My son called the other day and informed me that I will have a granddaughter come November. Aside from being honored by the call, I found the conversation exciting and odd. The excitement erupted from reflecting back on my two daughters during their preschool days and the great times we had, with the expectation that I get to do it again with the next generation. The oddness was due largely to knowing my granddaughter’s gender in advance of her being born.
I never thought of myself as being old fashioned, especially since retro is in. But, there’s something about not knowing until the moment, which stops us from putting too many presumptions in place before we meet the new princess. I suppose there are still many things to learn like whether she will be pretty in pink, or wear a baseball cap like every other tomboy.
There will also be new rules, as her parents try to figure out how to raise her better than we parents raised them. Some things won’t change, as I’ll probably pass my figurative shotgun onto my son once she turns 12, so he can hold off the boys for a few more years.
One rule that some couples request is neutrally colored outfits instead of the typical blue and pink. However, putting a boy in a neutral yellow is not kosher in my book. Nor is putting a little girl in blue, as too often the parents will have to listen to strangers make comments about their little boy. Or, watch the stranger awkwardly try to say something palatable when they can’t figure out the gender living in the green jumpsuit.
It’s so much easier for distant relatives and strangers to see the child in clothing that communicates gender. Besides, aren’t babies too young for the debate surrounding theoretical signifiers of sex deconstruction associated with consumerism? Well, maybe not, but certainly it’s beyond their initial vocabulary.
I found that knowing gender this far in advance moved up certain conversations, like my sister and I talking about how we both knew it was going to be a girl. After all, my gut did reveal the gender of all three of my kids without the use of an ultrasound. And no, I’m not suggesting we pitch technology and return to the days of finding water with witching sticks.
Having a granddaughter in the making is a great honor and very intriguing. I can’t wait to sit on those little chairs sipping afternoon tea from a plastic cup, while eating rubber crumpets. Or, joking around, while we lay on the floor building skyscrapers with her Lego pieces, as she develops her hand eye coordination and architectural artistry.
Then come all the thoughts of her potential career, motherhood, and hobbies. Will she be able to sing or play an instrument? How will she do in school or… Do you see what I mean? Some of these thoughts never happened this early before the day of ultrasounds.
The one thing that makes me chuckle is that I no longer have to think of her as a baby, but now a baby girl. We’ve moved out of the “it” stage and into the “she or her” stage. And, once she’s born and the parents finally give up her name, we can call her by her personal name that will reflect many aspects of who she will become.
Let’s just hope they don’t call her Solar Powers, Super Powers, or Vera Powers (A past relative’s name). More importantly, let’s hope the new parents yell the name out the back door several times to see how it comes across, as many names have failed that test over the years. And, since this is the day of the Internet, it might be prudent to purchase her domain name in advance so she has lots of options ahead of her. Who would have thought?
Over all, I’m good with knowing it’s a girl before she’s born. In fact, the sooner she has a name, the sooner I can start a college fund to help her parents pay her future tuition of $76,406 per year at a private university like her parents attended. Based on many universities shifting to five-year programs it totals $382,030. Maybe I’ll ask my distant relatives to start funds to help as well.