It’s a girl thing

by Michelle Ham

 

For a while there I had visions of my daughter and I being just like The Gilmore Girls, Rory and Lorelai.

I mean, I didn’t fantasise that I might become a single mother running an inn and kissing my daughter’s teachers or anything like that, but I had happy imaginings of us sitting in a favourite local cafe, pigging out on an inordinate amount of greasy, fatty delicious food while bantering away wittily, wearing really lovely outfits.

That image has kind of been altered now that I’m pregnant again. I mean, we could still eat some bad food and be rather witty together, but it won’t be that ‘two quirky girls against the world’ kind of set-up. (And Sienna has many lovely outfits but like most mums, I haven’t bought myself anything new in a long time).

If I have a son, it will be even less Gilmore-esque. A boy would probably hog most of the bad food, for starters. Actually, no he wouldn’t. Us girls have rather enormous appetites, of which would rival the hungriest growing boy out there. Would a boy even come to a favourite eatery with us? Maybe he’d be off playing soccer with his dad. He probably wouldn’t appreciate the genius of our witty banter. But I shan’t be sexist. Maybe he’d be talking show tunes with me while my daughter went to a basketball game with her dad, who can predict these things?

All I know is that there’s a seismic shift in perceptions once you see that blue strip on the pregnancy test the second time around.  

I mean, for a while there, we were pretty sure we’d stop at just the one child – hence the Gilmore Girls musings (and Sienna always loved the theme song, seeing as I used to watch it on Pay TV on many a morning while breastfeeding her). So when we changed our minds, and fell pregnant fairly soon after re-evaluating our family plan, the logical part of our brains just had to ask, “What the hell are we doing? We only just kinda got the hang of parenting one child!”

The answer was pretty much: “Okay, so it’ll be challenging at first, but we’re going to love it. Sienna’s going to love it too, once she gets used to the idea of sharing her Mummy and Daddy.”

It’s hard to imagine loving another baby as much as we love our little Sienna, but apparently it’s not a problem for parents the world over. There’s not a limit to your love reserves, we’ve been assured.

I started to comprehend that when I saw the ultrasound of little Lester, our latest creation (what can I say; we like to give our unborn children daggy nicknames). It made everything real, and exciting. Especially when Sienna exclaimed, “Bubba!”

So the dynamic will be different. There’ll be two children to load into the car. Two children to deal with at the supermarket. Two lots of nappies to change. A twin stroller to struggle with when we’re out and about. Hmmm, on second thought, I don’t think we’ll bother going anywhere for some time. I’ll become a recluse.
Still, eventually, we will emerge from the house triumphant. I’ll be a confident and capable mother of two, I just know it!

But until baby number two comes along and alters our world, I’m doing my utmost to share plenty of Gilmore-worthy moments with my little girl. She and I are taking the mother-daughter bonding thing to the hilt, going to cafes for baby cinos, making trips to the zoo and embarking on beach visits. We’d like to do Friday night dinners with her grandparents, but alas, they live far away. Sienna’s daddy gets to join us on most of these jaunts as well, of course, but then again he works five days a week.

So my non-paid-work week days are brought to life by my little girl gabbling away about Tiddy and Bummy, (her favourite teddy and bunny respectively), reading ‘Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes’ and me doing my best to ignore my girl’s tantrums when she has to let another little girl from Mother’s Group play with the pram and dolly.

The end of an era is approaching, and it’s bittersweet. I won’t have as much time to play Lego and draw with crayons and spot ‘no-no’s’ (my daughter’s word for much-disliked snails) with my gorgeous toddler. But she will know the joys of having a sibling to play with, fight with, and to teach bad habits to. And we parents will know the joys of unconditional love for not just one, but two beautiful children!

Besides, I love being pregnant again. Just gives me a great excuse to indulge in all that greasy, sick-making crap food that the Gilmore Girls are so good at consuming.  

It’s a girl thing, and we love it.

 

© Michelle Ham

“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”*

I’ve always been aware of gender conditioning and actively tried to combat any lingering prejudices or stereotypes in my own parenting, even down to encouraging dolls with my boys when they were little. It’s great to read people writing about gender issues they’re experiencing with their kids. For too long these subjects have been discouraged or silenced. I’d love to publish some more creative writing on this topic, especially if you are struggling with a child who actively tries to move away from gender normative preferences. A society where everyone can be themselves thanks Gloria for those aspirational words.

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* Gloria Steinem