When I was younger and imagined having a child, I only envisioned having a daughter. I’m the oldest of two girls, I once taught at an all-girls’ school, I was a Girl Scout leader and coached Girls On The Run.
When I was pregnant, my husband and I decided not to find out our baby’s gender until birth. That didn’t keep people from guessing. Approximately 98% of guessers thought we would be having a boy. So the natural rebel in me was rooting for a girl.
Of course, I was wrong.
When the doctor announced, “It’s a boy!” the first thought I remember consciously registering at that tender moment (after my little dude roared the scream to end all screams the moment he entered the world) was Oh no! (Okay, it was a bit more colorful than that but I swear I’m not usually the cursing type.) I’m sure, What do I possibly do with a boy? and How do I raise him? followed closely behind. Ah, what sweet memories.
It wasn’t disappointment, exactly. I was mostly just in shock. The Girl Scouts taught me to be prepared, but I wasn’t prepared for this. And the truth is, 2 ½ years later there are still many colorful “Oh nos” peppered into my inner monologue. (Potty training…harrumph…) And I’m still most definitely not prepared on a daily basis.
But long ago the shock subsided and the awe began. Once I started to know my little guy a bit, I realized what a wonder he is. I am so grateful to have a boy after all. Without this wonderful son of mine, I may never have entered “Boy World.”
Before kids I was a valiant supporter of the “nurture” side of the nature vs. nurture issue. But I think I’ve swapped teams. Never could I fathom how early traditional boy tendencies would begin. Neither my husband nor myself is especially keen on cars, trucks, or tractors. But now I know the difference between a front-loader and an excavator, cement and concrete, a flatbed versus a car carrier. I spend my afternoons drawing race car after race car after race car. And I am intimately familiar with the inner workings of engines and airplanes.
Boy World has meant limitless energy to the point where we are beginning to seriously research how we can harness our son’s energy to put into the grid for use as a renewable resource. I admit watching with a certain amount of envy as most of my friends with girls often sit completely still through entire play dates, while my buoyant boy leaps and hops and gallops across entire rooms in a single bound over and over and over. But I wouldn’t want him any other way.
I know only some of this behavior can be blamed on being a boy. I’m sure much of it has to do with the innate personality and development of any toddler. But though I try to fight stereotypes on most fronts, my experience has shown that interest and energy gender tendencies really do exist.
Even so early on, I can tell that landing on Planet Boy is a very different spot than my previous visits to Planet Girl. But I’ve always been a fan of travel to new and exotic places. I’m excited to learn more about this previously unexplored terrain.
In a house with a husband and a son, sometimes I feel like an alien. There’s a lot to still discover about this boy thing. It’s bewildering sometimes and extraordinary often. It’s always new and different. I’m grateful for my passport to Boy World. Without my boy, I would never know the amazing bond that a mother can have with her son. But most of all, I’m grateful that my child is who he is.