My husband and I thought that our family was complete with our two girls, Lauren now six and a half, and Kate, who just turned four. Imagine our surprise when we learned we were expecting a third. And our shock when we found out I was carrying a boy!
We were both thrilled to see the boy parts on the ultrasound. We couldn’t believe it. We had been so sure we would have another girl. And we were fine with another girl. We know girls. We love baby girls and we already have lots of pink. I was interested to see, other than the obvious, how boys and girls are different as babies, before the pressures and expectations of society’s gender rules would affect their behavior.
For Cooper’s newborn months, he was a sweet baby, rather androgynous as most babies are, and the only differences were diaper changes and blue clothes. He was an avid nurser and loved mama best, but so did my girls. He was colicky and loved to held and snuggled and was not fond of the car-seat–but my girls were the same.
I started noticing differences around the ages of six months when Cooper began to take an interest in toys. I made sure to expose him to both girls toys–which we had in plenty–and boy toys–which we were just starting to acquire. If I handed Cooper a doll, he would glance at it and throw it. If I handed him a block or a ball he seemed more interested. Now in hindsight, I am wondering if throwing the doll was more about the throwing and less about disliking the doll. At almost 14 months, he loves, loves, loves to throw things.
By the age of 14 months, Lauren our first child, had 40 words. I know because we counted–I was much more on top of her baby book (don’t tell the other two!). Cooper at the same age has a total of four words–mama, good girl (guh guh) which he calls our dog and bah (ball). However, he pretty much exclusively says ball. He’s always on the lookout for them. The neighbors have basketballs in their front yard so he loves to stand on his changing table and look out the window pointing and repeating “Bah, bah, bah, bah!” When he was finding eggs, hidden in plain sight in the grass on Easter, he went around pointing and gleefully saying “Bah! Bah!” I have never seen a child so obsessed with balls. As a female, I have to say, I just don’t get it. They’re boring. They aren’t fuzzy or necessarily colorful. They don’t have expressions or frills. But after doing a little research, I found out that the wiring in males brains makes them attracted to things that move. Maybe it’s the old hunting instinct coming through.
I’d by lying if I said my husband and I weren’t thrilled and amazed by our little man and his emerging skills, personality and his pre-manlike love of the remote control. But I am determined to teach my little boy to give kisses–right now all I’ve gotten are a few fat lips because he also loves to head butt me. Sigh. At least we’ll be mixing up the girl drama with some head butting, right?