It Had Nothing to Do With the Clothes

Every so often, it seems that the topic of selecting the sex of one’s children comes up in multiple places. Every time, I think, “I need to write a blog post about that someday.” Lucky you, “someday” is now.

Whenever I read a blog post about selecting a child’s sex, there are always many comments that include the idea: What if you get a girl who likes sports and doesn’t want to wear dresses?

Let me tell you why we specified our child’s sex the second time around. It didn’t have anything to do with clothes.

The first time we adopted, I did have a slight preference for a girl first. I had a sister. I wasn’t sure how to parent a boy. I thought it would be harder than parenting a girl. But, at that time, it was more important to be a parent than to be a parent to a girl. We were matched with S, and she was having a boy. That boy turned out to be amazing! I’m very glad we didn’t specify gender the first time, as we would have missed out on our wonderful son.

However, because we already had a boy, it was important the second time to be a parent to a girl. Boys and girls are different. Whether it’s because of genetics and biology or purely societal, I don’t know. I was already the parent to a boy, and I wanted to be a parent to a girl. I wanted to have the experience of parenting children of both sexes.

In my experience, people who have siblings of the opposite sex tend to get along better than people who have siblings of the same sex. I have no research to confirm this, just years of observing friends and family. My friend Annemarie and her two brothers are incredibly close, for example. My sister and I, not so much. I have cousins who are close in age, both boys, and they never got along terribly well. There are a lot of stories like that. Maybe it’s because there’s more rivalry between same sex siblings, or parents tend to compare them more, it just seems to me that same sex siblings don’t get along as well as opposite sex siblings. When same sex siblings do get along, there are opposite sex siblings in the mix, as with Annemarie and her brothers.

My sister has two boys, and she and her husband are (probably) done having kids. Without Cassie, this generation would be girl-less. This kind of goes back to the whole “girls are different than boys” thing.

Jackson asked for a baby sister, not a baby brother. In fact, for a long time, he was adamant that he did not want a baby brother, though he could never tell me why. When the waiting got longer, I asked him if he wanted a baby sister or a baby brother, and he said that maybe a baby brother would be OK. That was the first time he ever said that, sometime during 2011.

I don’t particularly expect a girl in general or Cassie in particular to behave a certain way or pursue certain activities. I mean, just look at Jackson. He took ballet for almost one year. He likes to dress up like a girl. He has a play kitchen. He chose a Littlest Pet Shop toothbrush (and the dental hygienist actually asked me if that was OK before she gave it to him. Sheesh!). He also plays soccer, just started Cub Scouts, and enjoys Transformers. I’m not into putting kids in boxes. My parents were. I hated it. So, Jackson has Transfomers and Little Ponies, and Cassie will too, if that’s what she wants. We saved Jackson’s fire truck and trash trucks for her to play with. Jackson has dolls, Cassie has dolls. We’re an equal opportunity household.

Will I be upset if Cassie wants to wear boys’ clothes? Actually, I’ve saved some of Jackson’s sports and character clothes for her. She’s worn Red Sox, Steelers, and A’s clothing, and not the frilly pink stuff, the real colors. She has a Tigger sweatsuit and a Simba jumper waiting for her in a bin. Yes, she has many dresses, really, more pink than I ever would have bought her. And I am enjoying dressing her up, far more than I thought I would. She’s so adorable! But I didn’t specify her sex so I could have my own personal Barbie doll.

I just wanted to be a parent to a boy and a girl. No more, no less.

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