Peterborough mum of two Donna Steele:
I decided to treat myself as it was pay day recently, but as is usually the case when I visit a certain fashion outlet, I soon found myself in the children’s department.
Winter’s on its way, so maybe a jumper for the youngest, and with a birthday on the horizon for her sister maybe get a few ideas for the big day.
I have been listening out for hints as to what she might like in the way of presents. And there is no doubt leading the way is anything to do with Marvel Avengers.
She isn’t old enough to see the films but has marvelled at a cartoon series we found on a satellite channel recently - a natural progression from Thunderbirds, which she also likes, I guess.
And wow, what a selection - jogging bottoms, socks, shorts, t-shirts, coats, you name it, all emblazened with the likes of Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Spider Man and her current favourite, Captain America.
And then it struck me. It was all in the boys’ section. No one, and I mean no one, does clothing for girls featuring any of her favourite superheroes.
Her pride and joy at bedtime (indeed any time she can get away with wearing them) are her Captain America pyjamas - which, of course are meant for boys.
Don’t get me wrong, she knows they are for boys but thankfully couldn’t care less.
And the same applies to whatever else comes her way.
But it has started to strike me as odd why manufacturers insist on girls’ pyjamas being so “girlie”- you just can’t move for Disney princesses.
It is not just superheroes, mind. Her younger sister (well both of them if truth is told) loves Paw Patrol and like most children her favourites are Chase and Marshall, who just happen to be male dogs.
Can you buy a nightie or set of pyjamas for a girl featuring those two? No chance, they are for boys, obviously. Girls’ nightwear features the female Patrollers - Everest and Skye.
So younger sister - who insisted on having them after seeing them on the shelf - also wears boys’ jimjams.
And it doesn’t end there. They went through a phase where Peppa Pig was the biggest thing in their lives - but it is the boys’ aisle again if you want something with just George Pig at bedtime.
I am sure parents of boys face similar dilemmas, so maybe the answer is “merchandise areas” and leave little ones to wear exactly what they want without their gender coming into it.
Like millions of TV viewers I was gripped once again by Dr Foster - surely a Bafta-winning performance from Suranne Jones .
I was dragged into, as the writers intended, the nasty battle between the medic and her bitter ex-husband, both out to win at all costs. And for me, this made the ending - criticised in some quarters - all the more poignant.
It wasn’t about the squabbling grown-ups at all, was it; it was the poor son, caught up in the middle and used as a broken relationship football.
A lesson for all parents.