17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Snaps and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

I'm not sure I have actually mentioned it yet on this blog, but the baby that is soon to be added to our family is a boy.

As I tucked my two little girls into bed last night - both in their frilly princess pajamas, I looked around their room to see a play kitchen, a baby cradle overflowing with babies, a dollhouse, and too many pink things to even make mention. Sure we have play tools, a bag of cars, balls, a really cool iguana puppet and a train set too (I have always tried to encourage broad interests in my girls), but the bottom line is they are girly girls through and through. Spinning, twirling, "I would rather watch the sunset than ride my bike with the neighbor kids" girly girls. And while I don't consider myself a complete girly-girl, I have come to understand my girls and I feel like when it comes to raising girls, I kind of know what I am doing (at least for now - those teenage years are a little scary).

I keep trying to imagine what raising a boy might be like, and the unknown is kind of freaking me out. According to my hynobirthing book, I really need to work out all my fears before giving birth to maximize my ability to get into "the zone". I have tried hard to notice all the little boys around me in my attempt to become Zen with raising one of them. But (all feelings about nature and nurture aside) they seem a lot different and in my eyes, more difficult. I am sure the "difficult" perception has a lot to do with my experience/confidence level, but nonetheless it's how I feel.

I've heard a few pieces of advice about raising boys over the last few months ranging from "Baby boys love their moms" to "They're way easier than girls" to my favorite which came at a baby shower for another woman who was having a boy after already having a girl:

"You can try all you want to keep toy guns out of your house and away from your precious little boy, but the next thing you know he will be chewing his peanut butter and jelly sandwich into the shape of a gun and shooting his sister."

Oh man. Am I in trouble?


  • I have 2 boys. One is 3.5 and one is 6 months. I grew up with 7 sisters and 1 brother, me being the 3rd oldest, so I know a little (very) about both. My oldest boy is very active, pretty normal for a boy. He does make a gun out of everything and anything, including the vacuum. I certainly don't know where he get's it from. Boys seem to be a lot more mouth and motion (as my mom says.) I love my boys. Of course I would love it if I had girls. I am sure your girls will love their brother and will be more than willing to "help" out with him. He may play more tea parties than you husband will care for but he will get over it. Don't stress out, you'll do great.
    posted by Anonymous Wendy at 3/26/2008 09:02:00 AM  

  • Carrie, I honestly had the exact same fears as you (and although I never got rid of those fears before the birth, my labor and delivery with #3 was by far the very best experience, hands down). Two girls, and then two boys.

    What's there NOT to worry about?

    I worried about everything from circumcision, to diaper changes, to relating emotionally on any level. I worried about potty training and his teenage years (I'm not even close to that, even now!).

    But the truth of it all is that you'll get it. Just like how you "got" your girls. Imagine, if you will, what it would have been like if you had a boy first. It's not any different now --you just need to buy some boy clothes. :)

    Honestly, it's fabulous. Boys are sweet (more active, trust me, much more active) and just as fun to raise as girls are --sometimes I prefer the boys because they don't seem to have emotional break-downs like my girls do. There's something to be said for the mother-son bond; it's a lot like the father-daughter bond. You'll love it, Carrie. You will.

    All of this probably won't alleviate any of your fears --in fact, you probably won't feel on top of it until after you've had your boy in your arms for a few weeks. Or months. But that's okay. We're all fearful about what type of mothering we'll have to encounter, even if it's just the differing stages we go through (birth, potty training, school,etc.).

    [Sorry that was so long!]
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 3/26/2008 09:06:00 AM  

  • My boy is only a year and I felt much like you do. Girls were my comfort-zone. My particular boy is very much like me in temperment, though, so in some ways he is less mysterious than my daughter was.

    The only difference I have observed is he seems more physical than my daughter was. While she liked to play with things, he likes to play with his body: climbing, running, jumping, bumping into things, etc. He gets great joy from this. It might have something to do with him not being #1, too--he has older and more able siblings to demonstrate cool tricks.

    anyway--you'll have fun. And for the first year, a baby is a baby is a baby--only the one changing the diapers knows the difference.
    posted by Anonymous ESO at 3/26/2008 09:06:00 AM  

  • Raising boys was not part of my plan. I honestly thought I was too girly to be in a household of boys. I was wrong. My boys have taught me that a little boy’s imagination is driven by adventure and wonder. They have shown me the beauty of just being at the beach all day or the endless fun that can be had with a simple ball. More importantly, they have taught me how to respect all that is related to boys (even baseball) because when it comes down to it little boys are wonderful. Enjoy.
    posted by Blogger cj at 3/26/2008 09:17:00 AM  

  • I have 1 boy and 3 girls. My son has been my easiest by far, but maybe that's because he was my first and my only boy? He is smart, funny, kind and considerate and he loves his mama, just like yours will. I bet your daughters are going to love having a brother, too.

