Monday, May 12, 2008

Boy Crazy? I prefer Girl Power

Back when I was a much younger woman and I was dating the guy who would become my first husband, his father loved to talk about his future grandchildren.

"Three boys! You have to have at least three kids and they all have to be boys. My son needs to carry on the family name. He's the last one. Three boys. Do you hear me? Three BOYS!"

I always hated that with a red hot fiery passion of 10,000 suns. As much as I cared for my ex-father in law, if looks could kill he would have been worm food a long time ago. I'm fairly surprised I didn't put him in the hospital since he said it so much and I have a pretty awesome death stare.

As luck would have it, the second time I married it was also to a man who was the last male in his family to carry on the paternal name. One huge difference - though he would have loved to have a son, and his father would love to have a grandson, I've never once felt any serious pressure to produce a male heir. Yet another reason why I'm still married to a man who has a physical aversion to light switches and cabinet doors. That and the fact that he'll do a mean soft shoe, naked, when I can't sleep. Works every time.

When Chicky was born there was much celebrating. A girl! How wonderful! A perfect little angel (Ha!) to fawn all over. Then we took our time deciding whether or not to have another and family members started to realize there was a good chance we wouldn't. Again, no pressure. Thinly veiled disappointment, but no pressure.

When we got pregnant this time, besides the behind the scenes dance of joy I'm sure my mother in law did once she realized our daughter would finally have a sibling, both our families convinced themselves this child would be a boy. A man child to carry on Mr. C's family name. A man child for my father to play catch with and teach how to write his name in the snow. Imagine their surprise when I told them about our ultrasound results.

I swear to God, Mohammed, and Snuggle the Fabric Softener bear, their faces fell. Even my dear, sainted Nana who knits and bakes cookies and never has a bad word to say about anyone looked disappointed. And when your Nana is disappointed, well, that hurts man.

Since then I've been asked by everyone, including the man at the full service gas station, what the sex of this baby is and I've been met with the same response once they realize we already have one girl. For instance, when the before mentioned gas attendant heard it was a girl, he said "So, next one will be boy. You keep trying, yes? You must have boy."

He's Middle Eastern. His English is not perfect but his intent was clear. I have girls. Surely I wanted a boy? Surely my husband would want to keep knocking me up until a male heir was produced?

Uh, no. Not really. I'm pretty happy with two girls, thankyouverymuch. Mr. C, he still badly wants a boy but knows that no amount of liquor or jewelry would make me have a third child after the hell I went through gestating the last two and he seems okay with that. I can deal with all those people of the world who believe a family is not complete until a child is produced who has his own lovie to play with as long as my husband is as secure with it as I am. Besides, with one man in the family and one male dog, there is certainly enough penis love around here.

And then my father, who admittedly is not a person I would ever assign the distinction of "Being sensitive to other people's feelings", but a man who had the good sense to always remind me that he was very happy to have two girls of his own and never desired to have a son, said to me,

"You're going to try again to have a boy, right?"

I'm fairly certain my eyes popped out of my skull right before the steam rose from my ears. Et tu, Father?

This world we live in is boy crazy. We are all male obsessed and if you, as a parent, don't want to jump on the boy bandwagon then obviously there's something wrong with you. I mean, I have the feeling my husband's colleagues and friends will look upon him with some pity because he never produced the coveted man child and that's really unfair. When are we going to get over this idea that a boy is necessary to produce the perfect family? Or, on the flip side of the coin, if a man and woman have two sons, do we have to pity the mother for never getting the daughter she so obviously wants?

You caught the sarcasm there, right?

Am I sensitive about this? Okay, maybe a little. I am a bit hormonal and cranky these days. But it seems horribly unfair for others to assume that just because my children don't have penises they are somehow second class, that we really did want a boy but the fates conspired to have us only produce female children. We're not living in China here, people. Girls can do everything that boys can do. They can even write their name in the snow with a little practice. And I don't know about baby #2, but Chicky is turning out to be quite the tomboy. A tomboy in pink, but still a baseball loving, soccer crazed, run around and get dirty tomboy.

So hear this, World - I am about to have another daughter and I couldn't be happier. Two frilly, pink sparkly tutu wearing, drama queens in the making... Who just might be the next President of the United States or the first female first basewoman on the Boston Red Sox. And I will never once wish one of them was a boy.

Even when they start dating.


Anonymous said...

I hear you, but as a woman with a son, I can tell you that people go the other way too. They are sure that I must want the next one to be a girl, or that we'll try for a third if it's not. Mom-friends are the worst about it, and clearly feel sorry for the mom with 3 boys.

