Last week I popped in to the shops (popped because long shopping trips with a one year old simply no longer exist in the realms of possibility) to look at some clothes for the boys…Summer wardrobes definitely need updating, because it would appear that H in particular puts his feet in a grow bag overnight and grows an inch a day. Slightly exaggerating obviously…. but the fact remains, try as I might he does not fit in to anything from last year.
And with Summer holidays, sunny weekends (hopefully) and a trip abroad later in the year all on the horizon it definitely seems time to be gathering some togs that actually fit. I hasten to add that Henry has actually worn shorts ALL winter regardless of the weather. Anyone who knows us will know this to be true… there was just one day I managed to get him in to trousers on a very cold and windy outing in North Devon – and even this was after a 35 minute ‘discussion’ (argument)…So shorts are no big change for the season, it is just that it would be nice for his shorts to look like they belong to a 7 year old and not to a 4 year old…
Anyway I digress… clothes for the boys was my mission. Trouble was the choice was so limited. Some of it is fine don’t get me wrong. Okay if you like skulls, dumper trucks or football. But not much beyond that. And of course it is fine if you do like that. H is football crazy at the moment. But that is exactly my point – it should be a choice. There should be options for boys and girls on the high street; good quality, affordable, gender neutral options, choices for boys beyond the norm. Yes there are some nice simple tops and shorts, stripes are a-given in this house for example, but where is the inspiration, the adventure?
I must add here that there are some amazing brands online selling the most fantastic stuff – for example, Scamp and Dude, FMLY store and Turtle Dove London are all awesome, especially, I find, for smaller beans. I struggle massively with the 7 year old though. I just feel there is such little choice on the high street once they aren’t so little. There is really nothing that works for our little adventurer.
This whole fiasco over limited choice and the pigeon holing of boys has really got to me. There has been some fascinating stuff online of late about gender neutral toys and clothing among other issues, and it has really got me thinking. I feel frustrated with the notion that in many stores and in many situations boys are expected to wear blue, and play with cars. Personally I love blue so there is lots of it in my home and in our wardrobes – but not baby blue because the shops have told me that, but because we really genuinely like the colour blue. And the boys do play with cars – but they also like lots and lots and lots of other things.
Henry has spent days painting and printing designs recently, and spent the other 50% of his time with a football at his feet – these are his interests and likes because he is a CHILD, not because he is a boy… he has lots of interests and they go far beyond the age old stereotype of a boy. And Ralph, well as long as he has a piece of recycling, a stick or a buttercup (current favourite) in his hand, he finds the world a very happy place indeed. (I would quite like to be Ralph to be fair).
There are, actually, many faces of a boy, just as there are a girl, and we have to stop placing children in neat little boxes. Because, really, they should be wild and free to adventure and explore just as they wish, be it dressed as a princess, climbing tress, running races, mountaineering, building towers, smelling flowers or putting on puppet shows, regardless of gender.
Clothes and toys for children who love adventure. That’s what I am after.
And you know, neither of my boys are going to be any more or less of the person they are going to become for drinking from a pink, or green cup, as they are from drinking from a bloody blue one, or playing with tea sets or acton figures. We have surely got to think beyond that.
The clothing hunt continues… and I have to say it has sparked some ideas for us. Watch this space!