    It's going to be a little bit different experience, but it's going to be great.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 3/26/2008 09:29:00 AM  

  • I felt the same way you do when I found out #1 was a boy. "WHAT???? I grew up with girls and mostly with my mom. I have no idea what to do with a boy???" All the boys I saw around the neighborhood seemed so tough and silly and hyper sometimes. I had a good friend with the sweetest little boy EVER, and I just kept saying "if I could have a little boy like Owen, I think I could do it". And that is totally what happened. I LOVE having a boy. I don't know if I buy into "boys are easier". I'm sure boys and girls each have their particular challenges. I have a friend who just had a boy a couple weeks ago after having two girls and she is SO IN LOVE with her little boy. I agree with Cheryl that it may feel a little intimidating, but all will come naturally in the end.

    PS - I feel the exact same way you do except for the fact that I'm having a GIRL. People keep dropping off clothes and I'm completely overwhelmed by the pink, pink, and more pink! Scary! It seems so funny to me that I hoped #1 was a girl, and now that I'm having one I'm completely intimidated. It's all an adventure I guess.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 3/26/2008 09:54:00 AM  

  • I have three Wild boys. They are awesome, sometimes mama's boys, independent, and active. We don't own any toys guns, but they make them out of Legos, PB&J's, fingers, etc.

    Mothering boys comes more naturally than I thought it would. My boys and I each have such a special connection. Boys are definitely more active, but all you have to say is, "We have a little boy" and people are so understanding. :) I I've gotten away with a messy house by using this excuse for 7 years now! Hee hee
    posted by Blogger Mother of the Wild Boys at 3/26/2008 10:02:00 AM  

  • I second what Cheryl said. You eventually just get it. Slowly it happens and you become comfortable in your new skin.

    That being said, labor with neither my boy or girl was easy (even with drugs), having a newborn is not easy, raising a toddler is not easy, and basically life, is not easy.

    Remember that the Gods of pregnancy/labor/kids/life are VERY fair. If one thing is easy for you, certainly you can expect that another will be quite difficult, whether dealing with boys or girls.

    As my Bishop always says, 'we are meant to struggle.' That's what life is about.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 3/26/2008 11:01:00 AM  

  • Uh...well, you've spent time around Simon so that should give you an idea of the "species" :). No seriously, you're going to do great. Boys are more rambunctious, more active - very true. But they are SUCH sweethearts with their mommies. There is nothing better than the sweet connection a little boy has with his mom.

    You're going to do great. And make sure you keep the diaper on top of his "business" until you're ready to change him - those boys spray...
    posted by Blogger Chloe at 3/26/2008 11:03:00 AM  

  • Chloe, great advice...I didn't learn that one until after many, many leakages.

    I think little boys (at least mine) are like puppies. You need to get them outside and running around every day, otherwise they will destroy your house. We do a lot of basic training: running laps, running uphills, racing to the mailbox. That is my advice, run them ragged. Carrie, you are set living in SoCal with a backyard.

    You also have to remember that your little boy won't arrive into this world making guns out of his pacifier and bottles (hopefully). You'll have a lot of time to get to know the little guy before you have to start dealing with behaviors.

    HF knew what he was doing when he gave me boys, I have much more "physical" patience...dealing with messes, having to spend hours at parks and swimming pools, etc. than "emotional" patience.... dealing with the emotional drama that many little girls exhibit.

    Yeah for little boys!!!
    posted by Blogger Jen at 3/26/2008 12:35:00 PM  

  • I don't have a girl, so I have nothing to compare to, but based on my experience with my boy - I would be happy with all boys! It's true about what everyone has said about the special connection between a boy and his mom. That is why there are expressions for daddy's girls and mama's boys.

    What do you mean you don't know what to do with a boy? Garden! Go on bike rides. Let him climb your fruit trees. Geo-cache. You guys are set for boys. And I am pretty sure your dh will have him on dirt bikes before you know it.

