So 39 weeks is… boring. Not to put too fine a point on it. The interminable waiting game continues, as I continue to guess and second guess and triple guess my body, desperately looking for any sign of imminent labour. Too hot to go out, too dull to stay in, no big trips planned just in case hell is unleashed. Climbing the stairs leaves me breathless and I have to plan every outing around where the nearest toilets are. Easier to just curl up with my Kindle and take another nap.
The little white bedroom is ready and waiting for our Bub, decorated entirely to his mother’s minimalist taste. White walls, wooden crib, crochet rug, animal curtains. I’m sure he will hate it and want everything in different shades of rainbow or unicorn vomit, but for now I call all the interiors shots around here. The car seat is installed (eventually) and the smart new pram is ready and waiting.
The smart, new, blue pram.
“That’s brave of you,” someone (who shall remain anonymous) recently said to me. “We went gender neutral with our pram in case we want to use it again.”
This comment confused me at the time, because all of my baby prep had been very deliberately gender neutral. We found out the sex because it was a tiny piece of information, however insignificant, about the tiny wriggly life form taking up more and more space in my abdomen. But at no point was it so that I could make specific preparations for having a boy. So I thought nothing of this conversation until the other day when the penny dropped. Or rather, quite a substantial number of pennies came crashing down on my head.
“Wait”, I said to Chris we slumped on the sofa one afternoon, pondering impending parenthood like two victims of Stockholm syndrome. “Are people going to think we have a blue pram BECAUSE our baby is a boy?”
“No…”, he said, uncertainly. “Surely not. I mean, the blue is a nice colour right? We would have bought the blue anyway?”
As daft as it sounds, it never occurred to either of us that a blue pram would be considered a “boy” pram. I mean, my bedroom is painted in soft shades of coastal blue. Most of my wardrobe is blue or grey, hell, even most of my Instagram feed is blue. We bought a navy blue car seat with a bright red newborn cushiony-thing because we liked those colours. I would have bought the blue pram regardless of the sex of our baby. If we are lucky enough to have other babies in the future they will also use the same pram, irrespective of sex.
This situation is brilliantly comic. I have spent months bemoaning the gender stereotypes that we foist upon our infants before they are even capable of deciding anything for themselves. I’ve avoided buying clothes from baby brands that segregate by sex; I’ve not spent a penny in Mothercare because they seem to think that dressing little girls in 1950s housewife attire is a cute way to market toy cleaning products; I’ve picked books for our little one with both male, female, and genderless protagonists. In the nursery I repurposed an old handmade grey, white, and pink striped rug on the floor. When our NCT course gifted us two baby grows, one in blue and one in pink, I decided he would wear both of them because no amount of gender stereotyping can stem the tide of yellow poo from a baby’s cute little arse.
And yet all my best laid liberal middle class gender protest plans have been hilariously laid low by a blue pram. Just as I quietly roll my eyes at the all pink power puff chariots rolling up and down the high street, someone somewhere is going to shake their head at my baby boy blue buggy. If only the grey one hadn’t been out of stock! Clearly the far more principled gender warrior parents got there before me.
“Oh well,” I said to Chris. “The clear solution is to get one of those pram dangly whatsits that’s bright pink and sparkly and covered in fairies and shit. That’ll mess with anyone who thinks we’re gender stereotyping our baby.”
Yeah. That’ll show them.
(There’s also a distinct chance that I am slightly delirious due to boredom and impatience, and that actually these things don’t matter in the slightest!)