Thursday, July 19, 2012

About a Boy

Before I go on, how about a quickie update on our little guy? He is eating whatever he can get his hands on, in fact he's become a bit of a garbage disposal in that all unwanted leftovers from our entire family get set aside for him. Don't want the rest of your sandwich? Those green beans? Mom's mashed cauliflower, two bites of taco meat and three bites of tomato and watermelon salad? Give 'em to Waylon, he'll eat it. He's also cruisin' for a bruisin' in the most literal sense. Waylon is in that phase where he has more strength than sense, so unfortunately split lips, blood loss and bruised foreheads have been the markers of his 10th and 11th months I'd say. The girls suffered similar injuries at this age, but I think Waylon has had more of them because I'm spread so thin. And when I say "split lips", what I really mean is: slipping while standing in his crib, accidentally biting himself, and then bleeding so much that Joe won't even let me show the pictures to you here. (Duh, of course I took pictures. I had to email them to my sister and ask what to do.) After getting a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th opinion from anyone willing to listen, I decided not to take him to the E.R., (against the advice of my sister, yes). However, it now appears he will have a scar, so I'm trying not to let myself get too worked up about that, even though truthfully it makes me incredibly sad each time I see that tiny blemish underneath his lip. I'm not sure why. I know it wasn't my fault, and it's not as if his modeling career just ended. Maybe it just throws into relief the fact that his days of babyhood are waning, and he's becoming more of an honest to goodness little boy.

Kiddie pool angel

In honor of Waylon now being 11 months old, I thought I'd take down the "Is it a Boy or a Girl?" poll in the sidebar and replace it with something equally important: a survey about what color my hair should be.

[For the record, Waylon, it was a 50/50 split vote. Even amongst your own parents. I went into the delivery room expecting a boy, but your dad was convinced you'd be girl #3 and was therefore floored by the "It's a Boy!" pronouncement of the midwife.]

Many moons ago, I recall writing a pregnancy related post explaining that our growing family was not at all about Joe or me "going for a boy." It truly wasn't, and if I pause and think about it, I can still completely envision a happy family scenario of us with three little girls and what that would've been like. Already having two wonderful little girls, it wasn't a difficult scenario to picture when I was pregnant. For me, the boy thing was trickier to imagine. Oddly, it still is. I adore having a little boy, but I did not grow up with a brother, so I feel pretty clueless. I can't even explain it, because it's not entirely rational, and is in fact quite sexist, something I am generally highly opposed to! For example, I'll admit to thinking to myself, "Oh God, I hope he doesn't grow up to be a total dick," or to be the mean-asshole-jock in high school, in a way that I never seem to spend time thinking the equivalent about the girls, even though it's just as likely that they'll one day turn into the "mean girls" we've all encountered from time to time. And why does my brain think about how he may treat women one day, but not about how the girls may treat men in their lives? (Please forgive the heterosexuality assumption. I recognize it is nothing more than an assumption.) Is it because I am a woman? Because I have comforted girlfriends through breakups? Feel free to weigh in. Waylon is a BABY, for cryin' out loud, so none of these thoughts are justified, but I can only hope that they shape my parenting in some positive way.

A funny thing happened when Waylon was born. Both Joe and I were blown away by people's over the top reactions to the news that we had had a son. I know everyone was just happy for us, but the voluminous exclamations of, "You got your BOY!!!" did seem to imply that this was somehow a superior result. My sister and I later discussed how funny it is that for families shooting for two children, many people blindly assume that having one boy and one girl is the "perfect" outcome. To a certain extent, I guess I get it; maybe the parents each want a chance to raise a child of their own gender?

The reactions to Waylon's birth announcement were also extremely heavy on the "better go buy some more cars!" [Trains! Balls! Insert boy-item here!] Which, you know, is probably in the end going to be true. I'm not here to pretend that boys and girls are alike or that boys do not typically love fart noises, fashion sticks into guns, and gravitate toward cars, trains, and balls. Still, though, it was hilarious. I mean, he was a one day old baby after all.  I can now tell you for a fact that little boys (at least this particular little boy) do not emerge from the womb demanding all of these "boyish" things.

The Fast and The Furious
The Fast and the Furious came on while we were in the hospital, so naturally having never seen it before, Joe and I got sucked in. Besides, we figured it was probably Waylon's favorite movie.

Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel asks, "Waylon, what are you doing? The Fast and the Furious is on!"

Watching The Fast and The Furious (ha!)
Waylon, living his life a quarter mile at a time.

