I am five months pregnant, and in a few days, I will have an ultrasound in Lima that will reveal the sex of the baby. I’m writing this post in advance, but won’t publish it until we know, boy or girl, so that we can share the news with you too. (No scrolling down to the bottom!!!)
I can honestly say that, either way—boy or girl—Tree and I will be ecstatic…. but for very different reasons. Although, we can’t speak from personal experience yet, from what we’ve witnessed through observing friends and family, raising little boys and little girls appears to be two very different experiences.
Why I think a GIRL would be GREAT….
….for me: I imagine a little mini-me, wearing a black beret, reading Camus by the age of nine. If I still smoked cigarettes, she would steal the butts and use the remaining tobacco to roll her own, explaining to her très chers amis that, “This is how they do it in Paris.” She would be clean, calm, and fanatic about academics, but would come home with a wild mane and just enough dirt under her fingernails to belie my little angel’s innocence.
…for Tree: She would be daddy’s little girl, the apple of his eye. I see the way he is with his niece, Nica, how they speak their secret language and play pranks on the rest of us, and I know how much a little girl would adore him. Already, he is a very loving son to his mother, brother to his sister, and husband to me…this would complete his roles to women and deepen his understanding of and affection for us. Also, I think it would be great for him to share his athletic drive with a daughter, to teach and encourage a girl to test her physical prowess and find strength in her body in ways that aren’t just sexual, as so often happens to young girls today.
Why I think a BOY would be GREAT
…for me: I imagine a little mini-Tree, and what is not to love about that? It would be like having a human Mongo running through our lives: lots of injuries, some pee on the walls, but always entertaining. Also, I would love to meet a man as a baby, a child, to look into his eyes and know him before the walls of manhood are built, when he still shows his emotional complexity and sensitivity without a touch of shame.
…for Tree: He’d get to have a son, a green-eyed daredevil to teach how to huck waterfalls and drop in on big waves. And what man doesn’t dream of reliving his youth with a tiny version of himself, to get to share all of the joys of boyhood all over again?
That being said, I acknowledge that having any expectations at all, especially ones formulated by blatant gender bias, is silly at best and wickedly unfair at worst.
So why do we do it? Why do we project ourselves onto the outside world, anthropomorphizing everything from our pets to our toasters? Awww, are you mad that I bought a new blender? Do you miss your old friend?
Because, for one, we’re a highly narcissistic species, but aside from that, we have a deep desire to connect to others, and the first way we try to establish that connection is by looking for what we know—which is foremost ourselves—inside the object of our attention.
So, it’s only natural that while imagining who our child will be and how we will love him or her, we picture ourselves in miniature. It’s simply a starting point to explore our feelings, but there is no guarantee that if we have a girl, she will be like me, or if we have a boy, he will be like Tree. In fact, our child may not be anything like either one of us, and in many ways, it’s dangerous to assume that he or she will. She may come out with a wrench in one hand and a Makita in the other (we really could use a family mechanic), or he might be a math whiz who dreams of being the next chairman of the Fed.
One thing is for sure, there will be many paths to his or her heart, and our aim as parents is to love our child unconditionally for the person he or she is, and not for whom we want him or her to be.
4 days later….
So are you ready to find out? Okay…..
We are THRILLED!!! She is healthy, strong, and absolutely gorgeous. As far as I can tell, she’s not wearing a beret or hanging ten, yet, but it’s of no matter because we’re going to love her even if she turns out to be a republican (there, I said it).
Sadly, I wish I could say the same for the poor boy who tries to date her. Tree has put together a little application that he plans to hand out in the surf lineup whenever “one of those little grommets paddles up to my daughter.” I guess a father’s acceptance only goes so far…
But, with our excitement comes a tinge of loss. Acutely aware of the ecological devastation our planet faces due to overpopulation, Tree and I plan to have only one child, so we won’t ever know the joy of having a son…unless, of course, we adopt. You never know! For now though, we are over the moon with joy for our precious baby girl.