Saturday, October 21, 2006

Equal Rights for Toddler Underpants

Big News here at Chez Haggis. Bambina has officially decided that diapers are for babies, that she will only wear "big girl underwear" and that her little kiddie pottie must now serve as a stepstool in her bedroom because no way is she sitting on it to go potty anymore. The very suggestion that she might wish to use it was met with a blank stare, a plaintive "Noooooooooooooooo!" and a look that said, "we're gonna fight if you make me." Okaaaaaay. Back away from the toddler slowly and no one gets hurt...

So we went on a Big Shopping Adventure in search of Big Girl Underwear, as she calls it, but that always kind of makes me think of those "briefs" that are available in large sizes for women, perhaps because I inadvertently bought a set a month or so ago. I saw the package of cotton thong underwear (yes, even sometimes the sassiest women buy the straight-up cotton ones...) and must have thought that the red circle on the package with a big 5 in it was the size. Turns out it was the number of undies in the package, which was a size 11. I laughed so hard, not because size 11 underwear exists (big girls need undies too--and good for them workin' the thongs), but because of my total surprise as I was unfolding the underwear and seeing the fabric just keep on coming.

Anyway, we got to Target and started looking at the selection, and that is when I started feeling my usually dormant "womyn power" agitation bubbling up. Bambina LOVES Thomas the Tank Engine. She loves choo choo trains, she has a Thomas train set, and we often ride the metro (DC subway) rather than drive to a museum or wherever just because she wants to get on the train. So imagine her sadness when the only Thomas underwear available was for boys. The girls selection was this: Hello Kitty, Disney Princesses, and My Pretty Pony or whatever its called. The boys had Thomas, Cars, and something else she liked because it had purple and orange in it. She could not care less about ponies or Hello Kitty, but I wasn't sure if it would be weird to have her walking around with a...what do you call those in America?..the boy pee-pee opening in the front of the underwear. {This is where Scottish and Yiddish come in handily, you see, because Scots do actually have a word for that opening. It's called your ballup, pronounced bal (like "Cal" in Ripken and lup, like a combo of "lup" and 'lip": bal-lip)}.

So here's my question: can I just go ahead and buy her the boy underpants and hope that the babysitter doesn't think I'm giving her gender issues and just tell Bambina if she asks that boys need that opening but she doesn't? Or are we stuck with Disney g0&^%$mn Princesses (a marketing franchise that I wish would die in a fire)? It's just so ridiculous to see the ways in which we tell girls (and boys, for that matter) from the very earliest days what they should be into. "Oh no sweetie, the trains are for boys. Here are your princesses..." Boys might like Hello Kitty, they might like Dora the Explorer; and girls might like train sets and orange cars. Why are we telling them so early on, that they can like those things if they want to, but it means wearing the opposite gender's underwear?

I don't know. Maybe I'm just so mad because I fell for it and, on her big day of potty training victory, I talked my kid out of getting the one pair of underwear she really wanted.

3 comments:

caro said...

Got here by searching for "girls' thomas underpants", which my daughter would dearly love. And there are still none! The dream of Thomas undies was what inspired her to go on the potty in the first place ... no way I was going to talk her out of it. I bought her the boy version, fly (that's what I call it) and all. I hope they go over ok at day care, because she is thrilled with them.

kelly said...

I was looking for girl thomas panties too. Wonder if I should start my own business...

Anonymous said...

well, guess how i got here, too.... my little girl LOVES Thomas.. and I'm searching for Thomas panties.... I almost bought the boys version as well, but, I think I might try to find some iron-on Thomas transfers and iron them on some plain white panties....

Why doesn't girlie Thomas stuff exist?

She's even having a Thomas birthday party next month :)