occupying for nearly four years had been snatched from him by a baby?

“How come she isn’t just getting hand-me-downs?” he asked.

“Because she’s a girl and our family doesn’t have any baby girl hand-me-downs.”

“She can have my baby-girl  hand-me-downs!” he offered.

“Baby, you only wore baby boy clothes.” I realized that my son probably can’t remember a time in his life when he wore exclusively boy clothes.

“How come you made me wear only boy clothes?” he asked slightly disgusted.

“Because I didn’t know that you liked girl stuff,” I answered honestly.

“How come you didn’t know that?”

“Because you weren’t old enough to tell me or show me.”

When was the last time you awoke to a fairy scaling the fireplace in your bedroom?His sad face crushed me.  He was wondering why I didn’t know my own child, my baby.  How could I have been so wrong about my child?  Because I was full of assumptions and expectations — none of which included my son being anything other than heteronormative.

“I’m sorry, baby,” I said to C.J.  A blanket statement to cover so much.

We saw Baby Sarah a few weeks later and I worried how C.J. would feel about the newest member of our family who is everything he wants to be.  I secretly prayed that Grandma and Grandpa Colorado wouldn’t go on and on about finally having a girl in the family after generations of only boys.  I didn’t know how that would make C.J. feel.

Thankfully they didn’t say anything to the effect.

And, when C.J. got a chance to hold Baby Sarah he looked up at me and smiled that award-worthy smile of his.  He gently adjusted her pink hat and kissed her cheek.  I hope that the two of them become great friends—in pink, blue or whatever hue makes them each happy.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #gendervariantchildren #raisingmyrainbow stories and more


  • RomanHans

    Couldn’t get through it.

    This confirms once and for all that this woman is nuts. “I don’t adhere to normal gender roles, but I bought a baby girl a rattle shaped like an expensive handbag. Aren’t I awful?” It’s called “passive-aggressive,” and it clearly confirms that this woman says one politically-correct thing and does another, warping her poor son in the process.

  • Modernliving3

    Yeah kind of a bummer b/c I think she’s an amazing woman but at the end of the day, she’s straight, 90% of the human population is straight and us LGBT folks are always just going to be a minority. That pink and blue shit is never going away.

  • RomanHans

    @Thedrdonna: She posts around every month or two, and there’s always something suspicious going on. In one, her son wanted to dress “like a boy” and somebody asked him WHY.

    She acts like the kid’s clothing choice (it’s not even a gender identity at this point) is solely the kid’s choice — but they’re CLEARLY rewarding him for some behavior and questioning him about other.

    Raising more warning flags in this story are talk about “boy clothes” and “girl clothes.” She clearly believes if you wear pink you’re a girl, and if you wear blue you’re a boy. She doesn’t think that MAYBE THE KID JUST LIKES PINK. She’s painted this totally black and white, saying she’s fine with the fact the kid that he wants to dress up like a girl. Oh — but in one of the pictures he has WINGS on. I don’t know *one* girl who has wings. Maybe he just likes to dress up?

  • JasonMacBride

    The last three words of the headline are certainly correct.

  • mlbumiller

    The lot of you really seem to be a bunch of a$$holes. If you do not like how she is RAISING HER CHILD, do not read the posts. I have gone back to her blog, and read every post, so i could get everything in context…. you judgemental people seem to not have done the same.
    RomanHans… you definalty took it out of context. The kids at school have a show and tell where they took some stuff animal home for a week, do activities with it and take pics to show class. he wated to dress as a boy for all those pics. mom asked why, because he didnt want his schoolmates to know he liked “girl” things. Also, you need to read the definition of passive-agressive. This is not that type of behavior at all.
    For a long time, he was only allowed to play dolls and wear girl things in the house. Outside the house they forced him to wear and do boy things. They no longer do that,but he is starting to realize that he does not conform and feels he has to hide the fact.