Seems that people generally feel you MUST really want one of each.

Tania said...

I second this post! Regardless if my current pregnancy is with a boy or a girl, I resent that people assume that I must want a boy since my first child was a girl.

kittenpie said...

I WISH I was having a second girl, quite frankly. Everyone keeps telling me how wonderful to have a boy, but... well, you know. I wrote about it already. At length.

My FIL will be thrilled to have a boy to carry on the line, too, I know, even though his family name is so damn common it wasn't in any danger. Never mind that Misterpie was with me in wanting another girl.

People are just weird. And rude.

TheMama said...

When we announced we were having a boy, I got a lot of "Oh, TheHubby must be so happy," and, "Your Dad must be thrilled." Yeah, um, no. TheHubby would actually love to have a little girl who would wrap him around her little finger. And my Dad, who raised 3 girls and can buy both the right pads and all four correct sizes of nylons, could not have cared less.

I'm having the opposite problem from you now. We have one boy, 13 months old, and people assume we would want a girl next time. Though we will love whatever we get, I had sisters, so boys are fun and new for me.

It's a little too patriarchal for my tastes when someone asks the thinly veiled question of, "What are you hoping for?"

I've decided that when we try for #2, my response will be, "A baby. And if this one turns out to be a goldfish, man am I gonna be pissed!"

Ruth Dynamite said...

Amen, sister! Well said - all of it. I have no doubt that daughters of yours will rock this world in the very best of ways.

Bon said...

actually, it's exactly the same on the other side of the fence...and if you check out the "disappointed in gender" posts on babycentre and places like that, they tend to be more frequently by women having boys, even a first boy. all women grow up in families with at least one girl. facing the idea of a family of all boys is much harder for many.

older folks and people from more patriarchal cultures may still assume a boy is the desired gender, but for a large proportion of women our age, the pull is for girls, or at least one girl. the idea of never having one often destroys dreams held since the first childhood vision of having kids.

and people you meet in grocery stores say the exact same thing..."you're keeping going til you get your girl, right?"

Greens and Pinks said...

Haha. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard "oh...well...hopefully the next one will be a boy!" I'd be a rich woman right now.

motherbumper said...

In all honesty - iffffff (and that's a big if) we had another, the Mr has said please let it be another girl. Seriously - he did. Now his parents may not agree, but mine do. And I'm with kittenpie - some people are just plain rude (and freakin' insensitive). Hooray for girls!

Challenge 20/20 teams said...

Dearest Darling Chicky,

You rule.

SciFi Dad said...

We (hope to, provided the fetus is co-operative) find out the gender of our second child on Wednesday (that would be, uh, in less than 48 hours).

I too am the last male to carry my surname, at least the misspelled version of it that Canadian immigration forced upon my father some 49 years ago.

And while I would be lying if I said I hadn't thought about the gender, I can honestly say that either way, I'm OK with the outcome. A boy means the passive-aggressive pressure my father emanates would subside, while a girl means my daughter has a sister and I have yet another princess to dote upon.

When people ask us whether we plan to find out what we're having, I always say, "We already know," and then when they inevitably ask what it is, I reply, "We have it on good authority that it is likely human." And then I walk away.

Heather said...

I confess that I was a little worried when my son was born since I had no idea how to take care of a boy. He is definitely different than my daughter.

My father-in-law already has 2 grandsons, but he was still bummed when we said that this one is supposedly a girl. Whatever.

I'm keeping in mind too that sometimes the ultrasounds are I always qualify the response to "what are you having?" with "they say it's a girl, but you never know for sure until they emerge!"

You could always tell your father-in-law that you were planning on using your maiden name if it was a boy anyway...

Anonymous said...

I have two girls and wouldn't change a thing. Well, except for the whole hormonal, PMS thing. Thing is, when I had girls, I thought of the pink foofoo, and bows, and lace..and delicate flowers. NOT. But I'm still cool with it :)

Julie Marsh said...

This is a hot button for me too. And anyone who says anything remotely antagonistic to a pregnant woman is just begging to be clocked upside the head.

NotAMeanGirl said...

I have a boy. I PRAYED for a boy. Yeah the whole "carrying on the family name" thing is patriarchial but... I was the oldest of two... I always LONGED for a big brother to protect me and beat up the boys who dumped me... I wanted a boy first. Then... I found out I couldn't have any more kids. I'm glad my one was a boy... but man... do I LONG to buy pink.

Crunchy Carpets said...

Isn't it weird...we hear about people who HAVE TO HAVE girls because they CAN'T IMAGINE looking after a boy and just want basically a doll.
Then you have the boy brigade who need a boy because of the more er 'logical' need to carry on the name...or the MEN who CAN'T IMAGINE looking after a girl.

