I never pictured myself as the mother of a boy.
I come from a house of girls. Had lots of girlfriends growing up. Did Girl Scouts. Participated in all-girl sports. Babysat for families with little girls.
My first experience with boy children came during my stint as a summer camp counselor. Assigned to the five-year-olds, I ran through my roster, and of the 12 kids, realizing more than half were boys.
Five-year-olds are, well, busy by nature. Hardly a one could “sit still and listen.” And really, the girls were just as active as the boys. But there was this subtle difference in temperament between the five-year-old boys and the five-year-old girls.
The little girls asked me if I was married, if I had kids. The five-year-old boys screamed “MISS SARAH WATCH ME” as they launched themselves off the edge of the playground equipment and onto the other five-year-old boys watching below.
After college I worked at a teen center for middle school boys and girls. Really, tweens are tweens. But again, I noticed these funny differences between the tween girls and the tween boys. The tween girls quizzing me about my love life and the tween boys sneaking into the boys bathroom to flush billiard balls down the toilet. Note: when tween boys say something to the effect of “we’re going on a mission” and file into the boys bathroom, send in a chaperone.
I loved working with both groups, both the boys and the girls. In my opinion, they were both equally challenging, just in their own ways.
But since having a boy in my close family unit wasn’t part of what I knew, I had trouble envisioning myself as a mom of a boy. Sure, I’d had some experience with boys during my camp and teen center days and with my friend’s kids. But raising my own boy? What did I know about that?
When I texted my girlfriend (who has two boys) after the 20 week sonogram with the message “BOY!” I followed up with asking for words of wisdom.
She said watch out when you change his diaper so he doesn’t pee all over you.
There has to be more, right? More I need to know other than head’s up during the diaper change? Like some secret boy-raising knowledge?
But, really, what did I know about raising a little girl, either? I have a mom and a sister and lots of girlfriends, and clearly, I’m a lady, but that doesn’t mean I know everything about everything about being a woman. Every one of Kate’s little girlfriends are different with their own quirks and personalities and temperaments.
Clearly, girls and boys aren’t the same. But as I navigate the parenting waters with Kate, I’m more and more convinced that parenting each child isn’t so much about their sex but more about who they are. And that’s why parenting is so hard. There’s no secret sauce to raising anyone.
But I will take that advice about projectile boy pee.