One of the first people I told that we were having two girls laughed and said "Good luck!" In fairness, this individual is not so much of a "glass half full" sort of person and would probably have said the same thing if I had told her that we were having either of the other two possible combinations of sexes. At the time, my feelings were a little hurt. Again, in fairness, I was 17 weeks pregnant and people not yielding the right of way on the Atlanta interstates were hurting my feelings more deeply than one would expect just by knowing me. One of the beautiful things about infertility (and there aren't a ton, so you might want to write this down) is that, while you might have had a preference about the sex of your baby when you first started trying to get pregnant, by the time you actually do "live human baby" is your basic preference- anything beyond that is really the difference between 71 and 72 on the thermostat- at the end of the day, who really cares?
As I thought about it, I began to discover that the reason that I was sensitive to the statement (which for the record, is funny, not insensitive) is that I was sort of afraid of having two girls. Not because I didn't want girls or wanted boys necessarily. It was that, as a girl, I personally lived through 5th through 9th grade and completely relate to the quote in Anne Lamott's fantastic Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year where she writes "worse than just about anything else is the agonizing issue of how anyone can bring a child into this world knowing full well that he or she is eventually going to have to go through the seventh and eighth grades." Girls can be brutal to other girls and I spent a good chunk of time on the receiving end of that. (Let's go ahead and pretend that I am completely blameless and have NEVER wounded other girls with my words or actions, because that is not the point that I am meandering toward right now). That, and I wasn't entirely looking forward to people being 14, slamming their doors and yelling that they hate me. The guys I knew as teenagers had the good grace to be sullen all of time, rather than yellers and door slammers. So when I was younger and thought about having children, I always just assumed that I would be a better mother to boys. In retrospect, I'm not sure why I believed this- it's not my extraordinary prowess at sports that I thought would make me relateable, nor do I have any special interest in superheros or the outdoors. In truth, my only marketable skill is an interest in talking about feelings and helping people sort through complicated relationships, so it's sort of nuts that I felt like boys were who I was best suited to help grow into competent adults.
As I reflected on all of this, I started to feel less anxious about the idea of two girls. While admittedly middle school was a rough time that left me a little wary of members of my own sex, late high school and college more than made up for that- for Exbibits A through O, see my blogroll on the left. Without women, the world would be a barren wasteland of televised golf and hunting for sport. You can totally quote me on that.
I know that my mom friends who have only boys love them deeply and secretly feel sympathy for those of us who have only girls and would not trade their sons for any of number of daughters. I know, too, that just as I acknowledge the unique difficulties I am likely to face having only girls, those same moms will tell you that it is at least a little sad that there are not nearly as many cute clothes for boys and that while Star Wars sheets are cute in their own way, that sometimes they wish there were more attractive options for pillow cases for their preschool aged son than Darth Vader's helmet or some combination of blue and brown solids. That said, this week it has been fun to be a mom to girls, because this week we got to set up L and E's big girl room and when I took them in for the first time, L said "Mommy, it's just so beautiful." Perhaps a boy would have reacted the same way; it was a wonderful girly moment nonetheless. Please keep in mind that I have not yet put the art or the molding on the walls and I'll probably post more when I do:
View from the door.
View from the foot of E's bed.
L's first night in her "big girl bed."
E's first night in her "big girl bed."
Just before lights out. Because the lights have to be out before you can get up over and over and over again.