I have one of each so everyone can look at me and say 'what do YOU hit the jackpot' - but hardly crossed our mind to worry about it...and here they won't do the gender thing.

I laughed when Adam was born because I have been surrounded by boys my entire life...

Caity blew me away....and yes...I am happy..but would never feel a failure for not meeting the gender expectations.

Unknown said...

I have three boys and still get this all the time. People sometimes just need something to say. It's like a bad meme that never dies.

Anonymous said...

goes the opposite way, too - hardly a week goes by that someone doesn't say to me: "Wow! 2 boys? You're going to try for a girl, RIGHT?"

Uh, no.

At least not right now. And if we did do the baby thing again, I have to say I would be pretty damn excited for it to be another boy. Girls are scary!! LOL.

Everydaytreats said...

Piping in to say that it goes the other way - EVERYBODY thinks we're going to try for a girl. I'm over it. We may have another child, but we would love to have all three of them be boys. Why not?

Heather said...

I secretly want two girls. Of course, the second girl will have to be dropped in my lap because I am not a fan of pregnancy. I'm a smidge jealous of you (not more than a smidge because, again, I wouldn't want to be pregnant again!)!

Her Bad Mother said...

My best friend is currently pregnant, same timeline as you and I. She already has three boys. After the first two, she was asked if she hoped the third would be a girl. With this one, people assume that they went for four in the desperate hope of having a girl. They don't know the sex, don't want to, until the child emerges. Because they really don't care. And NOBODY gets that.

For me the mystery is, why do people foist their ideas and preferences on us? GO HAVE UR OWN BABEE.

OhTheJoys said...

Amen, my sister!

Anonymous said...

I think there was a big sigh of relief from my in-laws when we found out we were having a boy, but my mom was hoping for a "girly" girl. Our daughter is quite the tomboy and isn't into any of the girly things Nana would love her to be interested in doing. I'm quite happy with the fact that I probably won't have to worry about Barbies or the color pink, but I did want another girl. Fortunately, this is it for me, after this pregnancy, because I'm simply getting too old for all this.

Lara said...

my mom always wanted two girls, but the kicker for everyone was that my dad also always wanted two girls. not two boys, not even two children - he actively wanted two little girls. he wanted his princesses that he could spoil, and he got us. never bothered him that we wouldn't be carrying on his name.

of course, these days, i know lots of women who pass on their names to their children, in interesting hyphenated versions. so hey, the name may continue anyway.

Jess said...

Here they say that we've got the 'million dollar family' - one of each.

It always struck me as bizarre.

(And I'm a hyphenated. And both my kids want to be hyphenated too. Of course, they're six and three, and they'll change their minds, but it tickles me...)

Anonymous said...

Excellent post!!

Maybe it's just my family, but it was the opposite for me and my husband: everyone wanted us to have a girl. (Not sure why. There are plenty of girls in our family already.) But since we had a boy first, everyone thinks we automatically want a girl next time. I'm sure if we have another boy, they'll ask us if we'll try for a third to have a girl... and the answer is no. Having kids is not some kind of "no Whammies, no Whammies, no more (girls/boys)... stop!" game. All most people want is simply a FAMILY, and family is not gender-specific.

Childsplayx2 said...

You silly people who choose to have your babies one at a time!

It's a lot easier when you just get it over with right away.. boy... (wait 1 minute...) girl... done.

Kate said...

HOORAH! I am bookmarking this page (as a mama of one girl and another due in July). HOORAH again! Thank you!
(I love your blog--and this post positively forced me to comment.)

Girlplustwo said...

Amen my fierce and lovely sister. Amen to the girlpower.

Amy Urquhart said...

My good friend just had her second baby, and because her husband is so insane OMGWEHAVETOHAVEABOY she refused to find out the sex before-hand. They did have a boy, in the end, but I think it's so sad that she feels relief that now he'll stop with the boy crazy baby stuff.

I think having sisters is wicked-awesome.

Anonymous said...

It's the same thing with boys, believe it or not. I get a lot of, "Hey, are you going to try for a girl soon?? Ummm, no, I'm going to try for a baby (though I'd be happy to have a girl!). I also have two friends who both have two sons and they get that all the time. Like they somehow have to make a last-ditch effort (neither want more kids) to get the opposite sex.

Whirlwind said...

I have three girls and I always hear "so when are you trying for a boy"? Three is enough. Although I do have to admit, we were going to try and work for a boy, but got a big surprise when we found out we were already pregnant. Husband is also the last male on his side of the family, but he's cool with not having a son. In fact he wanted all girls.

