My Three Daughters
I was wondering what to write about today… Easter? Weekend? Excitement that there is liquid not solid water in our lake? And then my friend Stacy sent me this article and I knew I had to say “Me Too” long and loud.
When I was pregnant with my third girl not a day went by when I was somewhere (outside my home) that someone didn’t ask me if we were going to try again for a boy. Why are boys prized more? If I had gotten a boy I would have been equally happy, seriously, equally happy. Yes, there is a vague thought about the ‘continuation of the name’ thing and ‘what if I’m missing some boy experience’ feeling but that is balanced by if I had a boy I would have been worried about equally valid things like “he won’t have a brother growing up” and “How will I handle all the differences and being fair and equal but not setting him up to be teased because he wears nail polish”
Now that I tote around 3 girls I still get people asking me. NO! a forth child, regardless of gender, is not going to happen! Do I look like a need a 4th child? Are YOU offering to babysit?
Here is my favorite reply;
Stranger; “are you going to try for a boy? or Are you disappointed you didn’t have a boy?
Me; “Nope, I like my girls and I’m fairly confidant that I’ll end up with 3 boys in about 18-20 years, boys that someone else had to feed ;)”
The author of the article does leave off the ‘family name’ thing but I think there is some freedom in naming your daughter anything you want and not worrying about it perfectly matching your last name. I know some girls with awesome maiden names combos (like Kristen Kelly or Kellyann O’Callahan) that I bet feel bad giving them up and I’m happy that having a ‘strong’ ‘confidant’ sounding name for all time was not one of the many things I had to worry over. **aside** I still vaguely worry about Niamh’s initials – she nearly had an F middle name but then she would have been NFL – glad my neurotic check and double check got that one.
One thing the author didn’t talk about was about how same gender siblings have built in friends, but, his point was that the list of what he can’t do because of only daughters is laughably short. While pregnant, I talked to every single person who would talk to me, and since they usually opened with the ‘didn’t you want….’ I had a great opening for my follow up. I asked if they had brothers or sisters. 9 times out of 10 they would say they had an opposite gender sibling and they always wished for a brother or sister growing up. That is, if they had siblings and 10 of 10 times if they were only children they wished they had someone! There was maybe 2 people I recall that said they were the only girl in a family of boys and loved it, but, they said they loved it because they were practically a boy themselves. I would say here that those parents might have been like “oh, well, a girl… girls can do what boys do, lets keep rolling like we have been”. And finally, those with same gender siblings usually said they were happy with it. Admittedly this is a non scientific study, done mostly at playgrounds or other places adults stand around while kids do the kid thing. However, my non scientific conclusion is that families with a 1 boy 1 girl family might have good symmetry but they do not seem to produce kids who grow up thinking that their one, opposite gender, sibling was their BFF. Go ahead and ask around – I would love more data!
Before this gets long, the big stink in the article about ‘girl toy and boy toy’ at McDonalds (in the comments mostly) is another thing that I’m glad I got girls not boys. Girls, can easily, take any boy thing and make it theirs without anyone batting an eye. Boys can’t. I remember being young and shopping and seeing the racks and racks of girl clothing and the one sad rack in the corner for boys. I would like to say that if I had a boy I would not put him in his sisters clothing. Technically speaking at this point I am sure I wouldn’t because after 3 kids the pickings are getting slim…. Anyway, clothing is something I am not sure I could go totally against society HOWEVER TOYS DON’T HAVE GENDER. That I feel strongly enough for all caps. Boys like dolls, shopping carts, play food too. Branding makes parents feel better. At some point boys and girls will naturally often start mimicking the gender roles they see around them (I could find the many studies that say this but I don’t feel like googling). Regardless, people still try and take away ‘girl’ toys from boys and WOW am I glad I don’t have to deal with that in my life. There are studies too that say women still earn less… still end up having the glass ceiling smack them in the face… still are judged on their clothing and weight and looks before their brains. Those are things I’m sorry to say I know to be true as of 2014 and I’ll help my girls when and where I can, and I’m glad they will have sisters to talk to about it….