A girl's life is all I had ever known. I have two sisters and zero brothers. When we were growing up in Japan, our dad was never around. He was usually overseas, either in South Africa or the US, working hard and preparing to immigrate the rest of his family here.
Growing up, on the rare occasion when I daydreamed about becoming a mom, I could only picture myself with a baby girl. After all, most dolls are female -- not that I played with them very often either, because I was quite a tomboy -- except for Ken, whom my sisters and I stripped down one day to discover that he was exactly the same, anatomically speaking, to Barbie and to us girls. We had heard rumors that boys were supposed to be somewhat different than girls, but how were we to know? We had no point of reference.
When I was a teenager, my parents sat me down for their one and only Birds and Bees lecture.
"Boys are different," they intoned, very seriously. They then cleared their throats.
"They are like animals."
This imaginative 15-year old's mind went wild. All sorts of zoo animals began popping up in my head: giraffes, lion, bears, elephants...
Animals? What does that mean?
As I matured into adulthood and became acquainted with bachelors, I somewhat began to understand what my parents were referring to. I noticed that most single guys are like bears with furniture, but that didn't stop me from marrying one. Taming a wild beast is one of the main duties of a new bride. (For the record, David was actually quite tame -- more like a panda than a wild boar!).
For the first couple of months after finding out that I was expecting, I continued to imagine myself holding a baby girl. I think I even began referring to the baby as a "she" while it was still a zygote. This was an automatic response.
One day at the ultrasound, the technician found an extra part between the baby's legs and declared the shocking truth: it's a boy! My mind spun around 180 degrees. A boy? What will we do with a boy? For a moment, it was devastating news. You would have thought that I was just told that there is a tiger living inside my womb. It was totally unexpected. I looked over helplessly at David.
He had a happy look on his face. "I'm already thinking about playing tennis and golf together," he beamed. And then I realized that it was all going to be okay.
Indeed, we had a little tiger born into our family, a boy born during the Year of the Tiger according to the Chinese zodiac. He is everything I could never have imagined, but that's only because my intellectual capacity was so narrow. Being a parent to a boy has opened up a whole new world to me, my sisters, my parents, and to David's family as well.
Once we got used to life with a baby boy, we had to go through the same shock again when we found out that our second child was going to be girl, but that's another blog on another day.
Were you surprised with your baby's gender? Did you ever wish you had the opposite? Tell me about it here in the comments below!
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