Blue Satin Sashes

            Today is our anniversary.  Seven years ago today, I married the only other person I could imagine putting up with on a daily basis.  Of course, at the time, I had no idea I would rarely actually see him on a daily basis.  I had no idea that our careers would go the way they have, that our lives would bend sideways and my intense career focus would get sidelined for his growing ambitions.  We had no inkling that I would end up home with children while he spent nights in hotels.

            What we did know was that we wanted two children.  We had no idea how complicated accomplishing said children would be or the strength our relationship would need to survive fertility treatment in the face of constant absences from one another.  Nor did we quite gather the strain the compromises of life would put on us.  But we did know we were best friends and that we could do it together.

            And, did I mention we knew we wanted two children?  Well, four months ago, J was obviously home for a few minutes, because now it appears we are having a third child.  And today, on our anniversary, I will be going in for the ultrasound.

            J has never made one of these little appointments.  I go on my own and call him from the car.  “Yes, the baby looks healthy… No, there is no cleft-palate… Yes, it’s a boy.”  I don’t really care that he misses the ultrasounds.  We both feel that it is more important that he be there after the birth, and, amazingly, despite his absurd work life, he really is.  Our sons are strongly attached to him, and they see him a lot more than they really ought to, given the call of his work.  There are fallow stretches, times when work lets up and he is home every night for bath.  There are weekends and there are holidays (although he is yet again cutting a three-day weekend short to travel next week).  And we both agree that the top priority is family time.

            We agree on a lot about parenting, J and I.  We agree that kids need structure and routine.  We agree that we need to say “no” to useless crap and “yes” to books.  We agree that education is the most important investment we can make.

            And, we agree that dresses are not necessary for little girls.  Although J has less of an objection than I do, we are in agreement that if this one turns out to defy the odds and confirm her brother’s suspicions, she will operate under the same policy as her brothers: you get a dress when you are old enough to ask for one.  In the meantime, they are a hindrance to crawling and climbing, and we will return any we get as gifts.

            I know I am in the minority on this one, and even my husband feels it much less passionately than I do.  But I maintain that the only reason to put a little girl in a dress is to gender her.  We all know they are much less convenient to the business of childhood, and I know no grown woman who would go rock climbing in tights and a dress, yet we expect little girls to climb the jungle gym in just such attire.  Sure, when she is two or three, she may begin requesting dresses, and then I will be happy to oblige, just as I was with her older brother’s clothing requests. 

            In the meantime, girl or boy, this child will play with cars, dolls, trucks, stuffed animals, musical instruments, and, it goes without saying in our house, trains.  We will read books about two princes who fall in love and caterpillars who eat chocolate cake.  And, the kid will wear pants, because a girl spends 90 some years of her life conforming to gender standards and she deserves two years off at the start.

            Today, I will call J to wish him happy anniversary and hopefully to tell him that the baby looks healthy (touch wood).  I also will let him know whether we need to figure out another boy name, because we do tend to conform to gender standards when it comes to names, hypocrites that we are.  And, four months from now, we will get a chance to learn whether this particular event actually plays out the way we expected it to or whether, like everything else, we can only predict our lives so much.

26 responses to “Blue Satin Sashes

  1. Happy Anniversary!

    I think an ultrasound where you get to see your wee one is a lovely way to celebrate, myself.

    Girl or boy, all my warmest wishes for your family today consist of a few simple things: a healthy, wiggling, and growing peanut.

    I know your 3rd child will find a home full of love.

  2. Happy Anniversary! Feeling itchy at all? 🙂

    Funnily, one of my daughters insisted on dresses until she started school and realized how inconvenient they were at winter recess. Now I wish I could get her out of her jeans at least once a month.

    Best wishes for a good ultrasound.

  3. Happy Anniversary, Em!

    You have my empathy about a husband who works a lot. We’re a one-pony show most of the time around here.

    Now that I think of it, my daughter didn’t have many dresses when she was little. Even if we went to church, she was in something pretty with pants. (I suppose the flowers were girly, though). Your ideas make a lot of sense.

  4. Happy Anniversary!!

  5. Hey my anniversary is this weekend! (11 years) Anyhow, my husband has never been to an ultra sound, never took time off when any of the children were born. He did come to the amnio for David, but left the room when the needle went in. (thanks for the support hon!) I never got a “push” present (heard this is a Southern thing) or a present for our anniversary. Not that I buy him gifts either. All I know is I made the right decision with my soul mate.

