Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"I'm madly in love with you and it's not because of your brains or your personality." - Grandpa

I don’t plan to find out what gender this new baby is.
It’s not that I don’t want to know – I do. It would make some planning much easier – clothes and sleeping arrangements, among others.
And I will admit to some relief if it turns out to be another boy.
I know what to do with boys.
Most days.
But my theory all along, through three other pregnancies, has been, “SOMETHING has to get me through the pushing.”
And so I never found out the gender.

Because, let’s face it, the hardest part of labor is the time you spend pushing. It seems unfair that after your water breaking, hospital admittance, invasive exams, contractions, and in my case chills, fever, and vomiting, that you get nearly to the end and that’s when the hardest work is required.
And I needed a reward at the end and that reward was FINALLY finding out the sex of my baby. (No, sillies, the baby itself isn't enough!)
My husband doesn’t know this – he thinks it’s because I wasn’t in terribly good physical condition – but my third took as long as my first because I just couldn’t muster up enough energy to push really, really hard.
Confession: I am a childbirth slacker.

My first labor was fast – rushed along by Pitocin, I had nonstop contractions for about seven hours, pushed for about forty minutes, and there Primo was. Not easy-peasy but not bad for a first, especially once I accepted an epidural.

Seg was even easier, since I wasn’t induced. And I only pushed for fifteen minutes. Of course I had completed a sprint-distance triathlon while pregnant with Seg, so I really was in insanely good shape (for me).

Terzo – well, my water broke in the early morning. I dropped Seg at day care, drove to the hospital with Primo, checked with my doctor’s office, got myself admitted, and then called H to arrange for him to pick up Primo. I gave birth in the afternoon, and probably would have done so sooner but I was determined to wait for H to get back from dropping Primo at his mother’s house. I did push for forty minutes, but if I’d given it my all I probably could have cut that time by ten or fifteen minutes. But what’s the point? The baby came out anyway. And it was another boy which was not the huge shocker to me that it might have been to other people.

And just between you and me, my ‘nettie friends, I am betting this one is a boy too. It’s what I do best, gestating boys. I LIKE boys (Always have. Badum-bum.)

Boys are relatively simple folk. You feed them, clothe them, take them to the park. You can yell at them, and I have to admit I would have a much harder time swatting a little girl on the butt than I do my boys, when necessary. Boys don’t care if their hair is combed, or their pants match their shirts. They do care if they have a Pikachu Pokemon card, or if there are enough wiffle balls, and these are things I can remedy. They solve disputes with lots of noise, and, often, speed and, more often, physicality, and this is a process which I understand. In fact, I am fairly convinced that I was a boy in a former life.

I have one niece, and about eleventy million nephews (ok, only eight), and the one girl is a mystery to me, unfathomable and remote. Not that I don’t love her to bits, but I just don’t GET her. I don’t get why she loves cheerleading, complete with sexy, sequined little costumes and hair extensions and strutting, booty-shaking routines that make me very uneasy (I have NO IDEA how her father watches them without pulling her off the field and throwing her into a nice convent), and why she wears clothes that look like they were designed for Las Vegas strippers, and why her shorts have writing across the butt. (I don’t want ANYONE reading my daughter’s butt, lemme tell you.) I don’t understand why she wears lip gloss and eye shadow. I don’t understand why I have never seen her read a book, but she has attended several Backstreet Boys concerts and knows the words to every single N’Sync song. Did I mention she’s NINE?

In my defense, a dear friend has two little girls who I ‘get’ much better - but then E is fighting a hard, uphill battle against the formidable forces of contemporary fashion and culture. Her girls love horses and dogs, and they play sports, and E dresses them in cute but age-appropriate clothes (the sort from Hanna Anderson, although I swear E would have them in pinafores if she thought she could get away with it), and they read Harry Potter and LM Montgomery and Nancy Drew (and yes, Pony Pals), but I’ve never seen either of them with teenybopper magazines in their hands. I have never seen either of them shake their booty to a Britney Spears song (although I have seen them jump around to some Ralph’s World). They look and act the way I in my old fuddy-duddiness think six- and eight-year-old girls should look and act. (But then I am the throwback who refuses my six-year-old video games at home, and his own email account.)

H and I watched “Little Miss Sunshine” last night.
Terrific movie. Really enjoyed it, every minute of it.
Stellar cast – I think I am a tiny bit in love with Steve Carell.
I loved the teenaged son who has taken a vow of silence until he gets into the Air Force Academy, and Toni Collette was perfect as Greg Kinnear’s long-suffering and practical wife. Alan Arkin cracked us up, with his heroin-snorting, profanity-spewing Grandpa. But the best character was far and away that of Olive, the little girl who dreams of competing and winning the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. And I don’t want to ruin the movie, because I want you to go out and see it RIGHT NOW for yourself. But this quote is what stuck with me: when her brother and her father want Sheryl to pull Olive out of the pageant talent show, after watching little JonBenet Ramsay clones strut their stuff and fearing that dorky little pigeon-toed and bespectacled Olive will be laughed off the stage, Sheryl refuses. She says, "I know you want to protect her, I know, honey. But we've gotta let Olive be Olive." (Even if Olive does shock and surprise everyone with her (unpolished and innocent) dance routine, it is still weirdly more appropriate than the glitzy, polished dances the other contestants perform.)

