Tuesday, January 8, 2013


The ultrasound says we're having a girl.

I'm not so excited. In fact, it's three weeks later and I'm still adjusting to this information.

At one point, I really wanted a daughter. But then I gave birth to two boys. And I adjusted my expectations. And I refocused. And I was really, really okay with having a third boy. Have you met mothers of three or more boys? They're an admirable bunch that I would be proud to be a part of.

Also, the longer I've been out of little girl culture, the more foreign it's become to me. And frankly, I've got some serious concerns about little girl culture these days. Princesses? What are those? I don't think we had princesses when I was a child. American Girls? Huh? Aren't most of us (in the US) American girls? WHY were all the little boys at the swimming pool under 7 years of age wearing swim trunks AND swim shirts this summer, while none of the similarly aged girls were wearing half as much swim clothing? I'm not even sure that I own a proper pair of heels anymore. Hmmm.... No, I don't. I wore clothes that were unisex as a child. Well, maybe not everything was unisex. But, do you remember that? Unisex clothing for kids?

I'm not sure I can get raising a girl right. I'm not sure I ever figured out how to be a very good version of 'girl' myself.

Maybe the ultrasound is wrong.

But it looked like a girl to me, too. In Germany, the standard of care during my pregnancy with Noah was an ultrasound at every check up. I got used to looking at those ultrasound images. Also, I'm an architect, I'm trained to think in section. What I'm saying is: I think I'm somewhat adept at reading ultrasound images.

It did look like a girl.

Another observation: there's been a totally different reaction when I tell people I'm pregnant with a girl than the last two times when I told people I was pregnant with a boy. There's a lot more enthusiasm. And a lot more talk about cuteness and beauty and clothes. Maybe that's because I already have two boys? Or maybe it's expected that I want a girl this time? It's especially interesting to me because I've seen (twice) how both my boys gravitate towards vehicles versus dolls. Over the last 5 years I've thrown up my hands innumerable times when trying to de-traditionalize their gendered play. I guess it's nature, nature, nature, I mutter to myself, because obviously I'm trying to nurture them in other ways. So then, to find myself in this position, of being treated differently simply when I tell people I'm having a girl.... It's kind of crazy, you know? Kind of makes one think about the subconscious sides of the nurture argument.


Swistle said...

I am excited for you! I have really enjoyed my four boys---and I really enjoy my one girl. All delightful in their own ways.

You can still do unisex clothes if you want to. And at our pool a lot of the little girls wear the t-shirt/shorts type of swimsuit. And although it's a toss-up what kind you'll get, my particular girl likes neither princesses nor dolls. And I don't have any heel shoes, either.

I think a lot of the enthusiasm you're experiencing is because you're having a girl after two boys. I think it would be similar if you were having a boy after two girls. People seem to love the "having the opposite" concept.

Ann Wyse said...

Thanks, Swistle. I'm sure I'll be a convert to the "having the opposite" concept some day. It might just take a while for me to get there....

Sara Struckman said...

I've thought a lot about nature vs. nurture too. Benny loves all things boy: trucks, Legos, mud. But he also likes things that are not just boy, like cooking and acting and Fancy Nancy books (I kid you not). Lila loves some things girl: dolls and play cooking. But she also likes dinosaurs, construction equipment, rocks, sticks and mud. Although I'd love to have more "control" over the gendered aspects of their upbringing, I feel like my responsibility is to introduce them to all sorts of things and not make them feel like they need to like or not like something because it's *made* for a boy or a girl.

Regardless, congrats to you and your family! Hope you're feeling well and energetic!

Lainey-Paney said...

I'm pregnant with a little girl too, after having a little boy.

I am thrilled!
...and terrified!

It's certainly going to be different.

I think people get excited because they always seem to assume that you must want a girl since you have boys. The next assumption is that you're done adding to your family since "you've got one of each."

Anyway...congrats & good luck!

Anonymous said...

My two girls were born in the US and I remember being annoyed by the color selection in clothes - there was hardly anything neutral. Either boy or girl - even for the youngest ones there was no way to avoid the distinction between genders. Then it continues with characters - either trucks or pink flowers on the shirts. Let me know if you want me to send neutral things from Germany!
Don't worry about the 'little girl culture', it is avoidable to some extent.
You'll be a wonderful mother to your daughter!

Katie said...

The thought of *raising* a girl in our current culture is quite terrifying. I can completely understand your jitters. But I have a feeling you'll be one amazing mama to this daughter of yours. She's very lucky to have you.

Pregnantly Plump said...

My cousin's daughter has fair skin (like most in our family) and she wears the swim shirt/short combo all summer. She's 8. They have a pool, and I've never seen her in a regular bathing suit. Also, she's probably my closest experience with little girls. My cousin is girly, but her daughter is not. She's not a princess girl, she likes purple, but more in the form of peace signs than crowns. She prefers drawing and games to dolls. So, for her it wasn't nurture, it was just her nature. She's got a younger brother, and they play together very well.

twisterfish said...

I'm excited for you, but I'd be excited if it was a boy as well! As another poster said, I think you'll be a great mom to a little girl!

There is no rule you need to do the princess and American Girl thing. I didn't do either with my daughter (though one year she got into princesses, then was out of that phase by the next year). She also wore all her older brother's solid color clothes until age 3, when the sizes didn't match up any longer.

Nina said...

Funny, I feel the same way except I'm relieved to be having a second girl. Boys terrify me! At the playground they are always way more rowdy and destructive and pushy. I shouldn't say always though because yours have always been amazingly well behaved and sweet. Which is why I know you're going to have an amazing little girl!

Simply Bike said...

I have a girl and I can't imagine that it's that different from having a boy. They still cry, laugh, play, and need your love. I buy her "clothes" and "toys" and not "girl clothes" and "girl toys." Frankly, I find it really bothersome how much our culture focuses on the gender as if that predetermines a child's personality, ability, and intellect. I'm sure you'll do a wonderful job of raising your daughter just like you have your sons and you'll probably find that it's not all that different after all. No heels required.