i had always considered myself a ‘boy’s mommy.’ In fact, before having children, it never even occurred to me that i could physically produce a girl from my body. I just assumed that since i grew up a tom boy who loved sports and everything outdoors, that naturally i would have all males. So, imagine my shock during the ultrasound when the tech told us our first child was going to be a girl. I cried all the way home, and vividly remember sitting in my Honda civic in our driveway completely at a loss on how to raise a girl.
Turns out that having a daughter was the perfect fit for me as a mom. It was exactly what i needed but could not envision for myself. Mostly because i did not have any other categories for girls other than a “tom boy”(which is fine until puberty) or “pink princess girl.” The latter of which i could not fathom having as a daughter.
Since i had about 5 months to adjust to the notion, when she arrived i felt like more excited and free in having a girl. I did not want to be ruled or controlled by what i wanted or would make me feel more comfortable as a mom at the expense of who she was created to be. Though i will say, her nursery was yellow and brown. No pink.
As she grew from baby to toddler, i had a variety of toys and things for her to play with to discover her own affinities as she progressed along. It was the normal things that most kids enjoy. She liked animals for instance, particularly puppies. She did not really have a chance to become afraid of dogs since when she was 5 months old we had a house full of 10 yellow lab puppies. don’t ask. please. it will make me have tics.
The first thing that she latched onto…with great passion was Elmo. He was her first love. That relationship carried her well into her second year until she discovered what later became affectionately known by me as….”my two sons.” These two fellas went with us everywhere. She had one in each hand whether we were headed to the grocery store, mall, or the park. Woody, Buzz, and crew became a big part of my daughter’s development into imaginative play. Even now as she is getting ready to turn 12 yrs old and is moving away from that world slowly, she is still sought out by other children to make up games and characters in an effort to pass the time.
i remember one time shortly after i found out that we were going to have another girl, i took my daughter to the Disney store just to poke around. You remember those outings. The one’s that make no sense except to pass the hours until afternoon nap time. I was daydreaming about having another girl and my feelings about it. At this point, i had grown to really enjoy becoming more feminine as my daughter and i evolved together. It was changing my ideas about what it meant to be soft and maternal.
In my musing, i looked up and noticed that we were sitting in the small section of the store with all of the toy story characters, which was completely ensconced in all of the Disney Princess paraphernalia. My two and a half year old was oblivious as she was holding buzz light year and pushing all of his buttons. She felt at home. I thought to myself….ok, i can do this girl thing again. it’s going to be alright.
well, a story for another day is that i did indeed have a girl who at the same age as her sister in the story above refused to wear anything but tights and a skirt. everyday. And you know what, it worked for her, and i rolled with it. She was the one that introduced princesses into our lives as she wanted to dress up as Belle and Ariel all the time.
Once while participating in a three-year old gymnastics class, i was walking by the group on the way to the bathroom and heard the entire class singing…”Belle, Belle, jump up and down. Jump all around. Belle, Belle, now sit down.” i knew that they were allowing each child a turn in the center of circle to get the wiggles out, but i couldn’t for the life of me fathom someone naming their child Belle. So, I turned around to find my little girl with her blonde curls bouncing all over as she “jumped up and down”. She had told the teacher that her name was Belle.
all this to say, we are very excited for this friday when the three of us will go and see Toy Story 3 in the theater. I am so thankful to have this vehicle for revisiting the early years of my journey into motherhood. I’m looking forward to going back into a created world that became so much a part of our family. and of course, I’ve really missed ‘my two sons.’