    You have some time to get used to "boy" before you have to deal with "boy". He's not going to come out in a jock strap making shooting sounds. He will be a bundle of boy joy!

    I just can't wait to see his clothes.
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 3/26/2008 12:59:00 PM  

  • Don't forget you're not alone. You have an awesome DH that is going to help with raising that boy.
    posted by Blogger brenbot at 3/26/2008 02:55:00 PM  

  • Carrie, I felt the same way you do. I have a 3.5 yo girl and a 15 mo. boy. When I found out I was having a boy, I was terrified (even though I grew up with 5 brothers, actually maybe that was why I was terrified). My son is the most loving, caring boy - always blowing kisses and hugging everyone. Yes, he is not as much of a snuggler as his sister is but he is definitely much more lively and active. I would not trade him for anything now. But it definitely took a little getting use to having a boy. You will do great and in a few months you will wonder why you even had these fears. BTW, to boys, everything that is somewhat round is a ball and my son thinks it should bounce.
    Good luck.
    posted by Blogger Elise at 3/26/2008 03:17:00 PM  

  • Hats off to you for just having another baby. I have 1 and she's 13 months old and I feel like "I just barely got through that 1st year by the skin of my teeth, not sure I can do it again." Hopefully I'll feel more confident when the time comes. (Yeah so this whole comment was basically about ME not YOU...sorry I should probably hire a therapist rather than thread jack for a little venting). Good luck!
    posted by Blogger miggy at 3/26/2008 03:59:00 PM  

  • Having a boy after two girls was also a little daunting for me.

    Strange as it may sound he has healed a part of me. My father wasn't great. And who wasn't wounded by at least one horrid teenage boy? Living with one (DH) you see every flaw and wonder what our Savior and Heavenly Father are really like.

    Watching little boys before I had my son I saw smelly rough and mean creatures. But when it is YOUR little boy you treasure every sweaty hug, every time they look to see if you were watching their newest stunt, when you are the one they run to when they skin their knee. So although different from girls they are no less precious, no less a miracle.
    posted by Anonymous jendoop at 3/26/2008 05:02:00 PM  

  • My one boy has been so much fun. We are very active, but we also have a lot of calmer activities where he can be creative and quiet. My husband and I often wonder what would be different if we had a girl, if we would play or talk differently with her than we do with Michael. Maybe as he gets older, there will be a lot more BOY things, but now we are just doing what seems natural.
    I have to tell you that after hanging out with you and your wonderful girls, I was super excited that you were having a boy this time. Maybe it was because you were right there for me in our new ward/house/parenthood and you helped me have more confidence as a mother to my son. I have no doubt that you will be an awesome mother to your son and you shouldn't worry.
    posted by Blogger danyelly at 3/26/2008 06:34:00 PM  

  • thank you to everyone for your calming comments. I don't know why it is so hard to remember that babies come out as babies and not 2 year olds. Nothing like jumping ahead a few years to add to the anxiety.

    Melissa and Brenbot - as for dh being a big help in raising him, there is no doubt, but with dh's track record of hospital visits with broken bones, that just adds to the anxiety of having a child with a "no fear" attitude like his father.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 3/26/2008 08:20:00 PM  

  • Yes, you probably WILL have a no-fear boy like his dad, but it will be OK.

    As for the gun thing. When my nephews were little, I was a hippie peacenik and convinced my sister to not let the boys have play guns, but even I had to cave in when I saw that they would shoot with anything, even a pencil.

    One thing I like about boys is that they lack either the inclination or word skills or social skills to "embroider the truth." Whereas all the girls I have known are good at talking their way out of trouble, the boys have always come clean right away, maybe with a rebellious "So?" but at least you aren't guessing.

    The clothes definitely aren't as much fun, though.
    posted by Blogger kathi d at 3/26/2008 08:34:00 PM  

  • kathi d- I tell you what, it's a little embarrassing, but the clothing is kind of a big deal for me. As a person who once made their living as a little girls clothing designer, sewing for and dressing my two little girls has been pure heaven. Now with a little boy on the way, I am at a complete loss. It's kind of frustrating but I am trying to use it as a new creative challenge.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 3/26/2008 08:46:00 PM  

  • Congratulations!! Boys are wonderful. I was totally worried about having a girl, remember? I love my boys. (AND my girl, but she doesn't know she's a girl, poor thing, with two brothers who run the show).

