I often tweet with the hashtag #momofboys. I’ve realized over the past (almost) nine years of being a mom of one and then two boys how much a part of my identity this has become. I think of myself as a mom of boys, and I love it. From the furious activity to the soccer balls, baseball bats, dinosaurs, Legos and shark toys that litter our house, not to mention the fact that brushing their hair is optional.
So when my husband and I found out we were expecting another baby, I assumed of course it would be another boy. My sister has three girls; now I would have three boys—you know, keep it even. Symmetrical, if you will. I even had a dream that the baby was a boy. (It was one of those weird pregnancy dreams where during my first ultrasound, my stomach sort of dissolved and the tech handed me a baby boy who looked about two; I think he even had a mustache.)
But when I told my husband about this dream (I had dreamed that both of our other children were boys, and lo and behold, I was right, so we both had perhaps an unfairly high opinion of my dream prophesying ability), I watched the disappointment shoot across his face, and I realized for the first time just how much he was hoping for a daughter.
And then both my boys announced that they wanted a baby sister. Only a baby sister. Enough boys around here, my older son informed me. Time for a change!
I felt terrible for all of them; I really did. How disappointed they would be when we finally had our ultrasound and found out what I was already so certain of: that this baby was another boy. I started to think of ways to cushion the blow, special gifts they could give the baby, ways to get them excited about sharing their room with yet another little male.
So when the ultrasound technician zeroed in on a blurry little section of the black-and-white screen and said, “See those two little dots?” my first thought was, “Ah, of course, testes!” and then she uttered the phrase, “labial interface,” and I almost rolled off the examining table. All of a sudden I was blinking back tears and I looked over at my husband and could see he was blinking hard too. A girl! What??
Maybe no one will believe me, but this was not a “go for the girl” pregnancy. We just wanted another child. The idea of having a daughter kind of terrifies me. How will I make sure her clothing and Halloween costumes are appropriate? How will I handle it when she hates me throughout her teenage years? And what in the world will I do with her hair??? And yet…now that we know (and believe me, we know—I’ve had umpteen ultrasounds and DNA confirmation; this is a rock-solid gender ID), it is so exciting to realize that we will get a chance to have a daughter, with all the new things that will come along with it. What an incredible blessing we have been given.
Yes, it still seems strange even referring to the baby as a “she.” I’m still intimidated by the girl sections of children’s clothing stores, having spent most of my previous shopping time purchasing cargo shorts in the one-third or one-quarter reserved for boys’ stuff. For months I put off buying any baby clothes at all, fearing it would be like a dam breaking. One pink item, and in the next instant my house would be floor to ceiling with bows and ruffles. But during a vacation at my parents’ house a couple of weeks ago, we visited an outlet mall and I broke down and bought some girl clothes for the first time, encountering some baffling questions such as, “Why are cats for girls and dogs for boys?” and “Why do girl (but not boy) clothes come in so many animal prints—zebra, cheetah, leopard, cow?”
And I’ve had more than one nightmare about hair bows.
One of my good friends asked me the other day if I was going to be a ribbons and bows mom, and my first reaction was, “Are you kidding? Absolutely not.” But I’ve learned that I’m not very good at predicting just how I will feel or what will happen with a new baby. It’s all an adventure.
For all I know, by her second week of life, I’ll have glued five bows to her precious bald head and she’ll be frilled out like an Easter basket. Maybe we both will. Or maybe not.
Either way, we are all excited for this new adventure.