Punani Deficit Disorder

This is Nora. Husband has taken to referring to Nora and me as "His Bitchez."
This is only mildly less disconcerting than the current delight my son gets from declaring

Uh, yes. Clever boy.. (cough).

Both my son's matter-of-fact use of the "v-word" and his discovery of the analogous relationship of mummy's "bits and pieces" to the dog's "bits and pieces"--well, it gives one pause...

I am already outnumbered, as you can see (unless you count the dog) and it seems the willy quota in our house is about to get a serious boost. Yup... It's a Boy...!

The atmosphere at chez ginga is decidedly upbeat at the news--already hugging ourselves each time we refer now to "the boys." By all signs, Sprog is healthy, bouncy, and right on track. Boyo loves to come over to me and "kiss his baby brother" (this can mean having your shirt suddenly yanked up in public spaces, be warned).

There's a part of me, though, that can't quite process that I am to be mummy to "the boys." Let me be honest and say that there is a minute twinge over knowing that I will never have a daughter. (and to any potential trolls out there who might be judging me for not realizing how "blessed I am"--if you do not think that if someone touched a single hair on one of my boy's heads I would hunt that person down and conduct prolongued and devastating acts of torture, then stop reading now...) With each pregnancy I have made all the right noises about "just wanting the baby to be healthy" and have silently yearned for a girl. A daughter.

I can definitely trace the roots of this desire. First being the oldest among 12 grandchildren, and the only girl. I have one brother, who is now one of my best friends, but as a child I merely tolerated him (or more frequently not, as the mood took us). Each time an Aunty Blah-Blah was pregnant, I was crushed to discover another male cousin had joined the brood. And my family produces boisterous types--types who, at family get-togethers when we were all told to "run off and play," would think nothing of wrestling me to the ground to play "doctors and nurses"--yes, to check out my alien "bits and pieces." My complaints were greeted with "they're just naturally curious, how about you just let them..." (What???!!!!). (Meanwhile, I thought nothing of flashing my bum-bum on-request to a boy at school I had a bit of a yen for). The only other girl (who is the only clan member to know about this blog) came when I was 14, when it was a tad too late to be rescued from my gender isolation. This was partly my fault, being a girly-girl and deeply judgemental of all these young and stinky boys.

Deep psychological damage resulting from childhood trauma notwithstanding, I think some of the other emotions I feel about this one might be more familiar to many of us. Part of it is about ego, and even disbelief that you could grown anything that was not really just a reproduction of yourself. A girl. Just like you, only more clever, well-adjusted, and whole. When I found out that my first was a boy, my first reaction was disbelief. How can I grow a male?? Yes, ego, and an erroneous and unbalanced perspective over one's incubatory and and baby-making powers...

As a feminist, I had fantasies of raising a girl who never, ever, questioned her ability to do something because of her gender. Our relationship would be deeply close, our conflicts rare (merely opportunities for us to grow). She would think that her Mum was dead smart, and (more importantly) dead hip... I would handle the talks about menstruation, and sex, and heartbreak, and peer-pressure with aplomb because I had SOOO been there. She would always and without question turn to me.

Yes. Basically I was deluding myself.

But even as I recognize the delusion, I realize that I wish all these things for my boys as does their Daddy (except for the menstruation part, which could be tricky). So far our son (nearly 4) has shown no aversion for things coded "girl" and we delight in how much he loves fairies, crowns, and wands. He does not even have the word "gun" in his lexicon, and refers to the canons on his Playmobile pirate ship as "blasty things." OK, so he has also been coming home with "lots of spitting and name-calling today" on his daily note from preschool a bit too often these days, but I would like for the record to say that he learned to spit and namecall from one of the girls in his class who eggs him on. Which for some reason makes me feel quite a bit better about it. And for the most part you are more in danger of being sidelined with an enthusiastic hug by our Boy than being raspberried at (but don't rule it out).

