Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thoughts on having a boy

I grew up in a girl-oriented family. I am one of two girls; my mom is one of two girls; our close family friends (who lived down the street and with whom we vacationed regularly) have two girls. There was a time in college when I felt like I was the one in the family who did things differently--for example, going to a women's college where I was quite unlikely to meet my future husband, or studying abroad in Senegal--and I thought to myself that I would probably end up being the odd one out who had a son someday.

But since then I had pretty much assumed that I would have a girl. I leaned toward wanting a girl, though not heavily. I thought that Piglet was a girl. Almost everyone in the world seemed to agree with me; other than a few blog readers, everyone I encountered guessed that it was a girl.

When we went into the ultrasound we told the tech that we did want to know the baby's sex, if she was able to tell. A few minutes into the ultrasound the tech said to us, "You said you did want to know the sex, right?" I knew in that moment that she had seen it, that the Piglet had cooperated with nice uncrossed legs. We both said yes, we did want to know, and the tech said, "It's a little boy."

My first reaction was shock. I hadn't realized how convinced I was that the baby was a girl until I found out otherwise. I said, "Oh!" and Torsten reached over and squeezed my hand. She showed us the clear evidence that it was a boy, pointing out the hipbones from below, the legs extending out in a V, and the obvious outline between them. And I lay there trying to wrap my head around the idea that the little baby inside me was a boy.

The funny thing is that I wasn't disappointed. I had been afraid that I would be, if it were a boy. And I wouldn't have been disappointed if it had been a girl either. But I just could not grasp the idea that it was a boy. It really just would not connect in my head that this baby that we'll be having in a few months would be a boy baby. I really hadn't known how much I'd been assuming it was a girl. I watched as the tech moved on with the ultrasound and I worked on reconfiguring my concept of the person this baby is and will be.

And after a minute, as we looked at his spine and his heart and his bones and his bladder, it clicked. Suddenly it made perfect sense that this was our baby, this boy with his lovely four-chambered heart and the nice line dividing the hemispheres in his brain and his giant-looking belly (though actually the belly, giant though it looks to us, is apparently measuring slightly behind the rest of him--so I guess giant bellies are normal at this stage).

As soon as I grasped that our baby was a boy, that it was not the Piglette I'd been assuming but rather a Piglito, I was thrilled. I surprised myself with how delighted I was. My mind just flooded with great things about boys, and how wonderful it will be to have this boy in particular. A little bilingual boy who will wear adorable striped shirts and overalls and jeans and little sweaters (like this one OMG I NEED THAT except it would really be better for a toddler than a baby and also it's incredibly expensive but still LOOK HOW CUTE). A boy who will teach us to change diapers quickly so we don't get hit in the face with a stream of pee. A boy who will grow up to become a ridiculous, amazing, hilarious teenager.

A sweet little boy who will hopefully have a lovely straightforward relationship with his mom (and dad). A boy who will not get buried under a mountain of pink unless he chooses it himself (but who will still wear as much purple as I can find--so far this, this, and this). A boy who will be gross and probably have to be taught why it's not OK to pee in the front yard (but who maybe, if he's anything like his father, will skip the stage of bringing bugs and other icky living creatures into the house). A boy who will love his dog and will learn very early not to pull her tail. A boy who might someday grow up and marry a woman, making me some other woman's mother-in-law.

And is it bad that I feel kind of relieved that we will avoid some girl-heavy landmines with this kid, like wanting to wear revealing clothes very young, and the drama of mean-girl cliques, and the worry about sexual assault (though of course that can happen to a boy too), and down the line possible issues with glass ceilings? Because of course it would be lovely if issues like this didn't affect women more, but the fact is that they do and while I would love to change that I also selfishly appreciate that this child won't have to deal with some of those hurdles.

A BOY. Our beautiful little boy. I still can't even believe how happy I am about this.

Of course, we still don't have a CLUE what we're going to name him.


  1. I can't wait to hear what you name him! Being around little boys is like being in the middle of a very noisy hurricane (we spent the weekend camping with our friends and 5 little boys and 3 girls). The girls sat quietly coloring or drawing, and the boys spent every minute playing Star Wars while screaming at the top of their lungs.

    You'll love it!

  2. Boys are very fun. My son is BY FAR the most energetic of my kids, but also the sweetest and most care-free. You'll love having a son.

    I remember thinking/hoping Lisa would be a girl. I was just so convinced that having a girl was a longshot for us (Homer has 4 half-brothers, no sisters!) and I was so relieved and surprised when it was announced "it's a girl!"

  3. You just articulated everything I love about having sons. They're messy and loud and sometimes very stinky and rough-and-tumble, but also, so very, very sweet that my heart is sometimes in danger of melting. There's just something about boys. They're magic.

