So as it turns out. Arddun’s wearing a lot of pink.
See, I started out with every intention of not girlifying my daughter too much. Made sure that I got some gender-neutral pieces in her wardrobe so that I get her on the straight and narrow early – no sequins, no insipid butterflies, no tutus, no fairy dust. As a name, “Arddun” sounds pretty strong and that was deliberate. We wanted our girl to be proud of her sex, but we didn’t want to live with a human candy floss either.
All well and good, until you go out into the Big Bad World, and everyone starts referring to your gorgeous girl as a Beautiful Baby Boy.
Related this tale of woe to several friends, as follows:
Me: Perfect strangers keep asking me how old my son is!
Friend: What was Arddun wearing at the time?
Me: Purple, mostly. Oh, and her onesie was white with polka dots – purple, red and blue.
Friend: Ah. There’s your problem. The outfit wasn’t girly enough.
Me: Well, what self-respecting man wears polka dots!
But point taken – “neutral” somehow translates to “male” more often than not. So we tried other things. But I still ended up with a similar result. When a stranger – an older man – referred to Arddun as my precious baby boy the other day, I admit it took some measure of self-control not to snap back the obvious:
“The child is wearing a hot-pink onesie. With bunny rabbits. Each sporting a hideous fringe of eyelashes that would make any Patpong lady-boy weep with delight and envy. If that baby is indeed a boy after all that, what are you trying to tell me exactly?“
I wonder why I’m so deeply affected. It’s not like a loathe little boys – far from it. But it does strike at some core, some fundamental truth when your offspring cannot be recognised for who she actually is. It feels as ridiculous and offensive as if someone came right up to me and insisted I wasn’t Chinese but Indian. NOTHING against Indians. I’m just not one, that’s all.
Anyway – strike one on the trendy girl-dots. Strike two on the hot-pink rabbit-haunted onesie. After a particularly galling outing at Woden Mall the other day where four – four – strangers referred to Arddun as a boy, I marched into David Jones and bought the third-girliest hairband I could find.
Result: a mini rendition of Lucille Ball.