Big Fat Juicy Ones

When I was pregnant with my first, and all the scary “you might loose the baby” stuff was behind us and we knew that it appeared to be a healthy pregnancy, I breathed a sigh of relief, took my husband’s hands in mine, looked him in the eye and said, “I so hope this is a boy!” And he did too. But we were both convinced that it was actually a girl and that that would be fine too, as long as it was healthy and ladidadida.

So we set a date (the first day of Spring) to look at the card that the ultrasound tech had written for us that would reveal the sex. We opened it together and it said, “It’s a boy…congrats!” And we looked at each other and laughed until we rolled for about 20 minutes. It was so very exciting.

So we got our boy and that was B and I loved having a boy as much as I had imagined I would. And then I got pregnant again and while it was such a better pregnancy physically, I think that looking back I was an emotional basket case. And at Thanksgiving, when I revealed to extended family that I was pregnant and someone suggested how adorable a girl that looked like B would be, I started crying into my cranberries. I did not want a girl.

What’s wrong with girls?! After all, I’m a girl! I grew up with one sister and no brothers. I have a bunch of great girlfriends and, as a teacher, I absolutely love my girls! They are so helpful and thoughtful and studious and sweet. And CALM. Girls are great! So what would be the problem with having a girl?

I didn’t want a girl because I really just thought that I would make a better mother to a boy than to a girl. I grew up hiking through swamps and catching toads all summer. I went crabbing with the boys in the rocks at the beach. I hated dressing up. (I still do.) I had no problem with getting dirty. (In fact, I was quite good at it.) And then, as I got older, I learned that as a girl you were supposed to play games. Not games like “Wall Ball” where you throw a ball against a wall and somebody catches it and throws it again (totally a boy game), but games like “If that girl talks to you, don’t talk back to her because it will make her feel rotten and that will be funny.” Or “Flirt with that guy until he asks you out but then turn him down because otherwise you will look desperate.” I never knew how to play any of those games very well.  I never got them.

If I had a girl (or if I ever have a girl…because I suppose anything is possible?) I would totally step up to the plate and do the best that I could. But I knew that if I had boys, they would most likely enjoy hiking through swamps, catching gross creatures, and getting dirty with me. And I wouldn’t have to worry about making sure I had the newest cutest Bean and Bets (or whatever the hell they wear) coat or get into the most popular dance class and wear a tutu onstage….these are the nightmares I’ve had when I thought I might have girls.

Anyway, today there was a crowning mother- of -boys moment where I got to use all my tomboyish talents to prove that I can rock this boys’ mom thing. C toddled over to me in the backyard, incredibly excited about his discovery- a rock that he held tightly in his grubby hand.  I got excited too and told him to follow me to B’s old “Rock Garden” that I had created when B had his rock obsession at 2.  The rock garden had seen better days. Rocks were buried under weeds, dead leaves and sticks. I suggested (more to B since C is 1) that we should clean out the rock garden and make it look good again.

We went to work right away, filling a bucket with all the big rocks and tearing the weeds and dead leaves out. I grabbed a plastic hoe and started moving the pea stone around, exposing the earth for the first time in two years and this big fat night crawler came creeping out of the ground and started wriggling all over the place.  I let out a quick, startled scream and then laughed, daring B to grab it for our composter. He excitedly went after it, but it kept wriggling out of his hands. C stood, screaming in pure terror. I picked C up in one arm, reassuring him that the worm would not hurt us, and grabbed the night crawler with the other hand and ran it to the composter. B had to say his sentimental goodbyes and then we returned to the rock garden and repeated this scenario 7 more times.

Finally, when C had truly had enough. I told B I would be putting him down for a nap. B wanted to stay out to catch more worms, but decided it just wasn’t as fun without Mom, so came in and watched Curious George instead. But it was totally the highlight of my (otherwise rather stressful) day. It’s totally why it was ok that I cried into my cranberries that Thanksgiving and why we laughed like hyenas for twenty minutes when we discovered that B was a boy.

I am not good at doing hair. Or shopping. Or keeping my nails painted for more than a day. But I rock at hiking up the creekbed to catch crayfish, storing a whole rock collection in my pocket and catching a ton of worms. I love girls. I love the daughters of all of my friends and family members. But this is what I was meant to be: the mother of a couple of loud, silly, dirty, active, crazy boys.

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