Thursday, August 10, 2006

neko rants about underpants

Iris will be moving into new a room with new, more potty-forward teachers at her childcare in September, and I’ve decided that when that happens, we’re going cold turkey on the diapers/pull-ups. Iris is ready, and lord knows so are we. So my plan is just to bring in lots of extra clothes and underwear and let the potty training begin succeed.

With this in mind, the other day I went to Pittsburgh’s ancestral downtown department store, Kaufmann’s, to stock up on size 2 underpants. Kaufmann’s is in the process of being converted into a Macy’s, and Macy's commitment to its customers apparently is No Children’s Undergarments Without Corporate Character-Driven Gender Stereotyping! Maybe, as a person who buys store-brand pull-ups to avoid the aggressively gendered Disney designs of the name-brand ones, I should have been prepared for this, but I wasn’t. When I first bought panties for Iris at Kaufmann’s, a couple months before the Macy’s transition, I got packages of plain ones which I tarted up myself at home with polka dots, animals, and other designs she likes. I was pleased. Iris was pleased. All was right in the department of size 2 underpants.

But now! The only girls’ underwear Macy’s has is adorned with Disney princesses (gag), Barbie (I’m giving that a big pink plastic NO), My Pretty Ponies(what are they if not Barbies with hooves?), Dora the Explorer, and some blonde cartoon tween named Lizzie Something-or-Other. Oh, and there was Elmo, but only left in size 8 because hello, kids’ underwear makers, if you’re trying to ensure you’ll have unsold inventory, put the same red furry face on underpants for eight-year-olds that also appears on their kid siblings’ diapers!

Okay, so I guess Dora and Lizzie are not really so offensive, feministically-speaking, although I don’t actually know about Lizzie. I’m just annoyed to have no choice but licensed cartoon characters. Iris doesn’t even watch those shows. And even if I were willing to dress her in licensed underwear, each package included at least one pair with a big, stiff, itchy polyester appliqué of the featured character on the front. On behalf of my child’s skin, no thanks.

So where does this leave me? Must I order those smug but cartoon-free “won’t wear anything else” underpants from a certain Swedish children’s catalog – again with the Swedes! – that cost more per pair than a Kaufmann’s 3-pack? (Which brings me to a related rant: why are simple, unadorned children’s clothes in general so much harder to find, and so much more expensive when they can be found, than ones that are all junked up?) Or drive – and you know my feelings about that – out to some suburban big box in search of anonymous flowers and butterflies? Would they even have them there? Why does this simple errand have to be so hard? Maybe I’m just making it hard, but sheesh, would it kill Macy’s to carry some kids’ underwear that’s not printed with advertisements for TV?

3 Comments:

Blogger Tracy said...

oh i hear you. while i will admit that we do have a couple of princesses lurking in our underwear drawer i buy the majority of their undies at target. the circo ones are cotton, an appropriate cut (string bikini on my 2 yr old, i think not!) and quite cute (apples, flowers, bright colours, etc.)
we are potty training k right now. she is doing "ok". i also would recommend the heavier cotton/thermal undies made by gerber (also found at target) they provide a little extra absorbancy (if needed!) good luck!!

1:28 PM  
Anonymous kirsten said...

head over to target - they have cute non-character ones - flowers and stuff. (3.99!) - oh, tracy just said that - .... also - you MUST get the thicker ones for the beginning. you will appreciate them soon!

4:15 PM  
Blogger angelique said...

Thanks for the tips! To Target I go!

2:31 PM  

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