So, it’s pajama day at school today, where all the kids are supposed to get a thrill out of wearing their nighttime clothes during the day.
Predictably, Rowan wasn’t interested. He just looked puzzled when we suggested that he could wear his new Thomas the Train pajamas to class. “But I want to wear my daytime clothes,” he said. And really, who can blame him for not seeing the point? Pajamas are pajamas, and wearing them to school just seems odd to him, not some big special treat
And, frankly, I’m not so disappointed. It’s not like we haven’t spent the better part of the last three years trying to convince him to take off his goddamn pajamas in the morning and put on his daytime clothes. I’d hate to have one morning at school unravel all that work.
Still, we packed up the pajamas and stuck them in his backpack, just in case he had a change of heart once he got to school. And we picked the Thomas PJs, an early Christmas/Hanukkah present from Rachel’s mom. That is, we chose the “boy” pajamas. Instead of the pink-and-green striped pajamas that he’d been wearing happily for the past month or so, underneath the fuzzy pink fleece set we got him for cold nights.
Yes, after getting on my high horse about why boys should feel free to wear pink, I am actively steering my son towards leaving the pink at home and entering the public realm in some nice, serviceable navy blue. With trains on it.
Why? Good question. Partly because we don’t want him to come home telling us that “those are girls’ pajamas.” He loves them, and we want him to keep loving them, untainted by any potential preschooler peer group disdain. Partly because we don’t want to open him up to unnecessary bullying or ridicule. Don’t get me wrong: if he insisted upon wearing the pink and green ones, we’d let him. But if he’s indifferent, which he is, we’re going with Thomas for the time being. Because, sometimes, pajamas aren't just pajamas.
I’m a bit torn about this decision. Am I letting fear steer me toward entrenching gender norms I don’t necessarily agree with? Maybe I am. It’s just that I don’t think I’m ready to send him out in the world without me. That is, when my four-year-old son wears pink pajamas in public, I feel that it’s my duty to be there with him — just in case anything comes up. He’s just a bit too young to stand on his own as his parents’ gender spokesmodel.
Just in case you think I’m a complete sellout, however, I’m being interviewed today by the local CBC about my book, which will essentially involve me using the word “dyke” about a hundred times as I talk about how queers like me are choosing to have kids with known donors and parenting partners and the like. The part of me that isn’t a media whore is worried about getting a rock thrown through my window. But I can take it — I’m a big girl.