  6. Happy Anniversary!

    One of the biggest surprises in entering the world of parenting is how early gender expectations begin. I’ve never understood why someone expects a baby boy to be “tougher” than a baby girl, and I think it’s supercute that my little boy’s favorite thing to do inside is pretend to vacuum or sweep. He also loves to walk around with baby dolls. He’s acting out what he sees, like every other kid. Anyway, let us know how the ultrasound goes.

  7. Let me echo the others– Happy Anniversary & Happy Ultrasound.

    We say ‘yes’ to books, too. You should see the number of bookshelves in our apt. & P has plans to build another this summer. And I say ‘YES!’ to your new home of CA for paving the way for those two princes to marry legally.

  8. Can’t wait to hear the results.
    I do have to say that I was determined not to gender stereotype my daughter. Tomboy that I was, I never wore make up or carried a purse until very recently. But, even though, I didn’t, my precious daughter, from the time she could walk, called all bags her “purses” and refused to wear anything unless it was pink or had flowers on it.

  9. Congratulations on the new baby-to-be!
    I enjoyed reading your thoughts towards dresses for baby girls. It really makes sense… dresses DO mess up the crawling and walking processes for babies, and babies don’t really want them.
    Pufferfish wears dresses all the time though in the summer… I guess we’re just suckers that way! 😉

  10. Happy Anniversary, and Congratulations!!! We, with J, will await the results of your ultrasound.

    You know, when I lived in India it became very clear why women wear skirts/dresses – because women’s bodies don’t allow them to pee out of their pants and there are no toilets, much less ones with stall door. Squatting on the side of the road is your only recourse – and, you can only do this in a skirt.

    Even in your temporary housing, I’m guessing you have a toilet. No dresses needed!

  11. I have seen more baby girls roaring in anger as they crawl their way up their fluffy dress and mash their little nose into the carpet. I would add to the list: hair bows (or those elasticky things my husband used to call “brain squishers”) and tights with ruffles on the bum.

    One of my girls was a twirly girly as a toddler and adored dresses, the other scorned them from day one until this very year when she decided she really would like a pretty prom dress. Black. No ruffles.

  12. Happy Anniversary! and Ultrasound Day – other than the actual birth, they’re the best!

    Fiona never wore dresses until she was 3 1/2. Like you, I didn’t think it made any sense. I loved popping her into a pair of leggings.

  13. happy anniversary.

    and let me just say that dresses are good for crawling babies when you want to SLOW THEM DOWN. If we were going somewhere when
    MQ was crawling I would purposely put her in a dress so she wouldn’t be able to get to the hostesses cat/china/coffetable full of food/etc before I could nab her. I found it rather handy. 😉

  14. happy sweet anniversary.

  15. Happy Anniversary!!!

    Best wishes at the ultrasound! 🙂

  16. Happy Anniversary!!

    Your description of your marriage and values sounds so like ours! Hoping all the news is good and you have lots to celebrate!

  17. Happy anniversary! I hope the u/s went well.

  18. I think that’s a pretty sweet anniversary present.

    Here’s to a routine u/s and a healthy baby!

  19. What a wonderful post! I particularly liked the line about J being home for at least a few minutes. Congrats on your anniversary and the new baby.

    Would it be presumptuous to hope you have a girl? 🙂

  20. Oh, happy day! Such great news.

  21. Have a wonderful anniversary! It’s really hard to get the time to appreciate each other when you’re smack in the middle of the little-children period, but it sounds like you are managing. Do hope you have an opportunity to do something non-child-related! And very best of luck for the ultrasound – seeing the baby for the first time is so incredibly special.

  22. Happy Anniversary…and best of luck at the appointment. May baby be strong and healthy.

    We found out the sex for our third as I could not imagine coming up with another boys name after 2 boys in less than a year…

    Good luck!

  23. zeynepankara

    Happy Anniversary!! 🙂

  24. Congratulations, twice!

  25. well, good luck with that idea about dresses…one of ours had screaming fits if we tried to put her in anything but a dress. That started at about 12 months and lasted over a year. The frillier the dress, the better, and she still (at 6) likes to stuff her pockets with toads and lizards. If you can actually kiss a frog to find a prince, my Sophia will be ready, fancy dress and all.

  26. Happy Anniversary. Glad you found out your baby is healthy. (I’m a little behind today, and just read ahead).

    I’m curious: you say you have a book “about 2 princes who fall in love.” What is the title? I’d like to take a look at it. My girls have 2 uncles who cannot marry, and it disappoints my oldest.