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Prayed for a Girl ... Got a Boy. Twice.

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"Mommy, these are my boobies."

Tracy McArdle: So proclaimed by 2-year-old son, proudly tweaking his nipples mid-bath one night. His eleven-month-old brother smiled approvingly from the shallow end. I always thought I wanted a daughter, but now that I am the mother of two boys, I wouldn't have it any other way.

When I first became pregnant, I envisioned myself and my daughter riding on the local horse trails together, even going to competitions. Horses have always been a part of my life, and I'd always hoped my kids would ride. The idea of attending football games or worse, hockey practice at 4 AM, didn't appeal. And there are just not many male horse enthusiasts, for whatever reasons. So I prayed for a girl. And I prayed she wouldn't want to be a cheerleader.

baby boy in bath

Gradually during my pregnancy, I became convinced I was carrying a boy -- and after Ryder was born, I had to make that uncomfortable decision about circumcision, my first taste of gender helplessness. I had to imagine the potential consequences of something I had no idea about -- well, not directly, anyway. Would my son resent my decision ten, twenty years from now?

When I became pregnant a second time, I thought, I'm throwing up -- it must be a girl. I am gargantuan -- it must be a girl. I really feel and look like shit -- according to everyone, it's gotta be a girl! The ultrasound proved me wrong, and I'm ashamed now to admit the disappointment I felt. "Couldn't that be an ... arm?" I protested weakly when the technician pointed out the telltale appendage on the monitor.

"If that's a girl, you come back here and show me!" she laughed.

But then Henry was born and he was so different from my first son -- fussy, spirited, curious, and engaging, particular, physical, and goofy. And watching them together when Henry came home and his big brother adapted to his presence, calling him "Baby Henry" and pointing to my breasts, declaring, "Those are Baby Henry's" -- that's just something I still can't put into words.

I have older friends with daughters approaching the danger years -- ages 13-40. I was lucky that the local barn kept me out of a lot of backseats when I was growing up. I don't envy their present and future spats about curfews, clothes, jewelry, cell phones, money, boys -- you name it. I'm not saying mothers don't argue with their sons -- I just feel grateful not to have to have the conversation about looking like a cheap slut when my daughter thinks she looks good. I know because I tortured my own mother with feather earrings and feathered hair, tight pants, and low-cut tops.

I also admit it's kind of cool being the only chick in my house. I feel special. I know that with boys, I will probably go to the emergency room more. I will probably yell more. I will be heartbroken when some cheap-looking slut steals my son from me. Relax, I'm kidding.

But I guess the moral is, your child's birth is the moment when you let go of expectations, and learn to embrace what you've been given. Because it's almost always richer and more incredible than you could have possibly imagined.

next: "My Daughter Became My Son"
10 comments so far | Post a comment now
kris June 12, 2009, 8:08 AM

I have 2 boys with number 3 on the way due to medical issue I will not be trying for that girl. I feel your disappoint but hey god has a good plan for you and I. I just wish he’d tell me what it is. Three dare devil, couch jumping boy OMG MOMMIE HELP.

Rachel June 12, 2009, 8:31 AM

Great piece!

Kelly June 12, 2009, 10:33 AM

I am a mom of 3 boys (ages 2, 4 and 6).
They are so funny and sweet together (on most days anyway and inbetween the wrestling matches and sibling rivalry).
I have to agree with you, I wouldn’t have it any other way and at this point it’s hard for me to imagine having a daughter.

Jenny June 12, 2009, 12:44 PM

I have two boys - 3 and 1. We are thinking about a third child and I know it will be a boy - which is fine. I am the super train track builder in the house! My husband is convinced we will have a girl. I might have to help him through this!! I think he wants a Daddy’s Girl!

Jackie June 12, 2009, 4:23 PM

We had two boys and then 5 yrs trying for No. 3. It was a shock that the third is a girl. Somehow she is the best at sports. She really likes shoes though. The boys still could wear one pair all year. We did not have to decide about circumcision. It removes the main pleasure zones of the male. Once I heard that, there was no decision to make.

RachelAZ June 12, 2009, 7:36 PM

I have a son and also felt the “disappointment” when we found out the sex but I also wouldn’t have it any other way! I do hope for a girl in the future though :)

Anonymous June 13, 2009, 11:39 AM

Growing up, I always wanted girls. Getting pregnant, Daddy wanted his little girl, but we got a boy. I didn’t care either way and now I happily have my mommy’s boy! :D

Shannon June 14, 2009, 8:43 AM

When we were pregnant with our baby (boy) we didn’t know what we were having until our final ultrasound. The 1st 3 he always had his back/butt facing us. We only got a squished up looking 3d picture of his face that final one as well. I actually cried when we found out because I so desperately wanted a girl. Now that my lil baby boy is almost a year I couldn’t imagine life without him. I still want a girl next time around but will be happy with another boy. We’ve already got a boys name picked out, leading us to believe we’ll have another boy.

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