Our sixth child was born in late spring of this year. And he is a boy, which thrilled our whole family to no end. Not that we prefer one gender over another, because we really don’t. Because prior to our baby son’s (#6) arrival, our five children consisted of four girls, and one boy. Our older son is sandwiched between two older sisters and two younger ones.
Our older son is a very patient, quiet little guy. Because he has to be. His short life has thus far been a lesson in keeping women happy, or trying to. Many, many women.
People always ask us, but The Captain and I did not have a preference in the gender of our children-to-be, mainly because we knew we end up having at least six babies anyway (NO, we didn’t…). In reality, we were so excited to meet any of our new little people that the gender of said baby just didn’t matter as much.
Ok, until baby #3…
Our first two little girls were Irish twins, and the apples of our eyes. Two dark-haired sweet little beauties, who are as opposite as can be in personality, yet awesome in their own right. And we loved being the parents of two amazing little girls. Even if the two amazing little girls with different personalities were forced to share a small room.
But when we got to the ultrasound for baby #3 and saw evidence of his boyhood, we high-fived each other and bought blue. Because we finally could.
Having a boy brought some variety into the mix. And it was a refreshing change to take care of a boy- even if diaper changes required more ducking and dodging- and to introduce boy “stuff’ into the house. Imaginex toys. Batman caves. Matchbox cars. Bob the Builder bedding, etc.
(And before you lecture me about gender roles and stereotyping, I’ll have you know that #1’s favorite toy at her 2nd birthday was Home Depot toy tool box. Which was promptly commandeered by her younger sister, #2, to make a makeshift doghouse for stuffed animals. And then by bossy #4, who yanked it from her older brother, #3).
Bouncing baby boy was followed by two younger sisters. And then… we noticed a shift in the house dynamic.
Suddenly, there were girls everywhere. Pink stuff, everywhere. The house became crammed with glittery dress costumes, toy kitchens, nail polish, baby doll strollers, and tattered Barbies.( Naked, of course. Why are Barbies always naked??)
But the most significant shift in the house dynamic was the volume level.
Suddenly, it was LOUD. But not kid-loud.
There’s a difference. I’m talking about the high-pitched squealing and shrieking that accompanies girls that are excited and happy, as well as girls that are indignant and distressed.
There was all of that. Times four.
Poor #3 (boy) did not stand a chance.
When he went shopping with Grandma one day, he came home wearing these:
She told me: “He saw these and asked for them; he said they would be good to keep from hearing girls talk so much.”
(You may wonder why the above pic is daughter #2 rather than our son. That’s because #2 quickly adopted #3’s new earmuffs to minimize the hysterical bedtime wails of #4, as evident from this picture.)
So when we found out about #6’s impending arrival, there was a faint desperation. Never before had gender mattered to us. But now, it was not about deeming one gender more important, but leveling the playing field a bit.
I prayed first for a healthy baby, because I never take that blessing for granted. But after I’d pray, I’d sort of whisper, to God,
“Ok, can you hook us up with a boy? I’d REEEAALLY like a boy -butagirlisfinetoo- I think it’d be great for #3 to have a brother, but.. -ifyouwantustohaveagirl- ok… thanks God.” Amen.
We did found out through ultrasound that #6 was indeed a boy, which was cause for celebration. #3 was thrilled to finally be getting a baby brother. There was jumping. And some fist-pumping. And he was even more excited because this meant that he no longer had to share a room with any of the girls.
Baby #6 required us to make adjustments in the room arrangements. So baby #6’s boy-ness resulted in him sharing a room with his elated big brother, #3. It’s quiet, and calm. He loves it.
All four girls, in two to a room, are now stationed upstairs…
…in Sorority Row. There is nail polish. A separate bathroom. Lots of giggling and crying, sometimes both.
So each night, I tuck my sweet, quiet boy into bed, and head upstairs. And then tackle the girls’ bedtime, which goes something like this:
Thank Heaven for little girls… and boys!
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