Friday, October 20, 2006

A boy or a girl

Years before I had my son, I always imagined myself with a daughter. I couldn't even imagine what it would be like to have a son. Since my wife felt exactly the opposite, I figured that at least one of us would be prepared for whatever Fate brought us.

During my pregnancy, I had a strong sense that I was having a boy, as did my wife. Since I had been teaching for several years at that point, I was not as frightened of having a boy. And I also began to realize that part of my fantasy about having a girl involved a desire to have a little me (and raise her right!). I became thankful that I was having a boy, because it was a strong reminder to me that my child is not me and I am not my child.*

Whenever I mention a desire to have another child, hypothetical or real, one of the questions I am asked is whether I want a boy or a girl. And the truth is that I don't care.

With a girl, we would have that perfect little balance of one boy, one girl. And there is that little bit of me that still wants a girl, and knows that I'm better prepared to raise an individual. Of course, if we have a girl, our son will be horribly outnumbered, the only male in an otherwise female household. I also fear getting a girl through her teen years more than a boy--so much more drama and subtle bitchiness.**

With a boy, our family would be gender-balanced. Plus, think of all the hand-me-downs! But, I shudder to think about two rambunctious boys running amok in our household.

I think my wife, she of the "I would have no idea what to do with a girl" plaint, is actually leaning towards a girl. And my son has shown a slight preference for a baby sister, though I'm not sure he's really thought it through.

And me? I just want that second line on the test next week.

* The irony is that he is so like me in many ways, in ways I wasn't even prepared for.

** Yes it's stereotyping, but most of what I witnessed fell into that same pattern.

4 comments:

bubandpie said...

"I became thankful that I was having a boy, because it was a strong reminder to me that my child is not me and I am not my child.*"

As is so often the case, you have articulated EXACTLY my feelings on the subject (including the footnote). For me, it was easier to acknowledge that Pie is her own separate person because she is the younger child and I was the eldest.

Keeping my fingers crossed...

vasilisa said...

I find it strange, but before my son was born, I thought it would matter to me if it's a boy or a girl. I had a strong feeling it was a boy, though... But once he was born, I realized that it really didn't matter. It still is my child, and I couldn't love him/her any more if the gender was different. So for my next kid, I honestly don't care. If it's a boy -- great, I'll have two little brats and lot's less clothes to buy. If it's a girl, I'll have a little princess to pamper. I win either way...

Mouse said...

Vasilisa-I agree, I win any way you cut it. It's been nice to find that place, where I know that I honestly will be happy with whatever I get.

B&P-I think there's something to being in a different place in the birth order. Having one child already has made me aware of the separation of identity, but I expect that I'll feel a difference too because I am the oldest sibling. In fact, that's one thing I wonder about--both my wife and I are the eldest, and so it'll be a challenge to think about things from the younger child's perspective.

sunshine scribe said...

So insightful to recognize that your child is not you. I know that I would have struggled with that if I had a girl ... trying to avoid all the parenting mess my mom did. It is one of the many reasons I am glad to have a boy. But there are days when I long for a girl too...