Monday, March 24, 2014

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My Fear of Having Another Girl (Part III)


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After Christmas break, I went to work and told everyone that we were having another girl. My coworkers had two reactions.
One: That is amazing! Congratulations!
Two: How do you feel about that?
I couldn’t really tell how to take the last question. I wasn’t sure if this was a comment on the gender of my baby, or if it was a comment on my over populating the world. I work at a university in Oregon. Many of the people I work with have strong feelings about over population.
My reaction to their question was not the best. I often said, “I’m little nervous. I hope she’s not as challenging as my current daughter.”
I was chatting in my office with a woman who works down the hall from me named Sarah. She works in a different department, but we have gotten to know each other through mutual friends and hallway chitchat. She is a smart lady. Tall and slender with brown hair. She holds a Ph.D. in English, is in her early 40s, and is married without children. I told her about Mel and I having another girl. I told her about my fears, and about Norah and how I love her and am frustrated by her at the same time.
“I just fear that if we have another girl she is going to be the same as Norah, and I don’t know if I can handle that.”
“You know, Clint,” Sarah said. “You’re making this out to be a problem with girls, when it sounds to me like a Norah problem.”
She looked me right in the eyes when she said it. She wasn’t judgmental. She didn’t come at me with an angry feminist rant, although she probably had the right to. She just said it, plain and straightforward, and I will admit that it gave me pause.
I felt like a fool.
Sarah’s comment helped me to realize that the little girl Mel and I were about to have was going to be her own little person, with very different hopes, dreams, and aspirations. She will have her own personality and her own problems and they will be unique. She will probably look a lot like Norah, just like how Norah and Tristan look a lot like Mel and myself. We are a family. It’s expected. But I can’t go into this thinking that my new daughter will be like my older daughter just because she is a girl. And when I think back, I am kind of ashamed of myself for falling into that trap.
And who knows, perhaps by that time, I might have a better grasp on this whole parenting thing. Perhaps I will have finally learned how to stick to my guns and not allow myself to be manipulated by Norah’s cute powers.
Later that night, I went home and told Mel about my conversation with Sarah.
Mel nodded. “Yeah…” she said. “She’s probably right.”
“I know,” I said. “I feel like an ass.”
Mel nodded.
I crouched down, like I often do after work, and kissed Mel’s round tummy. Only this time I said, “Little lady, who ever you are, I will love you.”
I looked up at Mel, and we smiled at each other.

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Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, and a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His essays on parenting and marriage have been featured in New York Times Motherlode, Huffington Post Parents, Huffington Post Weddings, and The Good Men Project. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo by Lucinda Higley


Jill said...

I think having another baby will help your situation out immensely. It's easier not to give in when you have a baby to remind you that the family only needs one baby at a time, not a 4 year old one and a 4 month old one. your expectations of older children quickly rise when you have a new little one to care for....if that makes any sense.

Clint said...

Jill: I sure hope you are right.