One of my co-workers is pregnant. She already has two beautiful girls, and her third bundle of joy also will sport pink.
Every time I talk with her, I can’t help but ask questions. “How are you feeling?” “Have you decided on a name?” “How long are you going to be off work?” Most of our chats end up being all about pregnancy and baby and nothing about work.
All this talk of pregnancy and newborns has caused me to reflect on my experiences as a mother-to-be and as a mother to a boy.
On the day I found out I was having a boy, when the doctor looked at the ultrasound screen and said he saw boy parts, I must admit, I was disappointed. I know that sounds terrible, but at the time, I didn’t know what I was going to do with a boy. In fact, up until the very moment my son was born, I was not convinced I was going to enjoy parenting a boy.
For those of you who think I’m being completely selfish and shallow, rest assured, I fell head-over-heels in love with my baby boy – the most beautiful baby boy in the world, as I like to say – when he was born. It may sound cliché, but my mind instantly shifted into mother mode, and I was overwhelmed with emotion. After I made it through the challenges of learning to breastfeed properly and handling my raging hormones, I began to absolutely LOVE being a mother – even to a boy.
The question I always asked myself, “What am I going to do with a boy?” began to and still does answer itself.
Just do whatever he wants to do, within reason obviously. If he wants to roll a ball back and forth, I do it. If he wants to crash two cars into each other, I move my car toward his car. I generally follow his lead when it comes to playtime, still taking every opportunity to teach him colors, numbers and animal sounds.
A friend of mine who has six boys and one girl, with a baby on the way, once told me her house is filled with lots of “boy energy.” I immediately identified with this concept although I’m sure the boy energy in my house is much less considering I have only one boy (not counting my husband and the dog).
Another friend told me she wants to write a book someday about the stark differences between boys and girls who have been raised in the same home by the same parents and with the same values. Her son, when he was three, once performed his ABCs with the ending, “Now I know my ABCs; next time won’t you pick my nose?”
One example of the difference in wiring between boys and girls became apparent during a recent family gathering when my aunt served my 14-month-old cousin by placing heaping piles of turkey and green beans on her high chair tray. This little girl daintily picked up small pieces and ate them so nicely.
I imagined how different that scenario would have been had my Elliot been in that seat with all that food at his fingertips. He would have picked up a handful of the goods and stuffed all the morsels into his mouth, causing his cheeks to puff like a squirrel hoarding acorns. Or, he would have run his hands back and forth on the tray, spilling the pieces onto the floor, all the while saying, in his best lion voice, “ROAR!”
Ah, boy energy! I love it.
Family members, friends and co-workers often ask me when I will have another baby. “Not for a while” is my typical answer because I really don’t know. When they say something along the lines of “Maybe you’ll have a girl next time,” I can’t help but wonder to myself, “What would I do with a girl?”