A lot of people have assumed this pregnancy that I’m hoping for a girl. They have suggested that since we know we are having our third boy that perhaps we should try again for that elusive girl. While I’ll admit that girls seem easier to name, I don’t feel an ounce of disappointment that I have been blessed with three boys. Nor do I feel my family is incomplete until a girl is added.
My older son was initially hoping for a girl. I think this is due to his desire to care for them. He tends to think girls need more protection. He was constantly getting frustrated with the smallest girl in his Kindergarten class—there were things she struggled to do and he tried to help her. She is a bit of a spitfire and wanted nothing of his help. This did not fly well with Lucas. “Why won’t she let me help her?! She can’t do it herself!”
So when he received the news at the ultrasound that it was another little brother for him, he laid his head on my belly and shed a few silent tears. After a little conversation in the car, he started to brighten. “Hey! I would have had to play princesses! I might have had to play tea party! Now we can play Lego and fire trucks! I’m glad we’re having a brother! I don’t ever want a sister!” Leave it to a 5 year old to state things in absolutes.
Once he recovered from his disappointment, I felt free to enjoy the news myself. Another little boy. Awesome.
I once read an article about how you can spot the difference between moms of boys and moms of girls at the playground. While mothers of girls look coiffed and put together, the mothers of small boys tend to look slightly disheveled. Why? The boys climb all over them, perch on their heads, are in their faces. I had to chuckle. I still do when my boys scale me like a playground and I remind them, “I am not a jungle gym.”
I know you have to be careful about drawing stereotypes of genders and boxing kids in. I try hard to give my kids freedom to choose what they are interested in. For years that meant everything in our house was purple since that was the colour of preference. Is it a boy’s colour? Technically no but did I care? No. Each child has a fuzzy pink duck in their beds. Does that matter? No. I did not steer them towards trucks and dirt and rescue heroes and rough and tumble. They naturally and strongly gravitated toward those things on their own. So this is just my list of things I enjoy about my boys, letting them be who they want to be.
1. I’m the girl in their lives. My oldest son has picked up on the fact that I like jewelry and accessories and girly things. In his mind, bigger is better and more bling expresses more love. So for birthdays or special occasions, he takes it upon himself to find the gaudiest, tackiest fake jewels. Sweetheart that he is, when he goes to Chuck E Cheese (shudder), he saves his tickets to buy me plastic rings. There is something about them noticing and affirming my femininity that I love. I can teach them how to treat a girl well.
Perhaps hard to see but do you notice the bling on my finger? I couldn’t even bend my knuckle from this birthday present!
2. I don’t have to worry about hair and wardrobe. The thought of being responsible for someone else’s style who may really care about it terrifies me. The thought of my child wanting me to be really trendy also terrifies me! My younger son really does love hats and shoes and choosing his own clothes but it is not difficult to match a polo to jeans, pop on a fedora and go. Leggings and tunics and boots and scarves and when to pierce ears and ratty hair—this all I can do without. On a deeper issue, the idea of teaching appropriate modesty in this day and age seems like a scary thought. Of course, I’m on the flip side—teaching respect and decency which I imagine is not clear cut either.
Micah loves when we both wear hats!
3. Dirt is fun. Dirt is not the enemy. If you have a dump truck and a bulldozer and a pile of rocks or dirt, you are set. For some reason, this is deeply satisfying to me, this ability to let mud squish between toes and get sand under fingernails and stain the backsides of light coloured shorts grey. Good old organic fun. PS If you add noise, the fun just gets better.
See? Nothing wrong with pink!
4. They still want to do things together. Just because boys are boys doesn’t mean we can’t read stories, bake cookies, make crafts or do things that may be labelled as girly. Our stories may be about fire trucks, our crafts may be minions or ambulances or paper mache airplanes but we still have a grand old time together. If you genuinely allow a child into your interest area and give them some space to explore, almost anything is possible.
5. Building. With my little boys, building is everything. Anything is possible if you have blocks or bricks or better yet, Lego. I love co-creating with them, taking an idea and piecing it together. It is a metaphor for me of life—we’re just building together toward common ideas. Sometimes our ideas work better than others. Sometimes there are no instructions. But when we sit together on the floor and start to work it out, we’ll build something great every time.
Our first 3-D animal out of Lego–an orca.
These are just a few of the reasons I love my life with the boys I have. What are the great things in your life about parenting girls? Or boys? Or both at the same time?