When I was pregnant with Emilio I wanted a girl.
No real good reason, mostly because I was a first born girl so it was my frame of reference. And I had a great E name for a girl.
But, I knew he'd be a boy. Especially after the 20 week sono tech said "he" and then quickly corrected herself, "Or she!"
So fast forward to my second pregnancy. I wanted a girl. I think I wanted one of each, I think I wanted someone like me (even though Emilio is very much like me in many ways). I wanted to parent a girl.
I didn't want to her to be defined as her sex organs.
I wasn't interested in pink on pink on pink. I wasn't looking to decorate a nursery in a girly theme. In fact, Ava doesn't even have a room.
I didn't fill toy baskets with girl toys. I didn't even buy new toys.
It wasn't up to me to define what she would play with and how. So I didn't want to.
Now, I did not completely gender neutralize either infancy for my children and that's not what this is about, although I absolutely can see a place for it.
I bought her sparkley gold Toms. I bought her clothes designed for girls. I was more looking to avoid completely defining who she was and what she should be interested in and play with based on her sex organs.
The signs were there, but it wasn't until recently that I've come to realize that Ava came out with a plan, and that plan was to do and be whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. From the moment she could, she told us no.
No, I won't spurn your wishes that pink be avoided. I'm going to become obsessed with that color.
No, I won't sit and be cute and quiet like people assume girls will be. I'm going to yell "Poopy Diapers" on the morning rush hour train whenever I please.
Yes, I like dressing up, but No, I won't let you do cute things to my hair, it will be unruly like me.
And watching who she becomes has been a good lesson in self reflection.
Ava loves traditionally girly things. I once picked her up from daycare and she was wiping down a play table, wearing a dress, with a baby being worn around her waist.
Guess what? She sees me do that. She's that baby I wore.
Ava's favorite color is pink.
Guess what? I enjoy the color pink too.
Ava loves to cook in the kitchen.
Guess what? I do too.
Ava likes to boss people around.
Guess what? You get my point.
However. Ava also wants to do anything her brother is doing. And why wouldn't she?
I spent 15 minutes yesterday methodically trying to get the last bits of rainwater out of our smaller basketball hoop so she could have it inside to play with too.
The day before, she had shot basket after basket in the larger hoop. Running in excitedly to tell me each time she scored.
In a pink dress that she insisted on wearing.
So what's my point?
Our kids. They'll be who they want to be. And you'll shape that, society will shape that, their own brain chemicals will shape that.
We have to let go, and work to not define it too closely as we go. Take interest in their interests, don't fill their lives with something specific because it is what you want them to be interested in. Go with the flow as they decide where to spend time and energy. And watch, and enjoy.
It is a lesson in backing off, giving in and enjoying the ride. The pink blur of a ride.