Now that he's 11 months old, we've gotten many questions about whether we've noticed any differences between having a girl or a boy, and really the answer is no, not yet. Other than anatomically. (You guys, he totally has a wiener. And balls. Thousands of diaper changes later, and I am still not used to that. How do men walk around with these things? Seriously, why could God not contain all their parts? See the beginning of this post - I told you I am clueless.) Anyway, I'm sure that by six months from now my answer may be different, but right now he is just as happy to play with the toy baby, purse, or Barbie as the car, ball, or train.

He does like construction vehicles at least as much as his sister, though.

Front row seats. It does not get any better than this.

Palmer Square park
He likes balls, too, Beavis.

The other interesting type of reaction to our news of having a boy came from my friends who are mothers of boys, specifically toddler or preschool aged boys. "Oh, yea!  I'm so excited you have a BOY!" Sounds innocuous enough, right? But the typed words leave out the tone of voice and the accompanying almost maniacal laughter. The subtext seemed to be not, "Oh, yea! You are going to love it so much!", but rather, "Oh yea! Now you will understand my pain! Now we can commiserate about the difficulty of living with male toddlers!" A well-intentioned "Welcome to the club!" sort of congratulations where you're left nervously wondering what the hell kind of club you've just been inducted into. So, I'm not sure exactly when Waylon is going to turn into Bamm-Bamm, but it sounds as though it is inevitable. Can anyone give me a heads up on that?


Danni said...

He is just a person. A cute wee one. He will be cool like you and Joe regardless.

Ann said...

Love this post. And for the record, I voted blonde, but only because I myself have finally come to the realization (after decades going back and forth) that I prefer blonde. It's like my therapy. It puts me in a better mood. So that's my two cents. And I so enjoyed reading your thoughts about the whole boy v. girl thing. That's something I heard a lot about because of friends who've had one of each or like us, have only girls. The boy craze is something I kind of feel I missed out on, but maybe thankfully so. I think I'd be just as clueless. And yes, I'd worry about the kind of man I'd be raising. Why is that?? I guess we want them to be the kind of men we'd marry. That's not a bad goal.

Sarah said...

Oh my goodness Kate, we talk about this kind of thing so much I wouldn't even know where to start - lack of healthy role models for boys, confusion about what constitutes a “normal” teenage boy these days... As far as parenting goes, like most people I’ve always thought at least one of each sex would be nice -it’s like you get the full parenting experience and also balance out the genders in the family. On the other hand, in looking back, it seems like it’s better for the kids if they have at least one same-sex sibling. Parents want the other sex, kids what the same sex it seems. It does seem like the general consensus is that boys are a handful and somewhat less rewarding than girls, although parents that have all boys are usually happy to take on another, like they've got it down and don't want to shake up the applecart too much. My Mom said she was told after Josh was born that, “you don’t really know what it’s like raising boys unless you have more than one.” That may go for girls too. Anyhoo, you're definitely blessed to have both and to have plenty of help from the other "moms" in the family :). Love the photos! That little guy's gonna know how to hang with the ladies and when to get out of the way, that's for sure! Oh, and my little Brosta (who had four moms, according to my grandpa) is such a sweetie still!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate, I love this post. We have just had our third girl and wouldn't have it any other way. The pressure from others for her to be a boy when I was pregnant was huge. I did some thinking when I read your post and thought I would reply with some general gender info. I did some gender studies at Uni and found them very interesting. Many studies show that what it is to 'be' a boy or to 'be' a girl is a social construct. That the way that we talk to and treat our children moulds them to fit into gender stereotyped roles that are presented to us by society. We dress girls in pink and boys in blue. Girls get dolls and boys get trucks. The nature/nurture debate also enters the picture here. There is a genetic component that influences preferences for certain types of activities for each gender, however social interactions also perpetuate these gender stereotypes. My opinion is to challenge the norm. Tell your son he can play with dolls, let your daughter wear blue. Don't let society tell you what is 'normal'. Who defines normal anyway??
Keep up your entertaining blog.
From Rebecca Lynch

katandkarl said...

Ok.... so commenting on this post is literally on my to-do list. (It's #4: Kate comment.) I feel like I could write an ENTIRE novel dedicated to this post (and I will try and restrain myself), because it always infuriates me and makes me want to have another baby or two (ha!) when people say "Oh you have one of each - no need to have more" or "Perfect!" (or something to that effect). I can't handle it. What do they say to moms who only want two children but have them of the same gender!? And WHY DO THEY NEED BOY AND GIRL TOYS AT BIRTH?!? And why do we NEED to put ENORMOUS flowers on our baby girls heads and ENORMOUS tutus on their bodies? To prove the girliness from day 1? I will find our (as in your and my) perspectives most interesting as we are doing this thing in reverse (you with your girls first and me with Nate in the lead).

None of this is coming out right tonight BUT my goal is to let my baby be a baby. :)

(And, ftr, things that scare me about having a little girl = too. many. princesses.)