  • dazzer

    Oh for God’s sake. I really enjoy reading this woman’s blog and usually I love the stories that she tells.


    i) Even if your kid wants a specific colour, your job as a mother is not to reinforce any kind of colour-based gender stereotypes. You can deal with the toys your child wants to play with later, but don’t do the ‘pink for a girl/blue for a boy’ nonsense. Your kid needs to appreciate all colours.

    ii) For God’s sake, get over your guilt, woman. This is about raising your child, not raising yourself. Do what every other parent does. You buy something pretty (but possibly not pink) and you give it to CJ as a present from his cousin Sarah who loves him and wants him to know she loves him. That way, CJ gets to know that Sarah loves him, but also that just because something is pink, it’s not just for him. Also, he develops the idea from a young age that his cousin loves him and he should love her. And that’s how it should be. You want your son to love his cousin without condition and, if you manage that, she’ll love him in the same way. Don’t want to be a Debbie Downer here (Oh, who am I kidding?) but you’re not going to be alive through all of CJ’s life. He’s going to need family after you’ve shuttled off this mortal coil – and Baby Sarah is someone who will (with major belief) will fulfil that role.

    I’m – emphatically – not saying that love is based on material possessions. But I’m definitely saying that children are pretty basic when it comes to expressions of love from people they don’t know. And at the moment, Baby Sarah is someone CJ doesn’t know too well. A shiney trinket works well in this situation. When CJ and Sarah get into their teens, they can both call you out for being a manipulative bastard, but (to be honest) by the time they reach their teens, their going to call you out for something and you might as well give yourself ten years to prepare a counter argument.

  • HurricaneKyle2

    I love Mama CJ.

  • Fidelio

    How many other mothers and fathers would indulge their child’s whims and go down this rabbit hole, chasing rainbows? If it were my child I’d dress him up gender specific clothing until the age of 15 when he could gay it up all he wants. I wouldn’t be a Goddamn Nazi about it. Just get him a pink polo, for Chrissake, and move on.

  • Thedrdonna

    @Fidelio: They used to try to do that in the 50s and 60s, and it didn’t turn out well: unhappy trans folks transitioning later in life, running away from home, or just straight up killing themselves. That’s why mot major medical organizations these days agree that IF a child or adult is diagnosed with gender dysphoria, they should be allowed to transition if that is what they desire. This child may turn out to be trans, or he could just be passing through a phase, but the parents being open and accepting him one way or the other is key.

  • Fidelio

    @Thedrdonna: Oooor, he can just grow up more confused by the wishy-washiness of his parents. You can’t know what your child is inclined to be at an early age, although their personalities develop quickly (i.e., sensitive, curious, destructive, etc…). I would not castigate my child for wanting to dress more feminine, but giving in to every whim of a child ought not to be the norm. Along with love they need discipline, structure, direction, and security. I guess I just wish the parents weren’t so hippie about it, you know? Plus, they seem to be projecting an awful lot onto their child. I mean, calm down; he may just be a sensitive boy who will happen to be gay.

  • Thedrdonna

    @Fidelio: I figure I don’t know these people well enough to assume that they are projecting or somehow trying to push their child into being gender variant. That’s the thing about gender identity, it is fixed and it goes both ways. If you took a cigs gender boy at birth and forced him to grow up as a girl (which is something that has happened, medically, before) then he will insist that he is a boy. Just as parents can’t force a trans kid to become cigs gender, they can’t force a cis kid to become transgender.

  • Fidelio

    @Thedrdonna: You’re right, I’m not psychologist and I don’t know enough about their family to say they are projecting. But CJ was not yet 5 years old when anxiety set in about their son’s sexuality/gender identity and that is disconcerting for me. I knew a few kids like CJ growing up. Some grew up gay, some straight. And as progressive and wonderfully open his parents may be, I wonder how much they have – inadvertently – contributed to his anxieties now that he is in school. Still, I wish them all the best.

  • Aidan8

    I’m about as far from conformist as they come… yet I find it at least highly suspect that she went out and bought all the crap she bought for her niece. Would someone so rooted, so grounded and certain, about issues of gender-conformity and gender-flexibility do this? It seems so incongruous with her journey. I suppose she never claims to know everything about the issues or to be a “perfect parent,” but I’ve gotta say I was really surprised by this post. And, because of that, way more inclined to believe she may be engaged in a lot of projection regarding her own son’s journey. (Not questioning her intent or motives, just that she may not be aware of the extent of her own projection onto her son)

  • Dixie Rect

    You all actually believe this blog? It’s pure fiction. The mother and CJ do not exist. None of the blogs are consistent or make sense. It’s all one big fat LIE!

Comments are closed.

Add your Comment

Please log in to add your comment
Need an account? Register *It's free and easy.