My Son Wears Girl Pajamas

Give C.J. a theme and he will run with it.  This week had him running for five days straight.

It was the last week of school and the Orange County Mommy Mafia was out in full force giving each day a theme and a party and a sense of panic that had me constantly feeling like I was forgetting some important detail.  They scuttled about campus in their Lululemon yoga pants, clutching their stainless steel commuter mugs filled with the organic coffee they picked up at Trader Joe’s over the weekend while they were loading up on supplies for the class ice cream social, board game mixer, pizza party, beach blanket BBQ, popcorn and movie mid-day madness and bubble blowing farewell ceremony.  I watched them all from the comfort of my dirty car, while wearing my work pants that give me a severe muffin top and drinking yesterday’s coffee that I had managed to burn when I reheated it in the microwave.

I remember when I was in school and there was only one celebration, it was called the final bell ringing, marking the start of summer.  That was the “Official Party,” the bell, it lasted five seconds.  How times have changed, I didn’t even have time to write a blog post this week because I was busy meeting the demands of The Mafia and trying to keep up with my two sons and the days’ many themes and parties so that I didn’t seem like a clueless, uncaring, uninvolved mom.

I have to admit, I burst out in insane laughter when one of the boys’ room mom sent an email reminding us that there was a party the next day and she still needed “multiple parents to supply wet toppings.  Squirtable chocolate?”

Excuse me?  I nearly showed my true colors.  Alas, I was able to control myself without replying to the entire class using the hashtags #roommomepicfail and #ivegotyourwettoppingsrighthere.

For C.J., Monday was pirate day.

“C.J., do you want to dress like a pirate for school today,” I asked.

“No, that’s not fun,” he said with a look of disappointment.

He wasn’t quite as glum hours later when I picked him up from school and he was wearing the awesome pirate hat that he made in class.  He customized his Jolly Roger, complete with rainbow wig and purple grill.

Another day that week was Sports Day.

“What do you want to wear for Sports Day?  You can wear your baseball uniform or your soccer uniform or….”

“I want to be a cheerleader!” C.J. interrupted.  “I already have my uniform, you know the pink one with glitter?”

Oh I knew which one he was talking about.  It was two sizes too small, ripped and stained.  Nana Grab Bags had worked her sewing magic on it a few times, but you can only do so much when working with a $15-dollar, imitation satin number.

“Baby, that uniform is too small and too worn out to wear to school,” I said honestly.  It was a tattered mess.

“Okaaaaaayyyyyy, I guess I’ll wear my baseball uniform,” he said lacking enthusiasm.  “When’s pajama day?”


“That will be MY day.  I’m going to wear my Little Mermaid jammies to school,” he declared.

I looked at my husband.  Were we really going to let our son wear girl’s pajamas to school?  Considering he doesn’t own a pair of boy’s pajamas our options were limited or I needed to go shopping.  Not that I ever mind a good excuse to go shopping.

“Are you cool with him wearing girl pajamas to school?” I asked C.J.’s Dad later that night, away from the boys.

“Yeah, I don’t care.  School’s almost over,” he said.

“I agree.”

It has been a tough school year dealing with gender issues.  In a way we were waving our rainbow flag to mark the ending of a struggle.  Not defeat, just an end.

I emailed C.J.’s teacher Ms. Sensible to warn her that on Friday C.J. would be wearing his three-piece deluxe Little Mermaid pajamas that he had recently purchased on sale at the Disney Store to school.  Pants with fish-scale tail design, white top with Ariel on it and optional layered skirt, which C.J. has never considered optional; to him, it’s mandatory.

She replied the next day before noon letting me know that C.J. was welcome to wear anything that he was comfortable in..

I picked C.J. up from school.  He sat in his booster seat wearing his baseball uniform.

“Mommy, today Ms. Sensible told me that I could wear my Little Mermaid jammies to school for pajama day.  She said I could wear whatever makes me comfortable and that she’ll tell the kids not to make fun of me.  She said that people will like me no matter what,” he said.

“Ms. Sensible is right.  She’s a good teacher.”

“So, can I wear my Little Mermaid jammies to school tomorrow?”

