The Pajama Drawer

July 14th, 2010

My daughter and son are a year and a half apart. But since my son, who is the younger one, is pretty big for his age, we are always asked if they are twins. The kids share a bedroom. My daughter has her side; he has his. And like most siblings who share a bedroom, she has her clothes in her drawers and he has his clothes in his. There is one exception to this rule, the pajama drawer.

The pajama drawer belongs to both of them. It’s the free zone. All is fair play in the pajama drawer: the sports pajamas, the purple princess nightgown, the pirate top and shorts, the Barack Obama big oversized tee from the election, a couple old tie-dyes from my husband’s and my Grateful Dead days, and a fun assortment of other options.

I hate to admit it, but my kids have been socialized by the outside world’s expectations of how a girl or a boy should dress. I held out as long as I could. I started Handsome in Pink as the antedote to having my kids’ clothes choices fit into neat circular pegholes. I even repeated to them again and again that there is no such thing as “boys’ clothes” and “girls’ clothes”. But eventually, little by little, the outside message got to them and began unravelling my own. (Although they still happily don their gender neutral HiP attire so they are not a total lost cause.)

I realize many might be wondering why I wanted my kids to believe clothes are clothes and they aren’t for a particular gender. I have my reasons. First off, since my son at 2 and 3 years of age was insisting on dresses and pink and purple outfits, I certainly didn’t want his preferences squashed by his biggest idol, his sister. Secondly, I wanted to protect all children everywhere who were not conforming. It was my personal mission to be the mother of the last kids on earth who would ever question another child for the clothes choices they were making. Clothes are very personal; they can be an artistic, soulful expression of who we are that day, how we are feeling. No one should put limits on that for us.

As far as fashion is concerned, the pajama drawer has become a symbol to me of the last vestige of what society hasn’t beaten out of my children. At bedtime, the kids, without hesitation, will grab and wear any item in the drawer. I really like that. I wonder how much longer it will last…

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