I sit on the floor in the Kids’ Bedding aisle at Target, nearly in tears. Pink and purple and flowers and butterflies and polka dots to my left, green and blue and orange and bulldozers and dinosaurs and ships to my right. We’re here to buy bedding for Adeline’s new big girl bed, which will arrive tomorrow. And I’m realizing that my efforts to practice gender-neutral parenting have succeeded: Adeline wants the bulldozer sheets. So why am I crying?
Why, indeed. Let’s start with the simplest reason: I don’t like the bulldozer sheets. They don’t go with the rest of her room, which I’ve carefully and thoughtfully decorated over the last two years. And personally, I just think they’re ugly. But what right have I to decorate her room? What does it matter what I think of the sheets? These are her sheets and it’s her room. If she likes them, that’s all that matters. My personal aesthetics be damned.
But I want her to like the things that I like! This divergence in our tastes is just another outward sign that she will separate from me, more and more as time goes by, one day slipping away from me entirely. Shit. Even the aesthetics point wasn’t simple.
And it only gets more complicated from here. Continue reading »