“No, tomorrow is crazy hair day.”

“What!?!?!  I LOVE crazy hair day!!!!”

“That’s odd, you’ve never had a crazy hair day before,” I said smiling at C.J. in the rearview mirror as I drove.

“I know, but I know I’m just going to love it.”

C.J. won the award for craziest hair at crazy hair day.  Or so he told us, only for me to find out later that there was no award given.  My kid has a good imagination, or he’s a liar.

Finally it was Friday.  Finally it was pajama day.  C.J. had allowed me to wash his favorite Little Mermaid pajamas.  He put them on and then sprayed some of my Victoria’s Secret Body Mist on himself.  He.  Was.  Ready.

Then, we got to school and he didn’t want to get out of the car.

“What if somebody sees me?” he asked in worry.

“They’ll see your fabulous Little Mermaid pajamas,” I said.  “If you want to change, I have a pair of your brother’s old pajamas that you can wear instead.”

“No, I’m good.”

He sat quietly looking out of the window for a minute or two.  I could tell he was gathering his courage.  His little chest took a deep breath and he opened the car door.  He had made his own decision and I walked behind him to class.  I had his back every step of the way.

We got some looks, I’m not gonna lie.  But, I’m getting pretty oblivious to them.

Then his girl friend Isabella walked up to him.

“C.J., you look soooooo pretty in your Little Mermaid pajamas,” she said with admiration and a smile.

“Thank you,” C.J. said shyly.  It was the highlight of his day.

Ms. Sensible took the pajama’d kids into her classroom and sat them down.  She explained that it was pajama day and everybody was wearing what they were comfortable in, that people are comfortable in different kinds of pajamas and that’s okay.  She reminded them that teasing was not okay on pajama day or any other day.

As far as C.J. is concerned, pajama day was the best day of the school year and it set the stage for him to wear a hula girl outfit to the Hawaiian-themed pre-k graduation four days later.

About raisingmyrainbow is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
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54 Responses to My Son Wears Girl Pajamas

  1. Pingback: Sensible pajamas | Bertobeyweddin

  2. Kimi says:

    This reminds me of earlier this year. My own son went to his first camp as a Cub Scout after having moved up from Beavers (UK Scouts). he packed his favourite Hello Kitty pjs with thesparkly glitter on the top and a pink Hello Kitty blanket and a pillow with a pink Hello Kitty pillowcase on. he trotted off with his nails painted to match his uniform. Some of his fellow Cubs asked him why he had Hello Kitty (theya re used to his long hair and nails) but when he said he adored hello Kitty just like they football stuff, they left him alone about it. Both of his leaders know he self identifies as gay, and theya re wonderful about helping difuse any potential situations as well, and he has gotten so comfortable, he now wants a new HK daysack as well for camp.

  3. Katie Louise says:

    C.J is awesome. Those Little Mermaid pyjamas are brilliant, and I’m quite jealous myself!
    Ms Sensible also sounds pretty amazing – if only all teachers could be so accepting!

  4. Alice says:

    this reminds me of my first pajama day in elementary school…! since my mother is Japanese and went to school in Japan – they dont and never have done anything like pajama day and she didnt believe me when I told her we were all going to be wearing pajamas to school until she dropped me off (pajamas in my bag) and saw my teacher with curlers in her hair, PJs and big furry slippers on!! 🙂 Glad he got to wear his favorite PJs!! It’s just such a fun tradition!

    I have nominated you for the Lovely Blog award! Check out this post to accept it!

  5. Deena Besson says:

    Yep, that one made me cry. As one of the mothers of a little girl with two mommies, I hope and pray that she always gets teachers like Ms. Sensible and that CJ does too!!!

  6. I’m not sure that there is a blog post you write that doesn’t choke me up. Thank you for sharing your amazing stories. Little mermaid pajamas were my favorite when I was CJ’s age.

