Eleven years ago this month, after a pregnancy of 43 weeks, The Boy came to us. He was nine pounds, ten ounces, and he was 21 inches long. He had little meat on him and his skin was dry- he was very overdue, but otherwise healthy.
We were not expecting to be blessed again with a baby, let alone a boy. You see, between our second and third biological children there was a gap of nearly six years, and a 16 week miscarriage. Then weadopted, and there was another gap of nearly six years before the FYG, our fourth biological (and sixth chronologically) child joined the family. These gaps were not our planning, and they certainly were not my desire. Given that it had take six years between babies for me to conceive the FYG, and given that I was only a month shy of 34 when she was born, I really didn’t expect to conceive again. I knew others who were still having babies in their forties, but given my track record, Ifigured I would not be one of them (and I have been right about that).
So I was extremely surprised (and delighted) when I ‘fell pregnant’just before the FYG turned two. It was, of course, obvious that the Lord intended for us to be the parents of daughters. After all, not only were all four of the biological children girls, I believed the baby we lost at 16 weeks was a girl as well, and the children we adopted so providentially were girls. We just were MEANT to have girls. And so when our seventh child was born and the midwife said, “OH, look what you have!”I briefly thought something was wrong. And when the Equuschick saw what we had, she screamed and ran to another room where we found her crying and praising God for a brother when it was time to cut the cord- a job she had requested.
And when it came time to dress our small son, my husband and I looked at each other blankly. We had no boy clothes. We didn’t even have gender neutral clothing. Every time a friend had a baby boy I passed on anything we had that might work for a boy. I gave away girl things, too, but I had kept several special outfits and home-made blankets- all of which were pink,, lacy, beribboned and bedecked in frou-frou. I didn’t even a pair of socks that did not scream sugar and spice and everything nice.
A day or two after the Boy’s birth, my husband and one of the girls went to a local consignment store and picked up a few boy outfits and a receiving blanket or two. We decided the pink plastic diaper cover didn’t matter that much since nobody would see it and it couldn’t give him a complex, but when we had another paycheck we bought some yellow and green diaper covers.
It took me six months to stop referring to the Boy as ‘She-I-mean-he.” My husband was working a nightmarish job and was seldom home during that time, and so it took him nearly a year to stop. I think it was nearly two years before we had made the switch from ‘Common Room Girls, time to get in the van!” to “Common Room Progeny, Time to get in the van!”
The biggest difference to me- for the longest time the only difference, was the external plumbing issue. The common hazard of getting sprayed is, it seems, not so common with uncircumcised boys, so that wasn’t an issue, but we did have trouble figuring out how to, um, so arrange things so that liquid when into the diaper and not up and out, if you follow me.
Our sixth child was a whirlwind in action, a fearless and energetic firecracker of a girl. We used to tell people God gave her to us sixth because He knew it would take that many of us to keep her from killing herself every day. That really wasn’t much of a joke. She climbed on the roof, fell down the well, and went to the ER some three times in a single month. So I did not know what people meant when they said that girls were so much easier than boys, so much calmer, so much less active. We actually had to encourage the boy to be bolder. Those were the days….
Now he is eleven. His hands are work roughened and calloused from digging in his fort and hammering on his tree-house. He is out in the driveway setting off small fireworks just now (with a lot of friends including a couple 20 something year olds, but still…). He has am amazing work ethic, and can easily outwork me. He nearly always accompanies me to the grocery store to load the cart and the boxes (we shop at bag your own groceries stores). He weeds the garden, and his favorite chore of all is to mow the lawn with the push lawn mower. He gives Blynken and Nod piggy-back rides for hours. His feet are about half an inch longer than mine- and I do not have small feet. He is addicted to Legos, Bionicles, and he would play computer games all day if I would let him (he gets 20 minutes a day).
Whereas once he struggled to speak (we called him our cave-child, and his first words were sound effects. He didn’t really talk well until he was four), he now monopolizes most conversations and interjects insightful comments and questions in our Tuesday night Bible studies.
He read his first words independently in October of 2005. I blogged about it that day. He was 7 1/2. The words he read independently were simple three letter words like bat, fat, and cat. This week he finished reading the third book in The Lord of the Rings series. Yes, a boy not reading at 7 read all three books in the LOTR trilogy at 11 (well, 2/3 of them at 10).
He doesn’t wash his face very well, but he still looks like an angel when he kneels to say his prayers.