Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Visit to Girlville

We visited our nieces last week while we were in the bay area. Ila was adorable in her white vintage gown; a bow in her curly dark hair. Kira was a sweet little chicky with bright blue eyes. Aware of the world yet calm. They both already had personalities. Kira and Ila will be my daughters by proxy.

Infancy is tough. Babies are uncomfortable in their bodies, awkward and in pain most of the time. What's coming next? Who are these people? Where are we going? Moods that turn on a dime. Strong emotion makes everyone scared. Adults who are sleep deprived, full of anxiety and self-doubt take care of them. No wonder they're so unsettled.

I tried my hardest to conceive a girl; I followed the Chinese horoscope and that ridiculous book. I actually cried when I found out I was having another boy while I was getting my ultrasound. Seeing this living thing inside your body -- it's real, the miracle that a person is here -- is already very emotional. I felt a slight sense of dread when the ultrasound tech pronounced it's a boy. He'll never call me on the phone to chat about nothing. We'll never be as close as I am with my mom.

It took me a few days to get over it. What a monster I am I thought. How selfish, sheltered and unloving. What a luxury to even worry about that sort of thing. I knew I would love my son no matter what. I knew that when we decided to have another child, we had an even greater chance of having another boy. No matter how feminist and devoted to gender equality I knew I was intellectually, it took a while to sink in that the gender stereotypes aren't true. Not all boys are testosterone crazed truck fanatics. I know tons of women who have horrible relationships with their mothers. I know tons of men who have really good relationships with their mothers. Not all girls are quiet and sit still during dinner. I was really worried about my ability to cultivate a close adult relationship with my children.

I probably would have had a similar sense of dread even if I had a girl. It had nothing to do with gender. Aside from his potty humor, bad temper and intense love for motor vehicles, I can relate to Elliot. Asher is still working on English fluency, but he's got some interesting things to say. If I want them to keep talking, I'll have to learn how to listen.

1 comment:

Bessie said...

Marika, I also really wanted a girl. That's one reason I didn't want to know the gender until our baby was born. It gave me time to adjust to the "awful" reality that I might have a boy for my only child. But then I got used to the idea and welcomed the little guy in my mind (although I had one tearful night where I told Joel that we had to try for another child if this one was a boy). When the little one popped out, I was stunned, but not nearly as happy as I thought I'd be, that it was a girl. I was just happy to actually have a baby at that point. I think the time really helped.