  7. Trina says:

    I randomly follow your blog. I saved the link to my desktop the first time I stumbled across it. I admire and applaud you and your husband for raising a strong, confident young boy and allowing him to be the person he was meant to be, in his own way! 🙂 It’s a breathe of fresh air and it makes my heart happy! What a lucky boy CJ is! And I’m sure you would say what a lucky mom and dad you and your husband are! Keep up the good work! 🙂

  8. Uncle Dad says:

    Reblogged this on talesfromthedad and commented:
    What a lovely mom, a strong kid, a cool blog! This one’s a ‘must subscribe.’ Rock on CJ!

  9. RP says:

    This was a very special post for me- it reminded me of my school days. I just love the fact that CJ is such a happy child. You are doing a great job of helping him keep it that way.

  10. panwizard says:

    he could always use more pony swag f.y.i. rarity is best pony

  11. The body mist was a nice touch.

  12. jrbmommy says:

    I love this post, as I have many, many before. The first part about the mommy mafia rings oh so true to me as I also sit in my work pants and watch the yoga panted mommies bustle around. The last week of school in your area sounds like it’s from hell though. We did not have to suffer quite so much. Truly though, as I imagine your tender thoughts as you watched CJ bravely walk from the car, I’m so amazed at the little boy you’re raising with such compassion and love. What a great kid! And kudos to Isabella and Ms. Sensible!

  13. I already super admire you and your husband, but this article made me want to give Ms. Sensible a high five. Good for her. 😀

  14. thegirlnextdoor666 says:

    I think you are doing a great job raising your son

  15. Jessica says:

    Thank you, for every post you write. I enjoy each one SO much, and I am so grateful for you and your husband as parents, and for Ms. Sensible as a teacher, and for you, yourself, for speaking to all of us about the adventures of being an extremely good, loving parent. Thank you.

  16. OpenHearted says:

    As usual, my sweet, you’ve made me laugh out loud at work. That first paragraph about the Mommy Mafia with their perfect coffees and you with your muffin top and burnt, yesterday’s coffee… dear Lord, but you are one talented every-day-mom. I appreciate so much your humor, your sensitive yet fierce heart, and the time you take to teach with love what would otherwise go unlearned. I’ve been a mother for 15 years with a teenaged girl (yes, I’ll take your sympathies now) and a 10 year old son. The whirling dirvish that is my son is “dude-like”, sporty, occasionally semi-foul-mouthed (“bull-crap” being his worst) and incredibly sensitive. When CJ had his moment of hesitation in the car, it brought a pit to my stomach as well, as my boy has sat ducked-down in the car on pyjama day waiting to get a read on the crowd before braving the long orange-curtained sidewalk to school. Yes, we too, live in the OC. You’ll get used to messing up and not sending $$ in for the class party, not contributing to “auction day”, or getting the occasional dissapproving look from the supermoms who do it all and leave it all in the classroom. You’re doing it where it counts. At home, at the store, at the gas station, at the park, with your children. YOU are the supermom. Keep it up. I’m sending you an “S” shirt and a cape. Oh. When is the book coming out? I mean, you ARE putting all of this in a book, right? Think about it. The lives you’ve touched through your blog is amazing. Let’s get a page-turner going!

  17. Jwr says:

    A great writer and parent. You and CJ give me strength to let my pink boy be who he wants to be.

  18. Vail says:

    We’ve been down such a similar road with our 6 yo this year. He just finished kindergarten. Like CJ, S loves dresses and pink and sparkles and barbies. Early in the year, he wore standard “boy” clothes to school-his huge cache of dresses and accessories was for “dress-up” or for bedtime (he has lots of nightgowns). He always chose to play the female in role-playing games at school, and while he faced some questions and mild teasing early in the year, he was brave and everyone learned to accept him as he was. His teacher was supportive as was the entire school administration. Eventually, I figured I needed to follow all the way through with my vow to love him exactly as he is and allow him to dress as he liked for school. I was scared he would be hurt or even crushed by teasing. We talked about the possibility that some kids might laugh or say unkind things to him, and he decided that was ok-he still wanted to wear his new skirt to school. So he did. His teacher said he was poised and calm to the bit of teasing he received and it quickly died down. At the end of the day, S. ran to me with a huge smile on his face. it had been a wonderful day for him. It was so hard to let my beloved child go into the world “exposed,” but boy did it make him happy. And I hope he felt how loved he is, just as he is. I know CJ does.

