My daughters do not wear pink

My wife and I were trying to recollect the memorable incidents involving B +ve and O +ve. One event that certainly happens whenever we are out is a query about the girls – Are they twins? It would be followed by another question – Are they both boys? When answered in negative and even before we clarify further, one of the girls would be pointed at and asked – he is surely a boy. To the dismay of the person, we have to answer that both are girls.

We were recalling numerous instances when this situation would have repeated itself, anywhere and everywhere, with most of the people. It does not happen anymore. After the girls turned three years, they have started having long hair. Hence, their gender gets identified with the prevalent societal norms of girls having long hair.

I was trying to come up with reasoning as to why, earlier, the majority of the people got the gender of our twin daughters wrong. I do not suppose anybody would intentionally state the incorrect gender of a child. Why would this keep happening so frequently?

The simple answer, I suppose, is that the girls did not wear PINK.

Seemingly, for whatever reason, the colour pink has got associated with the girls; similar to colour blue for the boys. There is no ingenuity about this colour-coding, but it seems to be universal.

The way the products get marketed and show-cased clearly demarcate in our minds as to which gender should be wearing what colour.

There is of course nothing wrong with the colour pink. Our daughters look adorable in the pink coloured clothing. But, they look equally adorable in any other coloured clothes. Why should their gender identification be limited to seeing the colour pink around them?

It is as if the society, at a sub-conscious level, has got it ingrained in our minds about how to dress a girl and how to dress a boy. The gender stereotypes are so deep-rooted in our culture and it gets entrenched further with the marketing ploys of the companies wanting to sell their products to the children. They want the girls to be defined as girls in the manner in which it suits their sales.

We get restless when we come across a child not adhering to the norms of the colour of a dress. And the child mercifully is not even aware of it.

Why cannot a girl wear blue and a boy wear pink? They obviously can. But we as a society would not want it to happen for it fails our ability to straitjacket a child.

I understand that B +ve and O +ve might as well take a liking for the colour pink when they grow-up as they get influenced by their peers. From my side, I am going to do whatever I can to ensure that the girls know that there is no right way or wrong way to dress as a girl.

Our girls have a right to all the colours of the rainbow. If it means getting clothes tailored and customised for them, then so be it. They are not going to be dependent on any colour for the identity of their gender. They can choose their own way, what they are happy with and identify themselves with.

It is not to make them a tom-boy or a girly girl, but a girl, nothing more, nothing less.

What is your view of labelling of a child as a girl / a boy basis the colour of their clothes?

Thumb sucking and finger sucking: The advice abound

As parents, we have had a number of inquisitive experiences, when we are in public places with our twin daughters. None beats all the kind of possible advice given to us by a few family members and a number of complete strangers, regarding the thumb sucking and the finger sucking by the girls.

The context

Like many of the infants and the toddlers, both the girls were into thumb sucking and finger sucking, respectively. I do not remember when the habit started for them. However, I distinctly remember asking the paediatrician about this and the answer he gave. As per the paediatrician, it was a question that he will not take till the girls turned four years. He told us to disregard their thumb sucking and finger sucking and let our daughters live in peace.

He is the person who took care of them for the first ten days of their life in NICU. There is every reason for us to believe and follow whatever he says and this was no different.

Both the girls merrily continued their respective thumb sucking and finger sucking with no disturbance from our side. It so happened that both the girls took up their respective thumb and finger in the mouth only at the time of falling asleep – which meant at the night and during their day-time naps.

The advice and advice and advice

I remember a number of instances when I would be walking on the road with either of my infant daughters putting her thumb/finger in the mouth and sleeping in my arms. Suddenly, I would get a tap on my shoulder from someone whom I had never met and will never again meet in my life.

The stranger would tell me that I should not allow the finger sucking/thumb sucking of my daughter. I would be told that there is an ayurvedic medicine that can be applied to the finger/thumb which ensured that someone in his family lost her/his habit. There were a number of advice listed down  – juice of some roots, bitter gourd juice, bandages, tattoos, nail paints, tying up the fingers etc and all of them were found to be effective in their respective cases.

My wife also had similar experiences, getting advice from the women she did not know.

We would go to social functions. I do not think we were noticed much, till the time the girls were awake. Once, either of the girls slept or even better, when both of them slept, suddenly we would become the centre of attraction. Some family members would walk down to us and start rattling off what we should be doing to rid our daughters of their thumb sucking and finger sucking. Few other attendees whom we would not know would descend down to us and start giving their piece of mind.

Once we would say to these benevolent, unasked for, advice givers that we, as parents, were perfectly fine with our daughters’ thumb sucking and finger sucking; long gazes would follow. We would be stared at and looked down upon at as unbeing of a worthy parent.

The current scenario

One girl left her thumb sucking at two and a half years on her own. The other girl continues her finger sucking nonetheless. We asked the paediatrician on the next steps to dissuade her from her sleep-time routine. He said that the only way was to talk her out of the habit. He instructed us not to experiment with any kind of juices, tattoos, bandages, nail paints etc on the finger of the young girl. We are following his advice and will update basis our experiences.

Disclaimer: To clarify, I am not promoting or supporting thumb sucking/finger sucking in any manner. We have been following the paediatrician advice all along and will continue to do so.

Any memories you have of your child’s thumb sucking/finger sucking?

Last week, we had gone to a relative’s place for an overnight stay. The girl invariably put her finger in the mouth while sleeping at the night. The relatives noticed. We were told about the experience with the relative’s daughter. She was given a tattoo on her fingers so that she would not take them in her mouth. When we did not show any enthusiasm for this solution, we were given the option of ayurvedic medicine. We changed the topic of discussion. It reminded me of all the past experiences as regards the thumb sucking and finger sucking of the girls and the torrent of advice, we got.

PS:

Once, we had gone to a restaurant for dinner, the four of us. The girls were about one year old. It had got a bit late; we fed the girls and started our dinner. One of the girls slept in her mother’s arms with the thumb in her mouth. Suddenly, she started crying and to our utter horror, we noticed that the waiter who had taken our order was trying to remove the thumb from our daughter’s mouth. We asked him to stop and even before we could ask him what he was trying to do; he told us that we should not let our daughter suck her thumb and that we are setting a bad example.

Needless to say, we have not visited the restaurant again.