So, right now Angelina Ballerina and Spiderman rank on a par in my son's world, but I am realistic about the likelihood that he will continue in this metrosexual vein (statisically speaking, that is--if he ends up liking ballet more than football his artsy-farsty, liberal parents could not be more happy, but we also foresee a future of little league and soccer practice). And let me utter the most hackneyed but resonant cliche in the world--whatever my sons chose is fine, as long as they are happy, healthy and rich beyond my wildest imaginings decent human beings. And love their mother. And their father. Unquestioningly. Unflinchingly. Even when we're assholes. Which will be never.


toyfoto said...

I know how you feel. I said I don't care if it's a boy or a girl, or even if its not healthy. ... (prayed that it was healthy) but I decided I wanted it in my life NO MATTER WHAT!

When she came out as dubiously predicted, a girl, I secretly thanked all the powers of the universe. I love boys, acted like a tomboy all my life, but I thought: I KNOW YOU. You are one of mine.

Great post.

macboudica said...

Girls are tricky. I have one older girl (13) and three boys (all under 5). I love my daughter, I really do, but I find parenting boys so much easier. There is not all that bagage to contend with that has to do with the endless subconscious and conscious comparisons to one's own mother daughter relationship.

My daughter is in the same situation as you were in that she is the one of a very limited number of girls in a huge family. What she has going for her, though, is she is a lot older than the horde of boys so they have a real problem pinning her down.

virtualsprite said...

I felt the same way when I found out that my Ubergoober was a boy. So now my mission, like yours, is to raise him to be a feminist male. And I had to accept that there would be an inordinate amount of sports in my future. Hang in there.

lildb said...

what a fabulous and interesting perspective. I mean, all the bullshite about being intimately investigated by your chester-molester cousins notwithstanding (and what a bunch of shite! bastards), I'm so fascinated by your acceptance of the no-girl baby syndrome. I'm really hoping that my second will be a boy, to add to the first boy, since I have a terror of repeating the awful relationship I had with my own mother (something the years of therapy has not erased, evidently). isn't that funny? we all have such random reasons for wanting what we do.

I'm happy for you, though, no matter what.

neva said...

listen... i hear ya. i felt the same way when i found out i was having a second son (which was on the day he was born... little bitch, he had me convinced i was having a girl right up to the last minute!)

it works out well. and as feminist women/mothers of sons, it is our duty and/or pleasure to teach them how to respect all people, without regard to color, creed, and yes, to gender. my boys have grown up knowing women and men share roles professionally--as well as in the home, and that's what i hope/expect they will take with them into the world. they *are* screw ups... but they're awfully good hearted screw ups. and, ya know, my youngest son (22) still enjoys dressing up & acting outrageous (he's the actor, and, i might add, is very in touch with his "feminine side"... tho' all male where it counts, if that makes sense. and not that there'd be anything wrong with it, if he weren't...)

i'm thrilled for you Joy! i'm thrilled you're having another beautiful healthy child! and the world will be better for the men i truly believe *both* your sons will grow into some day. CONGRATULATIONS! xoxo

Mother said...

Oh boy.

I think about having another and what I would do with a boy. Having a girl seemed second nature to me. I know it's not that way for everyone, for me, it was very natural.

I have a feeling we need more moms like you raising our boys. I try to think of it that way in case I have one. :)

Mocha said...

Lovely post. Perfection, my dear. It gave me a lot to think about having made two boys and thinking the same thing: "Huh? I made a boy!? But... but.. I'm a GIRL!"

Sidney Poiter only had girls and someone asked him about wanting a son. He said (with much trepidation and a quiver in his voice thinking about his daughters) - (I'm paraphrasing here) "To see a child born... and then? Quibble about the sex?" Then he waved a dismissive hand to show he only wanted this miraculous creation.

I say this reading your disclaimer and yet, you SO eloquently stated your secret desire for a girl. It's totally understandable. You most certainly are to be commended for stating those things here.