  19. I don’t think that I ever actually wore pj’s to school. I was never comfortable wearing any pj’s outside of my room. It’s really nice to know CJ had such a great time. It takes strength of patience and understanding from you, and a type of strength CJ doesn’t even know he has yet, but boy does he have it. He’s going to be a great adult (:

  20. maddox says:

    At my kindergarten pijama day, I wore my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pijamas. I don’t remember that day, but there is a picture with the whole class, and I have a big smile on my face. Today, it is one of the few pictures of my childhood I am proud to look at. I am sure CJ’s future will be filled with fond memories of every time you encouraged him to just be himself.

  21. sjcourchesne says:

    Awesome as usual. And your mommy mafia sounds a lot like the one we have in these parts. Sigh.

  22. jorge says:

    Go ahead, you grow up a kind citizen (sorry for my Bad english, PLEASE)…

  23. This is wonderful! Isabella and Ms. Sensible sound fabulous, and Iove CJ’s PJs.. Made me smile 🙂

  24. I love CJ. He will always be true to himself.

  25. judithornot says:

    Orange County Mafia. Perfect name. Am SO glad I left there 36 years ago.

  26. I love the pirate hat. I love that little Isabella. Love Ms. Sensivle. I ADMIRE the courage of your wonderful little son; and the courage of his amazing parents. Thank you for letting your son be who he is, and for letting us share in your family’s journey.

  27. Christie says:

    I love the pirate hat. I love that little Isabella. Love Ms. Sensible. I ADMIRE the courage of your wonderful little son; and the courage of his wonderful parents. You are setting an amazing example for every parent and administrator at that school . . . THANK YOU for allowing your son to be who he is, and for letting us share in your family’s journey.

  28. Jenny says:

    My son wears the dress jammies every night. Jammie day stressed me to no end! Thank you so much for posting this!

  29. Stephanie Baker-Harden says:

    I love Ms Sensible and I pray that CJ has many more loving teachers in his future!

  30. Ellen says:

    Loved this and am so impressed by your parenting. Having our kids backs is so important. I cannot wait to read who CJ has next year for school. I hope he gets another Ms Sensible. She was a wonderful teacher and should be applauded for her ability and willingness to watch out for all kids no matter what. Hope you and your family have a wonderful summer.

  31. George Clarke says:

    Wonderful story! So great that so many kids these days have parents, teachers and friends that can deal with differences so well! Hugs to you and yours!

  32. That teacher is a pro! So glad to hear I’m not the only one feeling like I’m crash landing into the end of school. Hoping against hope not to mess up too visibly in the midst of so many requests/details/public events that I’m not quite sure how we are going to squeeze into the juggling act. Looking forward to a reprieve of formal expectations over the summer.

  33. Winn says:

    My favorite line: “I had his back every step of the way.” Literally and figuratively. Way to go, mama. 🙂

  34. Cody says:

    Sorry, I meant “what is declared as ‘normal,'” not “was is declared as ‘normal'”.

  35. Cody says:

    I just love you. I genuinely love you. I don’t know you, but I feel such a love towards you. CJ (and CJ’s brother) are lucky to have the parents they have. I wish society wasn’t so hung up on what boys are “supposed” to be or what girls are “supposed” to be and would just let them be who they actually are without mocking or judgment. I’m sure going against was is declared as “normal” (although by whom, I don’t know) is challenging at times. You just show so much bravery and love to let your kid be who he is even if it goes against the “norm.” Love…that is what life should be about. Thanks for being supportive parents.

  36. Once again you’re brought a tear to my eye. I’ve got so much admiration for you and the way you support your great little boy. Reading your blog always reminds me to be a more open-minded parent and let my little boy be who he wants to be, even when he insists on wearing odd shoes the whole time. I’ll never understand this desire, but that doesn’t mean he should wear matching shoes just cos everyone else does 🙂 thanks!

