I have three boys and a baby girl and I’ve heard all kinds of comments about it. When I was pregnant with my fourth people were always saying things like “three boys, oh you poor woman!” or “oh, I bet you’re dying for a girl!” and “are you going for a girl?” and even things like, “oh man, I hope you don’t have another boy!” These types of comments drove me crazy.
Last night, my five year old, Son-F, said to me, “Mummy, when baby-M was in your tummy, did you want a girl?” I explained that I wanted whatever was inside and no matter what we all would have loved the baby. It sure is fun to have a girl, isn’t it? But wouldn’t it have been crazy fun to have four boys? He thought about this for a moment and then said, “Ya but Mum, didn’t you *say* that you wanted a girl?” No I never, ever said that. I always said that I’d be happy either way. We weren’t ‘trying for a girl’; we would have had four kids either way. If you ask me today if I’m glad I had a girl, of course my answer is yes, but wasn’t until I knew she was a girl that I felt like I really wanted a girl. Before that I would have been thrilled with four boys.
I have often contemplated the effect on my boys (and all boys) of hearing “oh all those boys, you poor thing” or “boys will be boys” or “thank goodness it’s a girl this time!” and other negative boy comments over and over and over again. What do boys think when they hear these comments day in and day out? Is “boys will be boys” a self-fulfilling prophecy? Are boys the way they are because it is what people expect of them? What message are we sending them?
It kind of makes me sad to think that Son-F thinks I wanted a girl. Not because there is anything wrong with wanting a girl, but because most of the people who made comments to me about me wanting a girl were really saying “because Lord knows, you don’t want another boy.” Does Son-F think that I didn’t want a boy? Does he think that I think that boys are “trouble”? Does he wonder if I wished he was a girl? Oh probably not, but it still bugs me.
There’s no denying that boys and girls are different, but I don’t ever want my boys to think that there is something ‘wrong’ with boys or that they are wanted any less than girls. So, the next time you find yourself about to make a comment about boys, think about who is listening and bite your tongue.