Anonymous said...

As the mother of twin boys, I have to say, I was sooooo pissed off when people would say...well, you could have had one of each and then been done with it. I have two beautiful boys and am trying to get pregnant again. I tell you what, if I have another boy, I don't care. As long as the baby is healthy, I don't care what sex it is. We found out while I was pregnant that it was two boys kind of by accident. They were definately not bashful and I hope this time it can be kept a secret until the baby(babies?) arrive. And yes, if I have multiples again, that's fine with me too!!
You stand up for what you believe in girl because I will tell you now that you will have the babies God intends for you to have and not what everyone else thinks you need to be having. Bless you, your hubby, and your two girls!!

karengreeners said...

i am soooo glad that i have two girls, and quite frankly, we are VERY happy to stop here. chris' grandmother has been knitting nothing but blue sweaters, and alas, was just blessed with her fourth great-granddaughter. it's just old school thinking, you know?

It's all about what you know, but still, I think two girls are a lucky combo.

Rusti said...

My dad was quite happy to stop trying after two girls (might have had something to do with his uncle having LOTS of girls before giving up, or the fact that he himself has three sisters, no brothers - I dunno) but he's always told us he was perfectly happy with just the two of us and no boys... (does he HAVE to say that?) My uncle was also perfectly fine stopping after two girls... he said two was the limit :) Of course he was the youngest of 5... and the only boy... ;) Anyway - while I think I would enjoy having one of each - I'd really just love to have healthy, happy babies... whenever fate smiles down upon me...

tell all "those people" to kiss your bum!

Sarahviz said...

You'd be amazed at the number of "So are you gonna keep trying for a girl?" comments I've received.

Anonymous said...

Some people can be so rude - and without even realizing it!

Here's the secret joy I feel over having a daughter instead of a son... there is this thing called mitochondrial DNA. It is in all of your cells and that DNA strand is passed on from the mother. This mtDNA is an exact copy of the one in your mother's cells, which is an exact copy of the one in your grandmother's cells, and so on.

Men can pass on the family name, but we women get to pass on our genetic heritage.

justmylife said...

Just tell them boys are over rated. I have two of them, I know. heh! Girl power!

ScientistMother said...

I haven't read all the comments, but will say two things. As a south asian males are preferred, and everyone was over the moon that the monkey was a boy. Me - I disparately want a girl. If my second child I will be bitterly disappointed. Maybe there is something to be said for having one of each. said...

Anyone who thinks that feminists have won all their battles is just so sadly mistaken. It's these subtle things. Yes, yes, and yes.

When our third was a boy - well, he still is a boy, but you know what we mean - people seemed to be sincerely *relieved*. Me? I could take a whole rugby team full of girls. That said, this little boy is a doll.

But frankly, and finally, they are all just children, people, human beings.

I wrote this in my own blog, before I knew we were having a boy:

I have two daughters. I really like my two daughters. It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that I am incredibly fond of my two daughters. If I had ten more like them, I’d need to buy Prozac - and tampons - in the handy-dandy economy barrel, but I’d be happy to have ten more daughters. Girls are fantastic. None of that annoying peeing on toilet seats or knocking-up teenage cheerleaders that so many moms of boys have to put up with. However, if I am blessed with a son, I will consider myself, well…blessed. I won’t be thinking, “Finally! Someone who won’t throw like a girl or take the last tampon!” I will think “Oh how blessed I am! A baby! Welcome to the world, little Jennifer!” Because my husband and I stink at coming up with boy names.

Tongue in cheek and yes, I know that not all boys knock up cheerleaders. But, you get the meaning.

foop said...

Back when my child was still the size of a roasting chicken, I remember sitting next to this woman and her litter *cough* I mean CHILDREN in a doctor's waiting room.

The most tactful way I can say this is that it stretched the bounds of credibility to think that they could all fit in the dilapidated trailer that they must surely call home.

They were all girls, including the newborn, and guess what? That mama was gol dern gonna keep tryin' until she had a boy.


foop said...

PS - SciFi Dad RULES.

The Estrogen Files said...

I had three girls before going on to have a boy (and now another boy) and every time someone asked if we were "trying for a boy" I replied that No, Daddy was quite happy with his little harem.

You're right about the "pressure" for boys in our society. It's a suck-fest.

cooler*doula said...

I have to agree with your many mothers of sons commentors who say that we get the same thing. Really.

After a miscarriage and then being told at 13 weeks that the child had a 50% chance of having Trisomy 18 , (the babe has just the regular number of chromosomes as it happens), I really REALLY don't give a shit what genitalia baby #2 comes with.

