Originally posted on 6/27/2009 on attorneyatmom.blogspot.com.
Since the birth of my daughter, I have learned to economize. It's a value that I hope she takes from us with pride. Back in the day, I just thought my mom was a "cheapskate." I supposed I didn't really appreciate the work she put into making sure that her dollar went as far as humanly possible, so that all of her children would have their needs met. Now that I have my Bitlet, though, I completely understand what my mother was doing.
And even as I wrote that, I know that Bitlet will more likely than not think of me as a cheapskate until the day she has her own financial responsibilities, which might or might not include a child. I can live with that.
Since she was born, I have bought very few things for her that were new. She received gifts before she was born, of course, that included lots of clothing, but I, her mother, have purchased a few things. Rather than shop at expensive baby clothing stores, I have gotten her clothing from thrift stores, mostly. I'm not paying expensive prices for clothing that she will wear approximately 2 months and then never contemplate wearing again. That, to me, is just crazy.
But there is just something about the baby clothes section at a Family Dollar store . . . .
Yeah, I said it. I buy my baby's new clothing (when I buy her "new" clothing at all) at the Family Dollar store. They have some really cute things, that cost very little, and stand as much of a chance of wearing out as the much more expensive clothing from "Pickles and Ice Cream." I'm not ashamed of that.
(Stephen added, "At least we assume 'Pickles and Ice Cream' is more expensive. We tried to go in once, but we couldn't afford the cover charge.") He kills me.
I went to the Family Dollar recently to buy sodas during a visit to my in-laws. They always make sure that we are well fed when we visit, but they will not purchase sodas for us to poison our bodies. They just won't. It is strictly bring your own . . . .
While I was there, I saw some really cute outfits, as I usually do, including the most adorable red and white halter dress that would have looked absolutely amazing on my Bitlet. I didn't get it, though, because I thought the halter would show too much and didn't want people to think I was dressing my baby like a prostitute. Someone pointed out that halters actually started out for infants . . . it's when the older people get a hold of them that it perhaps reveals more skin than should be shown and words like "hoochie" start being bandied about. God, I'm stupid sometimes. I'll go back and get it at some point.
Later in her infancy, that is . . . when it still looks appropriate.
God, it's hot outside.
While I was browsing the shelf, I saw some onesies . . . "Daddy's Little Princess" or some such nonsense was emblazoned on one of them. Slogans like "Little Flirt," "Sweet Angel," etc. I could deal with all of them, but the one that stopped me dead in my tracks was the one that read "Precious Booty." And no, it did not have a cute little picture of booties on it. It was emblazoned across the butt of the onesie.
When she fits into the 3Ts, what then?
I didn't buy the outfit, needless to say. I already have a hard time dealing with the fact that we begin the gender conditioning our children as soon as they are born, with the little boys wearing blue outfits with slogans like "Little Sport" that somehow intimate that boys grow up to be athletes, while little girls wear pink and are dubbed "little princesses" who presumably just wait around for their athletic prince or knight in shining armor to rescue them. I rebel by putting Bitlet in this blue outfit that says "Little Sport" on the front . . . .
Plus, it makes her beautiful blue eyes really pop.
But, really, "precious booty?"
Do I really want any grown person's attention drawn to my 3-month-old daughter's derriere . . . or thinking that I want their attention there in the first place? She is my baby!!!
It started me thinking though . . . I have heard people talk about the way young girls dress. Frankly, I have seen adolescents dressed in clothing so inappropriate, I have wondered about their parents. . . this outfit that I saw at the Family Dollar only cemented that suspicion that the way our daughters dress might have something to do with the way we dress them as small children who clearly can't afford to buy their own clothing.
Bitlet did not, after all, flounce into the Family Dollar with her allowance money to buy some new threads. No, the people buying those clothes are adults. And I am not stupid . . . it's not like outfit was a thong or something. It was a onesie with a couple of words on the butt.
But, the thing is, I didn't see any similar messages on the outfits that were designed for the little boys. No "Tight Tushies" were stitched in blue on the boys' clothing. And I am not saying there SHOULD have been. I am just saying that the clothing made me think that we might begin the objectification of our daughters a little early . . . and then we voice our dismay when they later objectify themselves. Who is really to blame here?
(And, yes, I am aware of the irony of the pink dress in a post partially complaining about gender stereotypes, just so's ya know).
I'll worry about clothes that show off and have people admiring her precious booty eventually . . . God help us all . . . .
Caroline Lewis is an attorney with the Brad Hendricks Law Firm in Little Rock. She has been blogging since 2006, chronicling her adventures in life, including her jobs, her engagement and marriage, her pregnancy, and on into first (and only) time motherhood. Her writing includes legal issues, current events, anecdotes about her personal life, and what life is like as a busy career woman who is also trying to be a busy career mom. She is a featured blogger on the official site for What to Expect (When You’re Expecting), a true honor for her and a blessing to her as a woman trying to raise a child without a clue (her, not the child). She lives with her husband, Stephen, her daughter (affectionately known as the Bitlet), two dogs and one cat. Her blog is The Articulate Ramblings of the Attorney-at-Mom.