baby items

Is It Too Pushy to Ask for More Gender Neutral Options?

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed 2 or 3 weeks ago that I sent out a tweet about Freshly Picked's celebrity collaborations. 

I love Freshly Picked. If you're a parent, you've probably seen an ad (or five) for them on Instagram. You've probably seen a baby wearing them on Instagram. Michael Phelps's son, Boomer, famously wore a red-white-and-blue pair with gold heels at the Olympics. They are small, leather moccasins, soft soled, for babies and toddlers. Freshly Picked is everywhere, becoming almost as popular among InstaMoms as ModCloth is among the indie crowd. 

However, when Freshly Picked announced their most recent celebrity collaboration, I found myself getting a little, well, flustered. The newest collaboration is with Ayesha Curry; she created four designs of moccasins. Three of them are holographic: they are gorgeous and insanely impractical for the average baby, but who cares! You can get gold holo, pink holo, or silver holo. They are also obviously for girls. They are little girls shoes. They are only shown on girls in Freshly Picked ads. There is another pair of moccasins in the collaboration: they are plain blue. Plain blue! Not blue holo. Not green holo. They are... blue. That's it. They're blue. 

They are for boys. 

During the summer, Freshly Picked had another celebrity collaboration with a professional skater. 5 styles of shoe were released; 4 styles were obviously for girls (floral, polka dots, etc) and one was for boys. The boys styled was plain black with a lime green sole. Plain. Black. That's it!

The girls get fun designs, cute patterns, pretty colors. Boys get plain blue or black or brown. 

That's it. 

We can get into the "for girls" argument all we want. I'm there with you. I think saying florals are for girls and girls only is total bunk. However, Forrest depends on me to dress him; I can dress him however I like at this point. When he's older, he can choose. But my goal for getting him dressed in the morning is not to make him the object of negative attention. 

But that doesn't mean I wouldn't like a cute pair of shoes to put on him. Shoes that aren't covered in the Ninja Turtles or Superman. Shoes that aren't boring or plain. 

I'm not asking for a miracle here. I'm just asking for more gender neutral--or even, perhaps, overtly "boyish"--options. 

Walk into a Target. Look at the toddler girls section. Look at the toddler boys sections. Notice anything? Yeah, the girls section is 3-4 times as big as the boys section. 

It's incredibly frustrating. 

Also, when you look at those clothing sections, notice another thing; there are almost NO boys shoes for young toddlers. Under size 5 boys shoes are the hardest thing to find in the world. I might as well be attempting to purchase the Mona Lisa. There are racks of tiny girls shoes--fake Ugg boots smaller than my hand, sandals and tennis shoes and Mary Janes--but there are no boys shoes. None. The boys shoes that are available tend to be covered in characters--the Ninja Turtles, Cars, and more. 

It is endlessly frustrating. 

It is hard to find things that are gender neutral or that aren't overtly girly. What am I supposed to tell Forrest? Sorry, kid, you can't walk right now because I couldn't find any shoes in your size? Sorry, I know your feet are cold because you need boots, but they don't make them for you despite the fact that there are 20 varieties of boots for girls? 

This is my plea to brands to please, please, make more options for boys or options that are gender neutral. 

Freshly Picked has many plain colored moccasins that work just fine--Forrest has the velvet mocha style--but it would be nice if, for once, a collaboration came out that was for primarily boys or gender neutral and didn't feature just solid colors. It is entirely possible to make cute, exciting clothes for boys or that are gender neutral. You just have to try. It's easy to sell girly themed things--overwhelmingly, because girls have more options, parents buy more--but I promise, boy moms (or moms that are choosing a gender neutral route) have money too. 

5 Things You Absolutely Need for Your Baby's First Year

I've written quite a few posts about items that we love for Forrest. Looking back over the last almost year (really, almost a year now), I can pick out a few distinct items that we absolutely love, use every day, and cannot live without. 

My usual disclaimer, of course, stands: not every baby is the same; not every baby will like the things Forrest likes, and not every parent will like the things that Danny and I like. But that being said, I really feel like these items have made our lives easier--and that's why I say, you absolutely need them. 

1. the myBaby Sound Machine 

This is a sound machine and projector for baby's specifically. We didn't get it until June and let me tell you--I wish we'd bought one sooner. We used an app on our phones for the first 8 months of Forrest's life, but it was hard to leave him in his room with our phone, with an app that needed restarted every 30 minutes. This sound machine... it's amazing. In all honesty, we don't use the projector; I don't like the idea of him having a light playing images all night, it seems odd. But the sound machine. is. amazing. There are a ton of sound options, including heart beat (very popular with newborns) and rushing water (Forrest's fave). Totally worth the $24. 

2. HelloBaby Wireless Monitor

I had said I wouldn't get a video monitor because I thought they were unnecessary and weird. But when we started sleep training Forrest, we knew we needed one. Forrest could already stand up by then and so would often stand in his crib; I just wanted to be able to see if he'd hurt himself or genuinely needed help. This one is affordable, incredibly light, and has absolutely zero fancy features. It's perfect. You don't need a $200 camera to watch your baby sleep. 

3. OBall Rattle

This is a $4 ball that rattles. It is one of Forrest's favorite toys and has been for ages. He can chew on it, crawl on it, throw it, bounce it, hit it, offer it to Remus, and use it in the bath tub. It's a multi-use toy and he freaking loves it. $4. Drop the $50 activity centers and grab a bunch of Oballs. You'll thank me. 

4. Munchkin Microwave Sterilizer

I never imagined I would need so many bottle supplies, but here I am. Washing bottles is a huge pain in the butt and sterilizing them is worse. I sterilized until Forrest was 6 months old because I was paranoid like that. This microwave sterilizer was a constant on our kitchen counter. It was easy to use, easy to clean, and didn't take up too much room (not any more room than our bottle drying rack which I can't wait to get rid of). Even if you think you'll be exclusively breastfeeding, having a good bottle sterilizer on hand is good for pump parts, bottles, and toys (in case you end up getting thrush). 

5. Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water

Gripe water is used to help calm colic. Some babies live on this stuff. For the first 12 weeks of Forrest's life, we would give him this every evening to head off his crying streak that occurred from 6pm to 9pm. If he was crying, it would stop him in his tracks just long enough for him to go to sleep. It was a total game changer. Affordable, easy to use, and mostly non-medicinal. 

Have items your baby couldn't live without? Share with me on Twitter!