When my son turned 4, we bought him a pram.
It was one of three things that he really wanted, and he had mentioned it frequently in the lead-up to his birthday.
Interestingly, I found myself evaluating and re-evaluating my gender biases. It revealed about me, to myself.
A lot of which I’m not proud of, especially considering one of the reasons my son wanted a pram was to ‘be like daddy’. Shouldn’t this gift have been a no-brainer?
Seeing how much joy it’s brought him, I don’t regret the decision for a moment. I’m ashamed that I had any second thoughts in the first place.
I’m ashamed of my hang-ups, but it’s helping me to grow, and challenge the biases that are still entrenched.
I’m proud of my son, and he gives me lots of hope that his generation won’t face some of the stereotypical gender expectations and stigma that my generation does.
As a kid, I would have never asked for the pram. Probably my dad would never have bought me one.
Here of some of my learnings and reflections from the weekend:
– It’s actually very hard to buy a non-pink pram. The toy manufacturers really aren’t helping with this. But we did manage the find a green pram, even with a boy on the front. Representation matters. ‘What’s wrong with pink for a boy?’ you may ask. (Well, that’s a whole other post and discussion).
– A LOT of people (family, friends and strangers) felt the need to query “Did you buy him a pram for his birthday?” They didn’t ask this question about the other presents. My mother in las actually asked this question as my son opened the present in front of us. No one asked this question about his other gifts.
– I found myself being drawn into responding to this query with “Yes, it’s what he really wanted” as if I needed to defend our choice. Or “Yes, but we also got him a bike” (I can’t believe I felt the need to say that). Thankfully, I did stop myself at “Yes.”
– I found myself needing to summon the strength to take the pram with us to the park. Which is massively ironic considering I was taking a pram with his younger sister. I was fearful of the looks, the questions and the judgements. But I left my hangups at home and strolled proudly to the park. Prams side by side on the footpath. We had a lot of fun.
– His older brother and he fought over the pram and the baby doll at the park. And my eldest son (6) actually got quite upset that the birthday boy wasn’t sharing and he wasn’t getting a turn.
Perhaps, deep down, every boy wants a pram.