We were one day home from the hospital after delivering my daughter when my aunt called. "I want to make sure you got the flowers we sent. And I want to make sure there are no pink flowers. I told them twice not to send you any pink," she said, concerned that perhaps a pink rosebud may have slipped into the arrangement. It would be another two days before my postpartum haze dissipated and I would even spot the beautiful bouquet. No pink. We were in the clear.
My baby shower was also no-pink themed. I was against the gender-normative colour wheel and had been this way since I was a child, instinctually turning my nose up at things like ballet tutus and dolls. My daughter wouldn't know it at the time, but I would rear her in a home that was free of gendered expectations. We would give her a masculine name. We would buy her only grey and grey-adjacent onesies, and when she'd open her eyes enough to take in her surroundings and the world, she'd see nary a princess nor butterfly print in her room.
I was forcing her to have a nongendered experience.
While pregnant, I was turned off about what society expected of me, shoving pink bunnies and frou-frou newborn dresses in my face. While kind gestures, I'm certain, I loathed the presumptive nature of it.
Despite my firm grasp of the principles I wanted to instill in my daughter, I quickly learned after swaddling and zipping up countless grey onesies and blankets that, to put it plainly, grey wasn't her colour. She was a vibrant, happy baby and deserved to live life in fun and silly colours, and I was robbing her of that. Though I'd ensured that she saw colourful toys during playtime, I realised everything I was doing with her related to colour exposure was restrictive. From a pure aesthetic sense, she did not look good in grey. From a social perspective, though only 2 weeks old at the time, I was forcing her to have a nongendered experience because that's what I wanted for her, ignoring the obvious possibility that I was pushing her into liking — or not liking — something. Why was I insisting that she be anti-pink or anti-"girlie"? I was only reemphasising the gendered colour wheel by associating pink with femininity and, consequently, wrongness. Wouldn't a more progressive approach have been to say that anyone can wear pink and to not limit her or my thoughtful aunt from buying whatever the hell they wanted?
I made her wardrobe about me. Sure, I didn't like when I told people I was having a girl and they responded with sentiments like "oh, so many cute dresses in your future," but I got lost in my own agenda instead of ensuring my daughter experienced life as a person with individual thoughts and interests and tastes. We all experience parenting blips, and I'm relieved I quickly saw the error in my ways and not only introduced her to all colours but also all patterns, toys, dress-up accessories, shoes, and more.