Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Boys and Girls

Posted By on Tue, Apr 3, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Look, I'm not even going to try to pretend otherwise: when the ultrasound tech told us we were having another boy, I felt a little bit ... disappointed. It's awful, I know. There are thousands of women out there who would kill just for the chance to get pregnant, and here I am, during my second perfectly healthy pregnancy, bemoaning that the kid in my uterus most likely has a penis. (I say most likely because ultrasounds are not 100 percent accurate. Actually, according to one of the pregnancy message boards that came up when I Googled it - a reliable source if I ever saw one! - ultrasounds have about a 6-percent margin of error. So yes, I am still holding on to a sliver of hope that I may be having a daughter.)

Don't get me wrong, I love this baby, no matter the sex, and I know that once I meet him or her, I will have the same certainty I had when Luki was born. That head-smack moment of, "Duh! Of course this is my baby, this had to be my baby, I couldn't have given birth to any other baby but this one." But still ... have you seen how cute those little girl outfits are at Target?

That could be a finger, or a shadow... right?
  • That could be a finger, or a shadow... right?

When I was pregnant with Luki, we didn't find out the sex until he came out and told us. Lots of friends and relatives thought we were crazy for waiting to find out and, in response to them, I would get on a high horse about not wanting to genderize my child from the womb. You see, gender was not going to be an important factor in how I raised my child because boys and girls are equal, and pink and blue are social constructs.

And then I had a boy. And he is such a boy. With the constant roughhousing and the obsession with trains and trucks and - thanks to our adventures in potty training - a quickly developing fixation with his penis.

But I wonder, is it innate or have we made him this way?

I'm definitely the kind of mom who wouldn't hesitate to buy Luki a baby doll if he asked me for one. But he's never asked, and I've never thought to get one on my own accord. I'd never say something to him like, "Boys don't cry," but I do talk to him about the importance of being a gentleman, of opening doors and giving up his seat for girls. I explained to him that only women can get pregnant, but didn't make a big deal about him sticking a blanket under his shirt and pretending he was pregnant, too.

And then there's this whole daughter business. If boys and girls are equal, why do I want a girl so badly?

I don't know. Maybe it's because I'm a daughter. I have a wonderful brother; he is a fantastic son, but his relationship with our mother is nothing like mine. My mom and I are besties, we gossip, talk every single day, we care about the same things, we even share clothing. Is it possible to achieve that kind of bond with a son? On the other hand, my mom and I have gotten in more fights than I care to admit - many, many more than the few tiffs she's had with my brother. If I remain daughterless, will the rollercoaster ride that is motherhood be a bit less bumpy?

As usual, pondering these parenting topics leaves me with more questions than answers, including the biggest question of all, the question everyone around us has been asking since we got the ultrasound results: If it is, indeed, another boy, will we eventually try again for a girl?

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