Or, rather, I'm just so in awe of you that you could say anything and I'd still nod and say, "Gosh. I love her."

Mom101 said...

Oh this is so interesting. I must admit there was some relief in having a girl. Even having an 8 year old boy in the house these past few weeks has been a bit...out of my realm of expertise.

I love however that he's comfortable saying vagina but still says willy.

sunshine scribe said...

I love your perspective and can relate completely as I am destined to live in a house with a high ratio of testosterone.

doow said...

Congratulations on the forthcoming boy! Just think of the opportunity for using hand-me-down clothes, building forts and escaping teenage girl angst later in life!
But you're still going to call the new one Sarah, right? Right?

bubandpie said...

Oh, this post brought me back to all those mixed emotions after my first ultrasound when I was pregnant with the Bub. And how I suddenly loved him more than I had before, now that I knew he was a truly human little boy-baby, while at the same time grieving for the loss of the little girl I had thought I was carrying.

I'm the oldest in my family, and I always pictured myself having a girl first, a little mini-me, and our relationship would be a carbon copy of my own relationship with my mother, except for the part where I never eat my vegetables just to defy her.

I have to be a lot more careful of myself with the Pie, reminding myself constantly that I can't expect her to like the things I like or turn out just like me. With Bub, there is that built-in reminder (the willy) that he is himself - he came out of me, but he never was me.

Great, great post. And congratulations!

mothergoosemouse said...

Congratulations! I loved the lead-up to the reveal - fantastic.

I sometimes wonder how Kyle feels about not having a boy. If he's disappointed in any way, he's never shown it.

I, on the other hand, was relieved to have girls. Like toyfoto said, I KNOW girls. We're pains in the arse, but I understand that.

But obviously if I'd had boys, while I'd be a bit unnerved at first by the unknown, I feel confident that I would have the same deep love and wonderful attachment to them as I do with the girls.

Your honesty is refreshing. Thanks, and congratulations again!!

Her Bad Mother said...

A boy! A boy! More willies, huzzah!

You know, if you really are keen to have some sullen girliness in your future, just introduce him to guitars and poetry real early and maybe he'll head down that stringy-haired morose musician path. Which is pretty girly.

debbie said...

i suspect that you are going to love having two boys as much as i do. when i was pregnant i thought about how great it would be to have a girl to bond and do girly things with, but the truth is that i am so much better suited at being the only female in the mix. there can only be one queen bee! heh.

Kevin Charnas said...


And, I'm sorry that you won't be having a daughter...
But, I LOVED this post.
And "Blasty things"??? I LOVED even more...

Kevin Charnas said...

OH! AND... "they're just naturally curious, how about you just let them..."


good god.

mamatulip said...


When I found out Oliver was a boy I was really nervous. I had a girl. I knew about girls, not boys. I was talking to my Gram one day, who had three boys, and I told her how nervous I was about having a boy. And she said to me, "If there's one thing I know about boys, it's that they sure do love their mama's."

I thought it was such a sweet thing to say, and that's why I'm telling you.

The Beast Mom said...

Thanks for the tip on the baby carrots. I looked at the site you posted at MegaMom's blog comments. Very enlightening I must say. :)

-Beast Mom

sweatpantsmom said...

Only one thing left to do - have another. It'll be a girl, FOR SURE.

I've been trying to get my husband to cave in and go for a third for the past eight years. "Don't you want a son??!!"

Of course, there's the story of my brother's friend, who had two girls and decided, after much debate, to go for a third in the attempt to produce a male heir. And they had...

Twin girls.

Mommy off the Record said...

Great post, and congratulations!

I seem to have always been surrounded by boys too. Two brothers and now a son. If I have another boy when I get pregnant again, that will be OK.

I think it would be great to have two sons close in age. Little boy buds. It will be nice for your sons to have that relationship.

Thanks for visiting my blog earlier by the way.

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