BABY | Boys Wear Blue. Or do they?

I had an epiphany this afternoon as I was thinking about hand-me-down baby clothes from my daughter to my son. My train of thought went a little something like this:

It’s too bad we have these adorable girl clothes that my son won’t be wearing.

Well who cares if he wears “girl clothes?”

What do I care if someone in a store calls him a girl?

I just have to correct them.

But why do people feel the need to determine a baby’s sex based on their clothes?

Why does boy=blue and girl=pink? (I know the answer to that but for the sake of this personal discussion I had with myself let’s move on.)

So if my son wears clothes that are mainly pink, someone will say “Oh she’s so cute!” (This happened to my daughter numerous times when she was in blue (and even sometimes while in pink so who knows…).)

And what does it matter to them to say she or he?

And that’s when the lightbulb went off.

In this world where we are trying to promote more understanding and tolerance for those who may fit into a different “category” than we do, it is important for people to know the proper gender pronoun to use when referring to someone so they can be sure they are respecting that other person in one of the most base ways you can. Obviously the best thing you can do is respectfully ask what pronoun(s) they prefer you use, however you can’t really do that with babies, can you?

Even I, as a cisgender female who receives the proper pronoun 100% of the time, find it important for me to understand what someone else wants to be called. I have never been in that situation where I have been uncomfortable with someone calling me by the incorrect pronoun, but I try to make an effort to be as understanding as I can in any given situation. And this is no different.

So why, then, do I get upset when someone wants to refer to my child with a proper gender pronoun based on one of the only obvious visual clues they have – clothing? Because let’s face it – even if we think our daughter is the most beautiful little girl we’ve ever seen, to someone who isn’t familiar with babies they may not be able to tell if she is a she or if she is perhaps a he. So they look to the clothing to help them.

Maybe instead of being annoyed I can simply look at it as a learning experience for both sides – I’m learning patience and understanding and the other person (if incorrect) is learning that perhaps you can’t judge a book by its cover.

BABY | Inconsistent Clothing Sizes

Before my daughter was born, we were gifted a lot of hand-me-down clothing from a local friend. I was ecstatic. Tons of great clothes in tons of different brands that we didn’t have to buy, all ready for the wearing.

I organized based on tag size because, I assumed, children’s clothing was like most adult clothing in which the size was pretty standard across the board. I washed and folded onesies and pants and tee shirts and was quite happy with my setup – all organized how I like it.

Then she was born. And then she started to wear these clothes. And that’s when the problem started.

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BE | Best Advice Ever

Five and a half years ago, I was in the throes of wedding planning. I am a planner and organizer at heart, plus a crafter and doer and an “I can do it all myself-er.” That makes for a bit of a stressful time when putting everything together for your big day.

In one of the hundreds of blogs I visited during those planning days, I came across a bit of advice I have not yet forgotten. It’s changed my perspective and the way I handle new situations. It’s short, simple, easy to remember, and something I keep in my back pocket as a mantra that I’ve used handfuls of times since I first read it.

“You are not the first person to ______.”

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BABY | Books We Love 21-24 Months

I feel like this last quarter we have been bombarded with books. SO many books. SO many books that now the bookshelf is overflowing onto the floor. It used to be cute and organized with a basket of toys on one shelf and a large toy on another shelf, so I think it may be time to remove any non-book items from the bookshelf. But hey, at least she likes to read!

There were two especially fantastic things about this quarter. First, I had many opportunities to read to her and while the reading helped increase her vocabulary, I was able to teach her additional vocabulary words from items seen on the pages in these stories. I had her look at the page to find items she knew and I taught her new items that she would see when we read the book the next time.

Second, her vocabulary and sentence comprehension EXPLODED. I looked back at my journal of her speaking progress around 16-17 months, and she had just started to really say concrete words. Now she’s saying full sentences, repeating and creating sentences with her own context and content, and her vocabulary is well over 300 words and phrases at this point. (I have her words written down in, but I haven’t yet made the spreadsheet I keep promising to do to count the grand total.)

**Update: I counted, and it’s over 500. Thank you, story time!!**

What’s also very exciting is she now can “read” books to me – she has memorized the sentences on the pages and when I get her going, she will continue the story. Sometimes I don’t have to say anything and she’ll know what’s on the page. It is one of those miracles of child-rearing that no one prepared me for.

Anyway. Enough about the benefits of reading. Here are the books she soaked up these last few months.

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DO | Something Better

A few days ago I was on Facebook (pre-Orlando, which is another post coming, but since I was waiting on this and now it’s basically completely out of the news I feel like I should just post it already) and I came across a suggested news article from Buzzfeed entitled “Here Is The Powerful Letter The Stanford Victim Read Aloud To Her Attacker.” Little did I know the rabbit hole this would lead me down.

It was a weekend day. I had just put my daughter down for a nap. My husband was working in the yard. I took a few minutes of quiet to sit down at the computer and peruse Facebook. Then I came across that letter.

If you haven’t read it, please do. If you have read it, you probably understand how I feel. It’s gut-wrenching. It hit too close to home. It made me think about so many emotional things in the few minutes it took to read it.

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DO | Recycling Used Flags

With Memorial Day behind us and the Fourth of July ahead of us here in the United States (plus 363.25 other days in a year when you might display your flag), your flag could potentially get a lot of wear and tear. Cotton flags, while not made as much anymore, lose their vibrant color over time when displayed in the sun. Nylon flags are now the norm, but they can’t necessarily be disposed of in the same way a cotton flag would (burning isn’t recommended). In order to maintain the integrity of your flag, even in its retirement, it is important to know the rules of the flag and also the proper ways you can dispose of your used flag once it has given its service to your home.

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BABY | On Knowing Baby’s Gender

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was anxious and excited to have the 20 week anatomy scan. While the major purpose of this scan is to determine that your growing baby has all of the proper bits and parts (fingers, toes, arms, legs, spine, yada yada), the level of amniotic fluid, the placement of placenta, etcetera, many people know this scan as the one when you learn the gender.

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