The Dude Reads the Times


Pax Arcana

I was tempted to take this article in the New York Times — a guest blog by a lady who really wanted a girl but had a boy instead — and do it up FJM-style.

But frankly I’m not up to it.

So instead, I’ll let the Dude, Walter, Jesus, and a few others take the honors (WARNING — The WordPress audio player doesn’t show up in Firefox, so use IE7):

Wanting Daughters, Getting Sons

When I conceived my first child, I wanted more than anything for him to be a girl. I whispered at night to my burgeoning belly, “Be a girl,” much to my husband’s horror and dismay. It’s not that I didn’t want a son. It’s just that I wanted to know for sure I would be able to have a daughter, and so having one first would get that worry out of the way.

I had been planning my whole life to be the mother of a daughter. I had mothered 22 Cabbage Patch Kids, named all my Madame Alexander dolls, and signed imaginary Christmas cards with the names of the children I would someday have.

My future daughter had a lot of Anne of Green Gables and Ramona Quimby to look forward to, as well as French braids and tutus and Mary Janes and apron dresses. She was going to watch “Felicity” marathons with me and ogle the new J. Crew catalog and have annual viewings of “It’s a Wonderful Life” with me under a blanket with hot chocolate and lots of whipped cream. She was going to be, I thought, my best friend. You know, until she reached her teenage years and all. But that would take a loooong time, and then she would come back to me and we could plan a wedding together and I could watch her fall in love and have babies of her own.

My worst nightmare, back then, was that I would end up being a Mom of Boys, one of those women with a “practical” haircut and flat shoes who spent her afternoons at the baseball field and washed a lot of sweaty athletic clothes. A Mom of Boys bought a lot of boring clothes for her children — polo shirts and khaki shorts and Nike trainers. She was looked on with pity by the Moms of Girls, who color-coordinated with their daughters and took them on trips to the American Girl store and “The Nutcracker” and who had princess birthdays and tea parties with their mommy friends.

As you have probably guessed, my first child defied me, as he continues to do to this day, and was, indeed, a boy. And I loved him with all my heart. But when I conceived my second child unexpectedly, I thought for sure it was fate. I wasn’t yet ready for another, so surely this one would be a girl….

Nope, another boy. A sweetheart of a boy. A really, really good little guy. Then we had our third child, our last child, a child I thought for sure would be a little tomboy sister and…all of a sudden, here I am: Mom of Boys.

I now see it as a challenge to redefine this whole Mom of Boys thing. I’m not giving up my ribbon flip-flops and I am not giving up my Vera Bradley diaper bag. I still wear lip gloss and I do not in any way have a practical haircut. I can play Star Wars and Transformers, but I draw the line at Pokemon — I don’t do anime.

I trudge out to the soccer fields, and root for teams where the girls are the stars, if only because they are heads taller than the boys. I drool over their cute little pink Pumas and make sure my own boys have the cutest soccer water bottles and cute haircuts and cute backpacks. And I am making new literary lists full of Henry Huggins and Superfudge and the Hardy Boys and Magic Tree Houses. I’m still going to read them “Anne of Green Gables,” because they need to know about strong female characters (like their mother). They are still going to have to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” with me so they can see what a wonderful character George Bailey is. I want sons like George Bailey — sons who make good, close friendships and who can dream big dreams and who fall in love.

As I raise my children, I am forever conscious that I am raising little men. I want them to be men who take responsibility, who aren’t afraid of commitments and who thrill with the thought of a challenge or an adventure. I want them to be both spontaneous and thorough. I want them to be able to cry and show emotion. I want them to love and be loved.

It’s all the same wishes I would have had for daughters, when it comes down to it.

The clothes just aren’t quite as cute.

Wanting Daughters, Getting Sons [NYT]



Filed under journalism

8 responses to “The Dude Reads the Times

  1. kebmurphy

    OMG I actually know this girl (she is my friend on FB, even, check it out!) — she was my year at college. She’s actually a very nice person and good writer. She got a LOT of flak on the comments section of the site. But I understand what she was writing.

  2. I wish I could participate in your blogsperiment, but I haven’t seen The Big Lebowski. This is where you go, “You have SEEN the BIG LEBOWSKI? OMGZ…” like everyone does about 100 or so movies that I haven’t seen.

  3. KEB — She should change her name to Allison Slater Tater.

    Padre — OMGZ!

  4. Fallen Angel

    i couldn’t finish big lebowski. third most overrated movie behind scarface and the departed.

    regardless of my first child’s sex (hehe, sex), it will enjoy professional wrestling, the tampa bay rays, and metal. so help me.

  5. By the way, I downloaded a bunch of songs from the Teenage Bottlerockets album (the three you recommended plus two chosen at random).

    They are literally ALL. THE. SAME. SONG.

    Not bad, mind you, for what they’re trying to do. But Jesus effing Christ on a tricycle, they could at least change the guitar rhythm or tempo or something once or twice…

  6. Oh, and the Big Lebowski is hilarious. John Goodman should win a lifetime achievement award just for that part.

  7. Fallen Angel

    well, sometimes they change the words they sing

  8. Good enough. I’ll take it.

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