When I was pregnant with my first boy, I ran into the realtor who sold us our house and shared the news with her. “I think it’s better to have a boy first,” she told me, “you know, to get it out of the way.” I had no idea what this meant, really (I guess the idea was that boys are undesirable but necessary somehow? Like a root canal?), but I smiled and nodded.
I would have thought a first pregnancy resulting in a boy to be a pretty unremarkable occurrence, approximately as noteworthy as, say, having a girl, but, it turns out, people ALWAYS have something to say about the sex of your fetus.
My Aunt Jo was as approving as my realtor had been: “It’s good to have a boy first,” she told me, “so that he can look out for his little sisters.” A bit of dramatic irony, if someone were to do a play about my life and include that line.
Two years later, while I was pregnant with boy number two, we sold our house and moved from Boston to Georgia, so we saw a lot more of our realtor. The Boston housing market was great at the time, and we did really well on the house. “I’m so glad everything’s working out for you!” she told us, then paused, “…the only thing I wish is that you were having a girl this time. Then it’d be really perfect.”
I could feel this same mild disappointment clouding many reactions to news of our second boy. It wasn’t devastating yet. “Are you going to keep trying until you have a girl?” people asked, because having three kids isn’t too crazy, especially if you’ve had the bad luck to be stuck with two of a kind to start with. A minor setback, this second boy! Surely we could bounce back.
The ultrasound tech who told us we’d be having our third boy was the first one to clue me in about my special place in heaven. Maybe if you don’t have three boys, no one has told you about this. But the information has been corroborated by several reliable sources, so it must be true: mothers of three boys get a special place in heaven. I’m not sure what’s special about it. I’m guessing it will be really quiet and you’ll be able to go to the bathroom all by yourself whenever you want? Also maybe unicorns.
I went out for lunch with my mom and told her that I was feeling pretty OK about only having boys. She smiled sympathetically. “The only thing about not having a girl is that girls are usually closer to their mothers when they grow up,” she said. Thanks, mom. I’m working hard to nurture co-dependency and a love of HGTV in my boys, though, to combat this phenomenon my mother has observed.
As I got off the phone with my mom, after telling her about the boyness of baby number four, she said, “Well. Your Aunt Jo said to call her if it was a girl…” Fourth boys are sadly unworthy of mention.
The good part is, by the fourth boy people have given up on expecting that you might actually figure out how to make girls. Mostly they’re just stunned that you’re having a fourth baby at all, because everyone knows that if you have two boys you’re allowed to try ONE more time for a girl. Duh.
Nowadays, with all four boys on the outside, people act as if having four boys is utterly fascinating and almost certainly the most interesting thing about me. And they’ve run out of things to say about it. Mostly they just look astonished and exclaim, “FOUR boys?!” as if that really says it all.
For the record, we didn’t have our second, or third, or fourth baby because we were trying for a girl. And, sure, I would have loved a girl, but any wistfulness about it is on the same regret level as, “Damn. We should have gone to the movies more often before we had kids,” or, “I ate WAY too many cookies tonight,” rather than something that haunts me deep down in the core of my being.
My boys are amazing; I’m sure my girls would have been, too, had I had any. By the time I got to the third kid, I was more or less of the opinion that babies are babies; hoping for a girl was sort of like hoping for a baby with red hair … nice if it happened, but not a big disappointment if not (I never got a redheaded baby, either, by the way). I probably would have spent all the grocery money on dresses from Mini Boden anyway, if I’d had a girl, so it’s probably just as well.
Also, we’re NOT going to keep trying until we get a girl. All done with babies (knock wood).