This morning I stood, paralyzed, staring at the shelves of training diapers in front of me. On the left, the pink kind; the one we always get for Sage, with the princesses on it. On the right, the blue kind; the one for boys, the one with Woody and Buzz Lightyear on it.
The one Sage asked for last time we were here.
I hesitated when she pointed to the blue packs and said, “oooh!” We were in a rush. I didn’t feel like having the discussion. I didn’t have time to read the label. And I seem to remember somewhere in the back of my head, some commercial that described different leak protection for boys and girls. God forbid Sage has the wrong leak protection.
“Those are for boys,” I had mumbled to Sage, while grabbing the pink pack in one arm and her in the other, and scurrying off to the register. I felt crazy guilty about it. What kind of feminist am I anyway? The kind that doesn’t want the wrong leak protection? Because that’s what I tried to convince myself. More likely, I’m the kind that continues to grapple with her pink is for girls, blue is for boys issues.
(Although if you think about it there is something kind of ironic about a boys’ diaper that helps promote a guy called Woody. In the same way I try not to think too much about my girls’ underwear that says Hello Kitty on it. Double entendres and children’s undergarments are two things that should never ever ever go together.
Let’s just forget I mentioned it.)
This morning, I walked into the CVS determined to buy the blue Pull-Ups. I conjured up the wildly joyous expression on Sage’s face when she first recognized the Toy Story characters on the packaging, and I made up my mind. But something still kept me unable to decide. I must have looked like a complete idiot, standing in aisle 1 for way too long, staring at the pink ones…then the blue ones…then the pink ones…over and over again. I have no doubt the CVS employees were watching me on the security cam, mocking me from some back room somewhere: Well, does she have a boy or a girl? Duh! How hard can it be? Stupid lady.
But it did feel very hard.
It felt very hard to get those blue diapers, the one “for boys,” and pay for them and open them up and put them in her dresser drawer right next to the pink polkadot underwear and the heart pajamas. I wonder if it will be hard when I send her to camp in the morning with a spare pare of “boy” Pull-Ups in her backpack. I wonder if it will be hard when a neighbor or the mom of a playdate companion gets a look at the design poking out of her waistband and makes an off-handed remark.
What won’t be hard is when Sage comes home later today and squeals, Wooodeeeeee! and dances around the house hugging her diapers. And that’s just what she’ll do.
Then I realize, I have it easy. It’s my friend whose son want to wear the princess Pull-Ups that doesn’t.