When I was 14 weeks pregnant with Number 2, the ultrasound tech asked if I wanted to know the baby’s gender. My response “Really? Already?… Sure!”
The technician smiled,
“It’s a girl! I’ve been doing this a long time… I am pretty confident.”
My reaction might surprise some. I was not immediately filled with visions of little pink dresses and baby dolls. With an 18-month old little boy at home, I had grown pretty comfortable in my role as the mother of a son. Our house was riddled with “Lightning McQueen” cars and “Thomas the Train” toys. We never had to wonder whether he was happy, sad, or frustrated. He would tell us with words and actions. Like any toddler, he would have the occasional tantrum. Then, he would get over it and move onto the next thing.
For me, this was easy. You see, growing up, I was a bit of a tomboy. I never played with dolls, and rather enjoyed playing backyard baseball with the boys. Learning to braid hair, and playing with Barbie dolls was not really my thing. I still kind of liked playing cars and trucks with my son, and I looked forward to taking him to T-ball and maybe even football practices.
Most people would tell me, “isn’t that lovely, now you’ll have one of each!” Or “Awww, you must be thrilled to have a little girl on the way.” But secretly, I was in a bit of a panic. How could I be a mother to a girl? I’m in trouble now!
What would I do with a little girl? I wouldn’t be good at this. I am intimidated by having to dress her in the pretty pink outfits and pigtails that people would expect. Eventually she would want me to teach her how to put on makeup. I can barely apply mascara myself! I’d make a terrible guest at a little girl’s tea party.
Most of all, I feared (and still fear) her teenage years. In that ultrasound room, my mind immediately fast-forwarded about 13 years. How would I handle the emotional rollercoaster that defines prepubescent girls: “mean girls”, boys, acne, the social minefield of middle school, struggles with self-confidence and self-expression, and did I mention BOYS? My heart races when I think about it.
I feared that the “girlier” the girl, the worse I would be as her mother. We would have less common ground. I’ll never be able to give good fashion advice, and daylong trips to the mall to go shoe shopping could rattle both of our nerves. My hope, perhaps she’ll be a bit of a tomboy too.
FAT CHANCE. My little girl has made it quite clear since birth that she is the ultimate girlie-girl. It’s as if my daughter were ripped from the pages of “Fancy Nancy.” Her favorite color? Why pink, of course, with the occasional purple accent. She’s fast approaching four-years old, and we battle several times a week over her clothes. She wants to wear short little skirts and dresses even when it’s 10-below. She doesn’t like jeans. (Who doesn’t like jeans? They might possibly be the most versatile, comfortable piece of clothing, ever!) She covets her Cinderella Lip Gloss, and her hair ribbons. She misplaced one of her dress-up shoes the other day, and promptly advised me that it was ok, because her Prince Charming would find it and return it to her. To get her to stop chronically sucking on her two fingers, I “motivated” her with a special trip to get her nails done like a grown-lady. It worked! She stopped sucking them then and there.
That being said, some of my initial fears have subsided. I don’t have to worry about giving her fashion advice. It’s pretty clear that she will be giving it to me. Also, she is ridiculously attached to me (to the point of exhaustion at times). Despite my complete incompetence when it comes to putting her hair in ribbons, my pretty princess in pink adores me anyway. And while I still fear the day that boys arrive on her radar, I am comforted by this bond we have. As long as we maintain that closeness, I hope that she will never be afraid to talk to me, to listen to me, to confide in me so that I can help her navigate through her teenage years.
For now though, I need to worry about finding the perfect Barbie Doll for her birthday.