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I remember the first time someone called my baby boy “she”. He was dressed in one of those gender neutral outfits. I registered for it before I found out I was having a boy. So, it was yellow and had ducks on it. I was at the store and this well-intentioned older lady came over and said the “she” was so cute. I was mortified. How could someone think my handsome son was a GIRL?!
I immediately went home and purged all of our gender neutral clothing. But that didn’t completely eliminate the problem. There were still people who got it wrong. When, I had my girls, they would occasionally get called “he” if they weren’t wearing something really girly. Neither one of them had a lot of hair, so I was constantly putting headbands on to make sure it was obvious they were girls. A grocery clerk still got it wrong once. Was she even looking at the baby when she said “he”? I never use a gender specific word unless I am 100% positive that I’m right.
If you aren’t positive, don’t guess. You can say something like “Your baby is so cute!” Just avoid the pronoun entirely! “Look at those beautiful eyes!” “That is the most adorable baby I’ve ever seen!” Perfect compliments without sticking your foot in your mouth.
Don’t say “It”
If you’re not sure, don’t use the word “it”. You can say, “It looks so cute” if you’re talking about my new car or my new haircut, but not my baby. Really the word it should be saved for inanimate objects or possibly animals, not human children.
If you’re really not sure, asking is still better than guessing.