This is the question that naturally follows after hearing that we plan on finding out the baby’s sex – which is, in itself, a polarizing choice. Some people are staunchly pro-surprise while others are pro-planning. We are philosophically neither of these; we just want to know because we are curious and impatient. I don’t really see a big planning advantage – how much gendered shit does your newborn need? We’re going unisex on the baby room anyways. Maybe there’s a practical advantage if you had older kids and were hell-bent on knowing exactly how many pink dresses and Barbies to keep vs. give away, but that is clearly not our situation. And I’m not really one for surprises so, whatever. I JUST WANNA KNOW DAMMIT.
Anyways, a lot of people are curious if I have a preference one way or another. I’m curious if I do too. I want to say that I’m ambivalent about it – and that is the right word – but not the way most people typically understand its meaning. We tend to think ambivalence is equivalent to not really caring one way or the other. BUT (boring language lesson time!) ambivalence actually suggests having strong – often conflicting – feelings about two options. And this is exactly what I have.
When I think of girls, I think of the sweetness, the fun dress-up opportunities, the chance to have a peer-like relationship with them in their adulthood, Rory & Lorelai Gilmore (I warned you, Kate) and the general lack of boy grossness. But I also think of the body image issues, the lifelong personal safety concerns that boys don’t have to worry so much about, the perilous mean-girl frenemy dynamics, the ages 13 to 18, and the old “having to worry about every dick in town vs. only one dick” dealio.
When I think of boys, I think of the easygoing, rough-and-tumble nature of boys and their friendships/pursuits, probably never hearing my child say they hate my fucking guts, and the general lack of girl drama. Boys just seem easier in a lot of ways, but I also think there is a lot of important work to be done in the way of teaching boys about respect and behaviour. Are there enough intelligent, socially conscious people out there raising rad little guys who respect women as equals and understand things like consent? I think we could do an okay job of that, and that really appeals to me.
Planning on only one child adds a “this is it” factor to the mix. Andrew grew up with two older brothers and I think it would be really nice for his poor testosterone-trampled mom to finally have a little girl to dote on. For some reason, baseless as it may be, I also feel like singleton girls might have an easier go of it than singleton boys. I guess perhaps I feel that boys need the teasing and roughhousing of a playmate more than girls do? Or that girls are more likely to enjoy solitary play without turning into trenchcoat-wearing weirdos? I don’t know. I can’t really argue this one with any sort of validity. Feel free to set me straight on how totally wrong I’m getting it.
I wonder if I have some kind of subconscious preference that will only reveal itself when we get the news and I am hit with a pang of relief or disappointment – however fleeting. We shall see. If I do, I’ll be honest about it here.
What I do know is that I can see the pros of both sides so clearly that I will be able to validate the shit out of whatever hand we get dealt. A valuable life skill if ever there was one.