    The advice is right on- you'll do great, they do tend to love their mamas, and yes, they will make anything and everything into guns- even if you have never let them see a gun. Something about their DNA- you can't stop it. :D

    The boys clothes- well, it's really not as much fun as girls clothes, but nothing's better than a little boy in some coveralls and sneakers. Timeless and precious. And there ARE cute boys clothes, you just have to look a little harder and be a little more creative- I know that's not hard for you!
    posted by Anonymous tracy m (dandelion mama) at 3/26/2008 09:06:00 PM  

  • Carrie - it's not the something you can sew necessarily, but I LOVE buying shoes for T. Little boy shoes are the coolest.
    posted by Blogger beth at 3/26/2008 09:31:00 PM  

  • snaps? Isn't it SNAKES and SNAILS?

    I want to know about the snaps version...or did you change that yourself?
    posted by Blogger Kage at 3/27/2008 10:19:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 3/27/2008 10:19:00 AM  

  • Apparently there are a few versions. I have always heard snaps, but snakes and snips are also common. Who knew?
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 3/27/2008 10:50:00 AM  

  • just wanted to offer a different view of boys: my daughter is the active, physical child, and my son is the cautious, content with quiet play, more affectionate one. I understand my son more because his temperment is more like mine, my daughter is lost on me becuase she's more like my husband. I too was afraid when I found out I was having a boy as child #2, but all those fears disappeared as soon as he was delivered and given to me to hold. Good luck.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 3/27/2008 11:02:00 AM  

  • Hi Carrie, I've been thinking about boys and girls since you put your post up. Here's a bit of a different take on it.

    While I think there are some differences between boys and girls on average, I see so many differences between just girls, or just boys. I'm sure that you see that with your two girls. And while I see differences between my oldest two--a girl and a boy--I try not to attribute it solely to their gender, but just to the fact that they're different kids. In fact, if I think about them and their personalities as determined by "boy" and "girl", I am more likely to reinforce gender stereotypes that I tend to think have little to do with actual gender differences.

    So, my advice is to

    1. find some clothes that you like for your boy(it's true--it's not nearly as fun to dress a boy)

    2. but, to just wait to see what he's like. Maybe he will be rambunctious, jumping off the couch, and shooting things with his pb&j sandwich. But, then again, maybe not. As his personality evolves, you will know what to do with him.
    posted by Anonymous Michelle at 3/28/2008 06:48:00 AM  

  • Michelle-

    Thanks for your take on the matter. You have spelled out the frame of mind with which I would love to approach this birth. I think it is the small and seemingly more difficult gender different realities we are going through right now (picking names, figuring out what he might wear for his blessing, and deciding on circumcision) are making it harder for me to look at the future with unclouded eyes. Your thoughts on every child being different regardless of gender is very true. My girls are the same in so many ways and yet their personalities are completely different. It is kind of exciting to see who this new child will be.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 3/28/2008 08:25:00 AM  

  • We still haven't settled on something for our little guy to wear at his blessing (not until May), so if you come up with something, I'd love to hear about it. Although, if you make something, which you very well might, we probably wouldn't be following suit!
    posted by Anonymous Michelle at 3/28/2008 09:35:00 AM  

  • Maybe you could just dress him as a girl as a sociological experiment.

    posted by Blogger kathi d at 3/28/2008 12:51:00 PM  

  • Finding something for boys to wear at a blessing is SO HARD! It was amazing that I found something for T at The Baby Gap. It was right before Easter, so all the really nice stuff was out and what we found was perfect. Maybe there are some Easter leftovers out there?????? Carrie, you'll have to post a picture of what you end up doing for baby boy for his blessing (either here or on myfamily).
    posted by Blogger beth at 3/28/2008 01:41:00 PM  

  • have three Wild boys. They are awesome, sometimes mama's boys, independent, and active. We don't own any toys guns, but they make them out of Legos, PB&J's, fingers, etc.

    Mothering boys comes more naturally than I thought it would. My boys and I each have such a special connection. Boys are definitely more active, but all you have to say is, "We have a little boy" and people are so understanding. :) I I've gotten away with a messy house by using this excuse for 7 years now! Hee hee
    posted by Anonymous cribs for twins at 3/02/2012 08:50:00 AM  

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