    Don't get me wrong, I know how important it is to raise girls well in this day and age, but there's just something so special about being given the honor to raise a boy so that he becomes a kind, respectful man. It's an enormous honor.

    Welcome to the boys' club! :)

  4. Oh, I am SO happy for you guys. I understand that sudden world-shift of finding out; I was convinced throughout my pregnancy that Madeline was a boy. She was to be called Collin. Except - the doctor held a little GIRL up over the drape! It's just as you said: Suddenly everything shifts, and the future becomes clear.

    Now I just can't wait to see this little BOY of yours and his sweaters and overalls... so excited.

  5. Boys are awesome. They are so full of energy. :-)


  6. Oh - little boys in stripes are my favorite! I can't help but grab every little striped shirt or bodysuit for MAD. And just like I tried to avoid an avalanche of pink for M I'm trying to avoid all things sports and trucks for MAD. That is until he has an opinion.

    I was convinced that M would be a boy so when she was born and my midwife said "it's a girl" I was shocked. And with MAD we found out and I was equally shocked at the ultrasound as I was sure he was a girl. I'm much better at guessing for other people, I guess.

    And you articulated every feeling I had about having a boy. I'm so excited to see him grow into a man and will do my damnedest to make sure he is a respectful and kind man.

    (and he's only peed on me once, but has hosed his father numerous times. I like to think that special mama-son connection keeps me safe.)

  7. I remember when we found out that Bud was a boy, I burst in to tears. Hub thought it was because I was disappointed, but I would have cried either way. I was glad to have the boy first; I always wanted a big brother. And he was so fun as a baby. So rolly polly and boyish and my heart just melted for him. (it still does)

    And I'll have to agree with everyone else--boys are L O U D

  8. I love this post. I guess seeing his gender kind of cemented the fact that BABY is a real little person.. and that's such an incredible thing! It's funny, I have loads of one-day-we-might-use-these girl names picked out, but only one boy name that I love. I can't wait to meet (you know, figuratively speaking, unless the fates bring us closer geographically!) him and see what name suits his personality!

  9. I remember the stunned feeling I had when I found out my firstborn was a boy, and I had a similar feeling finding out yours was a boy! And I remember soon after finding out about my boy, I was in Old Navy and for the first time saw the good in boy clothes!

  10. Know what I love most here? How you were open to having a boy, even when you were leaning towards a girl. Your baby will be such a beautiful addition to your family that it sort of breaks my heart to think you couldn't be happy or excited for it based purely on sex alone ... so glad to see you shatter my heartbreak to let my heart (and yours) shine! =)

  11. i just thought of you and your somewhat-surprise boy the other day when i was reading one of amalah's sites - do you read the smackdown? this post is all about things she wishes she knew about boys before having them ;-)

  12. When we found out my sister was having a boy my mom and I were like WHAT DO WE DO WITH A BOY? It'd been us girls for a very long time. And now I can't imagine my life without Finn and all his rowdy boy-ness. Boys are a special kind of special.

  13. I haven't read your blog is so long I had no idea you were even preggo!
    Congratulations to all of you! So exciting.
    I was also shocked to find my first child was a boy and then my second so by my third? I was shocked to find her a girl.
    enjoy these last few weeks and then enjoy the rest of your life getting to know your little man! Congrats again!

  14. Wow, reading this was a little bit of deja vu for me! My husband and I just had a baby boy in June and before we found out the sex we too were convinced it was a girl. All our family thought it was a girl also. I understand your shock during the ultrasound. I think it took till right before the end of the ultrasound for it to sink in. Then the excitement hit and i wondered why I ever wanted a girl in the first place! My little man is only 3 months old, but so much fun!

    P.S. I have been reading your blog for years, love it and decided its finnally time to leave a comment!

  15. Boys are so wonderful. I, too, felt like my first was going to be a girl and I was shocked when they told me otherwise. Not disappointed, but definitely surprised! Maybe because I'm a girl? Regardless, boys are wonderful, you're so lucky.

  16. I am so excited that you are having a boy. I absolutely adore little boy clothes! So, so cute to dress them up like little men.

  17. Boys really ARE wonderful! Congrats again!

  18. Boys are lovely! And until Spencer was born, I always thought boy clothes were boring but I'm really enjoying dressing Spencer. Go look at There's a big baby sale. They have the cutest sweater with a beagle on it.

  19. I love baby names. In an embarassing way. I grew up in an all girl family and my entire extended family is very girl oriented as well. My husband's family is entirely boy oriented and I never ever wanted a little boy until spending time with them and realizing how much fun boys can be too! I can't wait for the name you and Torsten choose.