Nearly 20 years ago I found out we were on our way to being a family of five.
The Husband was out of town, and our oldest was having her weekly day at Mother’s Day Out. I dragged our then-youngest to the doctor’s office with me and peed in a cup for a pregnancy test. Try doing that with an nine-month-old in a stroller hanging out with you in the bathroom. Tons of fun.
A couple of days later The Husband returned home and the two of us went out for lunch while our daughters were playing at a friend’s house. I recall that The Husband ordered an enormous hamburger, a full plate of fries and a milkshake.
About the time our food arrived, I broke the news. Baby number three was on the way in about 7 1/2 months.
He didn’t eat a bite for lunch that day.
We’d always planned on three. Or even more. Five or six would have been fine with me if we could have afforded it. But the third coming so quickly after the second was quite a surprise. And yes, we were aware how these things happen. It was still a surprise. I blame the sponge.
A couple of months later we got more information. This third baby was to be a boy. This time the news kept me from eating. I’d never in my life really known any boys, except for the few I’d dated and the one I married. None of our friends had little boys. I had no idea what to expect, what boy clothes to buy, how to raise a boy. It was such a shock I remember even wondering if it would be weird to breastfeed a boy. I had nursed both our girls for a full year each, and fully planned to do the same for their new sibling.
What a silly mama I was. It took about three seconds for me to fall head over heels in love with that little boy when he popped out, and I never looked back. Yes, he was very different from his sisters. His little crying voice sounded different. He even smelled different. As he grew he presented very different parenting challenges. We never really figured out if that was because he was a boy or because he was the youngest. It didn’t really matter. He is who he is and in my eyes he couldn’t be any better.
It didn’t take long for me to appreciate that our girls grew up with insider knowledge about boys and that our boy had the scoop on girls. No surprises about body parts and the specific garments designed for them. No mysteries about how to interact with the opposite sex. No misogyny-induced fear of playing with “boy toys” or “girl toys.” Everybody played dress-up and dolls, everybody built with Legos and learned to use common household tools.
Today my boy is home for fall break. He’s methodically checking off a list of household tasks I needed help with. He’s loaded new music on my phone, played a long game of cards with me, and eaten an enormous plate of roast beef, mashed potatoes, and gravy.
I couldn’t be happier to have a boy in the family.