  37. Erika Gillian says:

    Ms Sensible deserves an award! As do you and your husband, this is just amazing 🙂

    I do wonder how it works though, if you told C.J about Anne Bonney and Mary Read and showed him some of the more fabulous pirate costumes, I wonder if he’d do pirates then? Maybe a Barbary Corsair 🙂 Men’s clothes in the 18th Century were pretty fabulous themselves. (Aside: seventh picture along is from Blackadder, Rowan Atkinson and yes, that’s Hugh Laurie under that wig 🙂 You don’t see the colors and lace and jewels and high heels in the Pirates of the Caribbean very much, uniforms and dark boring-ish pirate gear. Though whatshername’s dad, the governor wasn’t bad 🙂

    Of course, I get some of my pirate info from this coloring book, which I love, I never color in a whole book except this one I did. (I’m 47, why do you ask? I have a metric buttload of colored pencils too, they are pretty cheap if you get them at the right places and don’t get hung up on brand. And a set of metal felt tip pens.) And as for Ann Bonney, I have this.

    I guess I’m wondering if it’s the stuff pushed as female or does he just like flash and glitter and pretty? That’s the age old question though, how much is gender roles and how much is inherent. I’m on the almost none is inherent side 🙂

    • mark says:

      I’m pretty convinced by now it is both, inherent and learned. Kinda like genetics, the underlying biology is there, but without the exposure it probably won’t develop. Here you might have sensitivity, a biologically bath that is just right, and in a family that nourished that to flower I’m a healthy way for that individual. In others the biology would still be there, but the circumstances to develop healthily is not, which would create bad results.

  38. Rob says:

    I think I’ve still got a couple of old Squirtable Chocolate albums left over from the ’80s.

  39. fairyjerbear says:

    Once again a great post inspired by a brave boy in little mermaid pajamas. I’m so glad CJ has a great mommy who is a great “lady in waiting” to a sepecial princess boy.

  40. Denise says:

    I adore Isabella. I actually got a pit in my stomach when CJ was apprehensive about getting out of the car. I hope his teachers are just as awesome next year.

  41. Jan Wilberg says:

    I loved this. It was funny and true in all ways – from the maniacal moms planning the parties to your just letting it be what it is. You’re really fun to read plus you’re a great mom.

  42. great post, great writing! you gave me laughter and sweetness – thank you!

  43. Kevin Bogart says:

    May you get a Ms. Sensible every year.

  44. atticcrazy says:

    I love this blog and I love you and CJ’s dad for how you are raising your children. Kudos also to CJ’s teacher for being compassionate, loving, accepting, and for supporting CJ, all while taking advantage of a teachable moment.

  45. Lyn~ says:

    Out of the mouths of babes….pure innocent honest and LOVELY!!!
    Have a wonderful summer CJ, Big brother….. Parents grandparents and Uncle Uncle too!

  46. mewithd says:

    I just love this blog…and the example you are setting for all of us mothers out there, regardless of our children’s gender conformity or non-conformity. I have two daughters – a preschool age girl who loves being a girl, and another girl who is still just a baby. I don’t have a “CJ”, but I relate to you so strongly as a mother who wants to do everything to support her children. The love you have for CJ and CJ’s brother comes through so clearly in every word you write. They are lucky to have you. I hope you keep blogging for a long time so that we can “watch” CJ grow up to be the strong and confident individual you are helping him become. Love to you and your family. 🙂

  47. Ms. Herbert says:

    If your school is like my school there is a reason for the theme days. When I was in school I remember working right up to the 2nd to last day of school (Last day of school was field day – aka day from hell)- with all our supplies. All our textbooks, and manipulatives were available. In my school all of that was taken up the 2nd to last week of school. The last week of school we do things like themed days to keep the kids occupied.

  48. K says:

    Isabella is proof that it’s the adults with issues, not the kids. Good for CJ!

  49. Anne says:

    This made me smile. So sweet.

  50. aaaack says:

    Great post. Happy and free summer. Thank you for your bravery and wisdom.

  51. alligatortoe says:

    I am so amazed and inspired by your son’s courage! I hope you know he wouldn’t be the brave and fabulous kid he is without such a wonderful example – I admire you both!

  52. Gillian Colbert says:

    The exchange between Isabella and CJ choked me up. Children are so lovely.

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