Exhibit A: Penguin has been involved in a serious love affair with Hello Kitty these past few months. I am not sure where the two met, but I would imagine that Netflix is somehow responsible for the pairing since the 1980s Hello Kitty show is on there.

Exhibit B: For roughly 18 months now, Penguin has refused to wear pajamas at night. He preferred to wear his grungy, food splattered clothing to bed. Now, since the boy wears almost nothing but wash-n-wear cotton pants and tops (fleece in the winter since we’re the daring sort around here), this was not that big of a deal. I mean, he arrived to bed nightly slathered in dried ketchup, but you pick your parenting battles. This was not one I was willing to fight. Two days ago, I was getting Owl into his pajamas for bed and I was talking about my awesome pajamas (fleece, natch) and Penguin said, “I want pajamas!!1!!11” I had to ask him to repeat himself, so foreign was the statement. He did and we agreed to get some pajamas at the store yesterday.

Sidenote: I am a pretty patient person, but I don’t like acting up in stores. In public, period. I expect the boys to work on public behavior to the best of their developmental ability. Some lady gave me the vicious stink eye for telling Penguin in a firm, noticeably nonhappy voice, “You need to settle down right now and listen to Mama or we leave immediately.” This was accompanied by a hands on the hips, glaring look. It’s my “I mean business” tone.  Anyways, since I had a child to deal with, I could not be arsed with her in the moment, but, what gives? What the lady failed to see was the three chances in which I gave a warning and did not use that tone. I am a cheerful person, but when I’ve had enough nonsense, I’ve had enough. ‘Ol girl gave me the stink eye for disciplining the child, but another would have given me the stink eye for letting him run wild. You can’t win as a parent in public, can you?

But back to the story –

We were at the store, trying to find the pajamas in the kids section and we came across the Hello Kitty jammies in the girls’ section. Penguin started hopping up and down, all excited. There was an electric teal blue pair, a pink and red pair and a purple pair, all adored with the cat’s face. He was in heaven. We selected the teal and pink pair. We’d have grabbed the purple pair as well, but they were not in his size. So we picked up a pair that has a red and blue pattern with white stars. It’s all very patriotic.

Sidenote 2: I got the second, more obvious, helpings of stink eye when I was shopping in the girls department for Penguin. Oh, for fucks sake. He likes Hello Kitty. He likes hot pink. Seriously, get over it.

So we excitedly purchased our pajamas and Penguin selected the teal ones to wear last night. Papa Bird was not home at bedtime, so Penguin said, “I’ll have to show Daddy tomorrow. He’s going to think these are so terrific!!1!111!” He was so happy with them. Papa Bird did get home in time to kiss the boys as they were laying in their beds and instantly, Penguin ripped off the sheets and begin pointing to his new pajamas.

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I don’t really have a thing about gender rules, but I can recognize that others do have such a thing. I have always encouraged Penguin to like what he likes and enjoy what he enjoys, regardless of “who” the item or activity was designed to intrigue. I realize that there will become a point when this is a tricky thing. When society, and his peers, will make it very clear what is and is not OK for him to enjoy as a little boy. I’ll support him if he wants to ignore those positions. I’ll support him if he pragmatically decides that it’s sometimes not worth the grief to go against the crowd. And if he secretly wants to wear Hello Kitty pajamas until he’s 17, I promise I won’t tell a soul. Though I might have to learn how to sew.

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