But so many people immediately assume I must be disappointed to be having another boy...

Jenni said...

My FIL said to me this weekend: "So, I hear you're going to have me another grandson. Or, or or a granddaughter. I mean it doesn't matter as long as it's healthy, right?"

Yep, that's me, a baby boy making machine. Give me a f-ing break, will ya?

Anonymous said...

I have 2 boys, and get the same thing. DOn't you want a girl? Going to try again for a girl?

Etc. You get the idea. It's not exclusive to parents of girls!

moo said...

I always wanted two girls.

My first was a boy. A wondeful, special, fierce, independent, stubborn BOY.

So naturally, everyone wants me to have a girl (Get pregnant! Have a girl! Like it's a CHOICE on the DOLLAR MENU.)

You get pressure no matter what. People think that you need to have at least one of each to be complete as a family. People ... ARE DUMB.

Anonymous said...

I love this post.

My fiance's family is Mediterranean and I have been told on more than one occasion that my father in law would love for me to have 4 sons. HA!

My fiance is a bit more progressive in his views. He remarked that he would rather tattoo my initials on his ring finger than get a "regular old ring", and he pointed to his finger and said, "See? E-A-M-H, right there". He had included my own name along with his in his imagined scenario. I will likely keep my name, since we will be married after my residency, and since my colleagues and patients know me as Dr. M, I can't bear to change it to Dr. H and risk losing referrals.

Girls can carry on a family name too, if that is *all* that they're concerned with. Somehow I think it probably goes deeper.

BOSSY said...

Those negative people obviously never read Little Women: daughters all lined up in a row are clearly the sweetest offspring ever.

petite gourmand said...

I think you are so lucky to be having (have) two girls.
If I could guarantee a sister for lulu I might not be so hesitant to do it all over again.
twice blessed in my opinion.

the mama bird diaries said...

I ADORE my 2 girls. oh, and i agree with everything you said.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I always got offended when people would give me that "knowing wink" when I said I was pregnant with a boy the third time around---I often heard, "ah, you finally got your boy". I'd correct them and say, "I was done at 3, no matter what and we would've been thrilled to have a girl as well." I wish I had a better comeback than that, though b/c it bugged me.

Debbie said...

I'm just SO GODDAMN HAPPY that you're almost done being preggers, that you get to drink wine again, soonish, and that you won't be riding the accursed hormonal trainwreck of preggersland,

and that you get a beautiful, wonderful, healthy baby girl outta the deal, too?

completely awesome.

fuck all them otha bitches, yo. well, except for your family. and your husband. and everyone else you love who has implied that you need to have a boy child. just don't pack that awesome death-stare away anytime soon, is all I'm sayin'.

xooxox and I AM SO FRIGGIN EXCITED about your new baby. *beams*

Anonymous said...

I had a boy. And then a girl.
"You are so lucky. Your family is complete" they said.
Um.. no.
I had another boy.
"But you already have a boy and a girl" they said (so what did they expect next, a martian?).

I see a generational gap. In this generation, people seem mostly happy with what they get. In my parents generation though, I know plenty of families where they kept going until they got the prince or princess they wanted, or had to give up.

Christina said...

Ah, but sisters are a special bond. People always seem to forget that.

I love having two girls, and I was relieved to be able to reuse so much. People ask if we're going to try for a third, and I say if we do, I hope we have another girl. Because girls are awesome.

PinksandBluesGirls said...

As a mother of 3 boys... and (huge gasp) almost 4... and having the same conversation but flip the conversation to girl talk... I can respect this post immensely. I am so sick people asking me about the "girl" question. And let's face it... until we get to :choose the gender of our babies... the rest of the world (and family) is going to have to "deal" with God intended. That being said... I wouldn't mind some pink added to the 4 boys... you know, on baby #5! :)
Hope she's coming soon for you... I know you've had it!! :) LOL

SJINCO said...

I have two boys and have felt the same pressure / disappointment from family, friends, etc. over the fact that my husband and I are not going to expand the family just to try for a girl.

I love my boys. My boys love being brothers. And I'm okay with that.

Best wishes to you! I hope she arrives soon!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

(ignoring psycho manifesto)

I am pregnant with our fourth daughter (no boys), and my husband is perfectly happy. He enjoys being the big gruff daddy with all the little girls. It startles people, and he loves to startle people. Every now and then someone asks if he is disappointed not to have a sin, but he really isn't. I tell him it's because there are so few men who are good daddies to girls: giving him four is just good economy on the part of the universe.