Monday, November 13, 2006

It begins

For some reason, now that I know what I'm working with, gender-wise, the looming reality of parenthood has hit full force. I will give birth to two people. I will bring two people into this world, and I will be responsible for raising them. They are no longer abstract creatures--they are boys, and have different appearances somewhat visible even on a sonogram, and different personalities, as manifested by somersaults versus other kinds of motion, and, for heaven's sake, they even have spines.

Here are just a few of the things I am scared of, in random order:

1. having them born healthy;
2. keeping them healthy;
3. money;
4. exhaustion leading to the point of collapse;
5. never having any time for myself;
6. dressing them funny because I don't know any better;
7. not having shared interests with them.

From what I understand, fears 1-5 are pretty normal and common for a new parent. I think that fears #6 and #7 are popping up because they're boys. What do I know from male fashion? Ty and I go to buy him some suits, and I sit on a bench outside the fitting room, and he comes out, and asks for my opinion, and he always looks good to me, and he mutters something about two-button versus three-button, and contemporary lapels, and tie width, and shirt quality, etc., and I pretend to know what he's talking about and nod and swing my legs and clutch the coupon that I brought. All I know is what I like, and most of it has to do with adult men dressing so that they exude a degree of sex appeal. I like a man in a suit (this will be virtually useless for several years of my sons' lives). I like well-tailored raincoats (again, virtually useless). I like sport jackets over turtlenecks, with glasses, to create a vaguely-intellectual look (still more useless). I like chunky sweaters. Ok, now we're getting somewhere. But do little boys hate chunky sweaters? Do they restrict their movement? I like Osh Kosh B'gosh overalls. Do little boys still wear those? Are they retro? If so, in a good way or a bad way? I found an adorable miniature "car coat" on Is it okay to put that on my boys, or will their prom dates make fun of them in 16 years when they see the photos? Uggghhhhh....the prom! How do you handle that???

With regard to #7, to be completely, totally honest, my interest in most athletic activities, with the limited exception of certain kinds of baseball, is somewhere behind my interest in aggressively preventing the formation of dental plaque. If I have two athletic sons, I will be forced to confront my own carefully-maintained biases and skepticisms and prejudices against organized sports, and I really don't want to. I'm comfortable in my little bubble. I tell myself that I'll naturally become interested in whatever is important to my children, but I worry that's not really true. Science? Great! Building things? Cool! Music? Terrific! But sports--at least from this vantage point--make me want to go put my head on a pillow.

If any of you have children with radically different interests from your own, how have you handled this issue? Has it been by dressing them funny?


Blogger V-Grrrl said...

Yeah! Boys! I do a little happy dance of satisfaction for having known all along you were having boys. (Go ahead, slap the smug smile off my face.)

Dressing boys? Easy! Osh Kosh for the little guys, LL Bean for the big boys. At least this worked for me.

My son has always been into science, building things, plants, animals, and lately, guns and archery. He has never been into sports, either as a participant or an observer. He's just like me in this regard (I ran track--the non-sport, sport.)

My daughter on the other hand is nine and is now into sports in a big way. My husband is very athletic.

You don't have to like what they like, just respect their right to choose their own interests. My son and daughter both love Scouting. Not. My. Thing. But their dad does it with them and even sews all those stupid patches on their sashes and shirts.

You'll do fine. And those boys in Easter suits? Too cute for words!

The great thing about

11:08 AM  
Blogger spellconjurer said...

you are so sweet! The mere fact that you are even aware of these questions/situations will assure you're a great mom. Get any baby magazine, such as Baby Talk, and you'll see cute, current outfits. I personally never found any troubles with sometimes matching outfits, even with my sister having a girl and a boy. Just different versions. It honestly helps to keep them organized visually in a group! Of course I called them horrid names in my mind, like Thing one and Thing two, when I was making sure they were both visible. Then again they were my favorite characters in Cat in the Hat. I think when my children participate in an activity that wasn't a personal choice of mine, I lose that slant on it, and when I see them trying and triumphing at their chosen activity the cheerleader comes out in me. If your son decides to play basketball, and you go to the game, I don't think you have to love the game to appreciate your son dashing across the court, ducking around an opponent, and launching up for a nothing but net shot. (no I don't like basketball either) but what I do love, is whatever my kids do. I become their biggest cheerleader. You will too I know it. As far as shared interests, their formative years will be lived, exposed to your loves. Some of these they will embrace. They will mirror you, you will be their hero. Not everything, but lots more than you think. You might end up with a classical pianist and a line backer. You will feel every bit as insanely, off the hook, head exploding into bits of confetti proud of each of them. Every ounce of misery you're feeling just now, with a difficult pregnancy, will be replaced countless times over with joy, joy that will break your heart. It's fantastic, welcome to being a mom.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

I love this post! Because now you know your babies are real right? And the anxiety. My god the anxiety with that first real baby-shaped skeleton thingy on the Ultrasound machine. I thought for sure both babies were going to be midgets. That was my own personal hell. (I obviously didn't worry how to dress a boy - he can probably wear my hand-me-downs!)

I also hate this post because it makes me miss and want to chat with you about all this. It is such a completely valid worry, whether your children will be like or unlike you. I still don't know, and I still struggle. If Madeleine doesn't like sports? I have no idea...

Oh, and I have a friend who dresses her little boy funny. I make fun of her, and she just laughs. Someday his dates will mock him for his too-feminine baby footwear and his matching knit vests. And secretly he'll love his mom for making him more cute to his date.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Tink said...

Two boys!! Ha. My FIRST hunch was right. Speaking as a person with two younger brothers (10 and 12 years younger) it's not going to matter what you dress them in. You won't be able to see it under all that dirt anyway. I'm serious. Little boys are like dirt magnets. My Mom and I never found out where it all came from either. But they are wonderful too. Rough and tough, sweet and cute, clever and mischievous. You're going to be a great Mom!!

4:25 PM  
Anonymous TB said...

I have two lists of unique sets of worries depending on whether this baby is a girl or a boy, which we will find out in a few weeks.

Thanks for making me feel a little more normal about it. I have a feeling that, like everything else with new parenthood, it will all sort itself out. Except maybe for the car coat and Osh-Kosh thing, which by the way I am totally for :o)

9:33 AM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

Congrats on the boys!! I love boys!!

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

So excited for you!

The dressing thing? That'll be easy. You'll find what works for you. And when they're little, it doesn't matter what they like anyway.

Personally, I like to dress L in things his dad would wear. But again, that's just my preference.

Oh god...sports. Neither my husband nor I are "sporty." We're hoping for an interest in soccer. We both at least understand it a little.

Or, maybe we should encourage them to get involved in sports that don't have a large presence here. Cricket, maybe? I know there's not a cricket team near where I live....

More than anything, I worry that we won't be close when he's married. The tendency in A's family seems to be that the boys get folded in with their wives' families. And in our case, I talk to A's mom more than he does.

I'm really going to try to maintain some common ground, because it would hurt me terribly if I completely lost him because of something I said or did.

Ok...I'm just babbling now.

1:39 PM  

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