in target the other day i was passing through the baby clothes and saw an awesome sweater. it had a pirate scull and crossbones on it and was blue and grey. it was so cute and my first thought was "what an awesome sweater, i should get it for haven!". i should go with my first thoughts more often, i think. my second thought was "it's a boy's sweater. too bad girl clothes aren't that cute". i'm ashamed of that second thought, and more ashamed that i listened to it. what exactly is it that makes a sweater a "boy's sweater"? because it was blue and grey? because it was in the boy's section? because an advertiser decided to market it to boys?...i think that last one. some of my favorite sweaters have been "men's" sweaters. does it mean that i'm dressing "like a man"(whatever the hell that means) when i wear them? no. nor do people think that i'm a man when i wear my sweaters. so why should i give in to all that bullshit when it comes to haven? the truth is that my daughter is no more defined by her clothes than i am. too often in the past year i have given in and gone with the "girly" clothes simply because i get frustrated correcting people who call her "he" when she wears any color other than bright pink. i'm ashamed of that frustration and how i've handled it. why should i give a fuck what some stranger assumes about her based on their narrow preconceptions of gender. this weekend i am going back to target to get haven that sweater, because it is awesomely cute. and from now on i am going to buy her clothes based only on awesomeness and functionality, not on what aisle they are in at the store. my daughter will not live in a box. i will continue to encourage her love of cars and dogs as much as her love of dress-up. i will watch myself and make sure that i tell her every day what a beautiful person she is, but not that she looks pretty just because she's in a dress (i already make a point to refer dressing up or wearing makeup as "looking fancy" rather than "looking pretty", but i've noticed a disturbing trend lately of "you're so pretty" being the phrase i say to her most frequently). i love her tutu and all her cute dresses, but i want more than cute dresses for my daughter. society will try to place many limitations on her throughout her life, and i will not be able to protect her from them all. but right now i can at least lay a foundation that will enable her to find her value in her intelligence and spirit and kindness, and not in her looks. i can teach her from the begining that clothing does not make a person, nor do possessions or hobbies. and it can all start with a bitchin pirate sweater. she is going to look so cute in it this fall, worn with jeans and her black sneakers. and if anyone tells me how cute my "son" is, that's fine. i will feel sad for them in my heart that they live in such a small box, but i will not put haven in a similar box just to fit in.