I guess what I am saying is I’d rather be Sheryl than any of the other mothers.
I’d rather my daughter be true to herself, even if it means exposing herself to laughter and possible ridicule. I’d rather she be a little awkward but sincere, than polished and superficial.

I would rather navigate the minefield with her than give up without a fight.

But I guess what I really mean is, I think I’d rather just have another boy.

17 comments:

Gina said...

You know what makes me insane? The BRATZ franchise. I can't get my head around SEXY BABIES.

I am so grateful for my boy and all his boyness . . .

And I loved Little Miss Sunshine too--I cried at the end!

CHICKLETTE said...

Hi, first time commenter, lurker of a few months.
I totally agree about having sons. In fact every day when I see the latest Britany/Paris/Lindsay controversy, I thank God he gave me a son. I can not imagine trying to raise a daughter with all of the images that are thrown at them these days. Like Gina, I think the Bratz are just horrifying, disgusting, and degrading. They look like streetwalkers! ARRGH!

Badger said...

Okay, well I have one of each, as you know. And I think I'm going to have to respond to this in a blog post, because I have VOLUMES to say.

But you're having a boy, so don't sweat it.

blackbird said...

You are preaching to the choir...
I keep looking at teenage girl's clothing and saying THANK GOD WE HAVE BOYS.
Jeans and tee shirts.

ssheers said...

I have two girls, and we're doing OK. No bratz here.

Major Bedhead said...

I have three girls and no Bratz dolls anywhere, not even the twelve year-old. I don't consider myself a girly-girl but I understand girls the way you understand boys. I don't know what I would have done if Bug had been a boy. I have a son (who is 19. good lord.) and he's like an alien being. Always has been. I love him to bits, but I sure don't get him.

Lazy cow said...

Totally understand your feelings regarding girls. I wanted a boy first, because I was terrified of having a pink-sparkly girly girl. But I got the girl and dressed her in green and yellow and navy velvet outfits (no pink!) and read to her and feel madly in love with her. I'm teaching myself to sew so she doesn't end up wearing those sexy outfits, and when she dresses herself, often it's a mishmash of colours and styles. OK, she does ballet (but to my secret pride she's the most um, *individual* performer and barely listens to the teacher).Yes, I have to be vigilant about what she watches on TV, and what music she listens to, but I'm her mother and that's my job.
I'm finding my stubborn, clingy son hard work at the moment.

Caro said...

My boy is easiest so far but he's the youngest. We shall see what the future holds.

You have to have another boy or I'll lose an internet bet. Just kidding.

nutmeg said...

I concur, that Bratz stuff is the pits. And Mr J is quite vigilant about that sorta stuff and it helps keep it and its ilk out of the house. I'm convinced I wouldn't know what to do with a boy! A couple of my girlfriends have very physical boys and the period where they were lashing out at ther mums was very disturbing to me. I'm sure my girls' behaviours when they reach adolescence will be disturbing to them!

I also liked not knowing the sex. A surprise (well, I suppose it can only be one of two!) at the end is nice.

And I loved Little Miss Sunshine -one of the best movies I have seen in the last year. I recently saw it for sale on dvd and it said that it contained a number of "alternate endings". I would love to have a look at those.

Iamthebookworm said...

I loved Little Miss Sunshine! Steve Carrell was my favorite.

MsCellania said...

Little Miss Sunshine is my favorite movie so far this year. (But I haven't seen many.)
We got to choose the sex of our children. I said BOY! both times, so fast. This, and avoiding pesky pregnancy, labor and delivery, may be the best reward of adoption.
Another boy would be great. But I think if you have a daughter you will love it. But man; she will rock the boat!
We got a GameCube. Being the Controller of the playing of said GameCube has made me the most powerful force on the planet. I have never seen 2 little boys clean up rooms so fast in my life, or stop crying, fighting, etc, like a switch flipped. But I can see how future Couch Taters could be born of this technology.

shula said...

I had the girl, who wore pink, and wore makeup to school at 6 and bought her own plunge bra at 12. And is in such a hurry to grow up that my hair stands on end just thinking about it.

But does she love me more than anyone? And hang out with me? And plans never to leave my side? And tells me everything in the whole world ever? And is my best and most loyal and most devoted friend? And include me in almost everything she does?

I'm afraid so.

Daughters break your heart, they're so utterly magical and gorgeous.

Here's to having a boy. I probably should have had one myself. I'm sure I would have been better at it.

Stomper Girl said...

I feel exactly the same, both about needing the prize at the end of the labour and about the boy thing. We joke that my partner only has boy swimmers in there.

Liz said...

If you do have a girl, which you won't, of course, but if you do, you should name her Olive. Middle name Pimento.

Or Martini.

Sarah Louise said...

I like Liz's name idea.

I LOVED LMSunshine, saw it at least 2x in the theatre. I think I had a crush on the teenage son.

The best part was pushing the van, though.

no opinions on boys or girls, just as long as I can be Auntie SL!

bec said...

Pretty much what Shula said, except that I have a boy as well as my two girls so I already know I'm better at being his mum. Boys.Are.Easy. And I wish you every success in getting a fourth one!

That said, girls are divine and mine know the meaning of the word 'skank' because that's what I had to say to explain the problem with them even thinking of liking Bratz and Paris Hilton.

Liz's comment above has got me thinking. How about Focaccia for your future Olive's middle name? That works for me.

Blogger said...

I have just installed iStripper, and now I can watch the best virtual strippers getting naked on my taskbar.