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.
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.
|Tracy McArdle is a published author (Confessions of a Nervous Shiksa; Real Women Eat Beef), blogger, mom, wife, horsewoman and Communications professional in the Boston area. She is also a former Hollywood publicity executive who has worked very closely with numerous huge movie stars she never met. You can read more of her writing at www.tracymcardle.net.|