slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails

When I was first pregnant with Happy Fun Baby, I knew I was going to have a boy. I knew it. All my dreams were of a little boy, the stupid necklace trick said “boy” – how can anyone argue with such solid evidence?

Several TV hours of Gilmore Girls later, I found myself longing for a girl. I know girls. I get girls. Boys? A baffling collection of hair and muscles and testosterone. I started dreaming about baby girls, little girls, daughters. My list of potential girl’s names started to balloon. I loved the idea of having a girl: nothing against boys, you understand, but a girl made sense to me, having been a girl myself.

Naturally, every armchair psychologist in the house is raising their hand at this point and going “Oooh, me, me!” As a little girl, what had I wanted more than anything? A mother who was, you know, reliably present. Parents who liked each other. Stability. What could be more satisfying than writing over my crappy girlhood by Doing It Better Myself? Little known fact: you do win a prize if your kids still like you when they’re grown. Look it up!

Given all that, the ultrasound in which my child’s gender was unmistakably revealed (wow – that sure is a boy, all right! Either that or he’s got an extra limb!) was somewhat disappointing, and the thing I found most disappointing? The clothes. Boy’s clothes are somewhat unthrilling. My dreams of a tomboyish daughter in stripey knee socks and boots took their reluctant place in my Maybe Later file, and I started thinking about how on earth I was going to raise a son.

Happy Fun Baby answered that question for me the moment he was born. He looked straight at us with his huge, calm eyes and I knew, instantly, that he belonged to us. Not in a sense of ownership, but in the “Oh, of course” sense you get when you solve a problem that seems complicated but turns out to be deceptively simple. Of course this was my baby. Of course.

The best thing a parent can do is give a child the opportunity to be the best they can be. Maybe it’s easier when your child is already so obviously himself. He knows what he likes and what he does not. He’s fiercely independent and just as fiercely attached to us. To me – he thinks I’m just the greatest thing ever, which is weird and cool and satisfying and terrifying all at the same time. Which I think goes to the heart of the Gilmore Girls dilemma – can I live up to being the mother of a boy? Can I do this without screwing it up?

I’m not disappointed anymore that we don’t have a daughter. I can’t imagine anything more perfect than my dancing, raspberry-blowing, meat-eating, singing kid.

Happy first birthday, Monkey.

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6 thoughts on “slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails”

  1. Oh, wow – thank you, everyone! Happy Fun Baby thanks you too. So far he’s really grooving on being 1.

    Alexandra, that is such a good point! And something I can totally see myself doing, had the ultrasound given me a different surprise. Her Bad Mother, hee. It’s so funny how sure we can be of things like that, isn’t it? My parents were utterly convinced that I would be a boy, to the point that they hadn’t even discussed girls’ names. I kind of got named on the fly once I was born.

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  2. Happy, happy birthday!

    And just so you know, some of us who heard we were going to have girls thought “A girl? But how will I raise her to be strong and happy and independent?” The fears arise no matter what you have. And the joy is great too.

    Have a great day!

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  3. Aww…I’m all teary-eyed after reading your post. HFB is such a lucky monkey to be so loved! And he is, indeed, one fantastic kid.

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