The other day Tom asked me, half (or more) seriously, why I love the baby best — why I never get mad at her, why she always gets kisses and exaggeratedly-happy greetings, and how I can cheerfully drop everything to take care of her ficklest of whims.
Evolutionary biology, I said.
But I do have three other kids; the oldest is ten-going-on-teenager and all four of them are girls: emotional, hormonal, sweet, cutting, endearing, curious, determined females. I’m not entirely sure how we’re going to survive the next twenty years, especially because the memory of my own middle school experience is so fresh, but here is what I have learned:
When kids are most unlovable, they are most in need of love. When they are sour with sickness or stinky with kid sweat and suspicious-smelling mud, they are most in need of hugs. When they are frustrated and impatient, they are most in need of compassion and patience. When they feel most unworthy and insecure, they are most in need of praise and security. When they make choices impossible to understand, they are most in need of understanding.
And when they are angry or sad enough to shout that they hate me and wish I wasn’t their mother, that is when they are most in need of exactly me: with all of my impatience and insecurity and frustration, all of my love and forgiveness and here-take-the-last-bite-of-bread (but don’t touch the brownies), they are most in need of me.
About the author
Shannon Johnson makes her home in Utah with her husband and four daughters. She blogs about coming to terms with motherhood, parenting, raising daughters and life at Seagull Fountain.
Maybe I’ve been a mother of a boy for too long. Maybe I’ve been out of school for too long. Maybe I’m just clueless. But this week, it suddenly hit me.
I have a daughter.
Okay, really, I know she’s a girl. In fact, it was one year ago today that we found out we were having a girl. So I’ve had plenty of time to get used to that idea.
But I guess I hadn’t really appreciated the full meaning of having a daughter until this week. It happened gradually. First we ran out of everyday pants for Rebecca, so I went through the mass of 6-12 month clothes we finally got out for her (she also still needs a dresser). All I found were dresses and skirts. I settled for a denim play skirt.
We went through two denim skirts that day, and still the laundry didn’t get done (where is my laundry fairy?!). So the next day, I put her in a dress.
It was at this point that it hit me. I have a little girl. She can wear play dresses and tights—and I can buy frills and ribbons and flowers. She can play with dolls and pretend to teach them to read. She can play house, pretend to cook (if Hayden will let her take over those duties, of course), and dress up in my high heels. (No comment on doing her hair.)
But most of all: she can take dance lessons. Most instruments, most sports, most clubs, most other extracurriculars are fairly gender-neutral. But, let’s face it, dance lessons are they epitome of little girlitude.
This led me to a new dilemma: what kind of dance lessons? I did years and years of ballet, and a semester of Irish dance in college. I love lyrical; I don’t enjoy tap or jazz. We’re technically of Scottish descent, so there’s always Highland dance to consider.
I’ve decided, however, not to worry about all that now. Even after she’s old enough to start “dance” lessons, it’ll be years before she’s old enough or required to choose among the various styles.
And considering it took me a year to understand that we have a daughter, I’m sure it’ll take me that long to figure out what kind of dance (if any) we want her in anyway!
What are your favorite things about little girls?
(I’m such a geek that I had a hard time not putting ‘EVAR’ in the title. And if you don’t get that joke, you’re a lucky, lucky person.)
I know this is probably going to come as a surprise to . . . well, just about all of you, but today we have the biggest announcement in MamaBlogga history.
It’s a girl!
Due 31 July 2008
It’s a girl!
This idea has taken some getting used to. Not the idea of having another child, but the idea of having a daughter. (You’d think I’d waited decades for a girl, LOL.) When I first found out we were having a baby, I thought it might be a girl, but until today I’d kind of changed my opinion.
It’s just that when I think of my child, I think of my son. A boy. So when I imagined my children a few years down the road, it was my sons—playing together, sharing bunk beds, going camping with Daddy. I was actually becoming attached to the image of little Benjamin, though I didn’t have any idea what he might look like. (Yes, we had a name picked out for a boy. We have one picked out for a girl, too.)
So it’s strange not to think of this baby as a boy. Strange to think of my child as my daughter. Strange to think of having a daughter instead of just being one. Strange to make myself call the baby (who is pretty darn active) “her” instead of “it” or, as I’ve defaulted to from time to time, “he.”
Of course we’re excited. I’ve always wanted a girl. Ryan and I actually felt pretty strongly both ways this time—we really wanted a boy, and we really wanted a girl. (But we weren’t hoping for twins.) Let’s hope I can remember all that I thought I knew about having a girl now!
And lest I forget, a couple other friends shared their own happy news lately: An Ordinary Mom is having a boy; Mommy Zabs is having a girl. I was waiting to comment on both until we found out what we were having (didn’t trust myself to keep the “secret” if I commented!). Congratulations, ladies!
This post is now part of the Mothers and Daughters Blog Carnival. Woot.