There is something that I find interesting about our little family dynamic, and that’s the pairs we’ve kind of become in recent months. This is going to take a little explaining, so bear with me, or click that little ‘x’ at the top of your screen.
We have the so-called “million dollar family” of one girl and one boy, but I call BS on that term because I CAME from a kick-ass family of only girls. Naturally, my own family composition played a part in my thoughts and feelings as I became a mom. Twice.
Annie was born first, and then Mark 22.5 months later. People have asked us if we’re done, and we weren’t sure for a while. At this point (and finances allowing,) I think we are entertaining the idea of trying for one more….in a couple years. But that would be it. For sure. Three max.
I was wrong with both my predictions. I though my girl was going to be a boy, and my boy a girl. Ultimately we knew we’d be thrilled either way. We didn’t care then, and we certainly don’t now. We wouldn’t trade them for the world. But I will say…a lot of things come into play when you try to wrap your mind around raising girls versus raising boys in today’s society. But THAT has to be reserved for a whole different post. It’s a can of worms.
What I’ve found interesting is how we’ve kind of formed a “buddy system” if you’ll excuse the stupid term.
I read an article once about how fathers tend to bond with their kids when the kids are of a more interactive age, whereas mothers bond early from carrying them in their wombs and breastfeeding them. I don’t know how true this is across the board, but it’s certainly formed our system these days.
Mark and I are definite buddies. He likes to nurse A LOT. He also like to be held. He’s the one who’s up with me at 2am. Scratch that. He’s the REASON I’m up at 2am. Let’s call a spade a spade. I feed him in the semi-darkness, and we watch each other. Every so often he’ll break his latch to give me a little milk-drunk smile. It’s heart-crushing. We’re pretty much attached at the hip.
I feel awful sometimes when I don’t have the patience for Annie. She’s so animated and full of energy. She’s fun, fierce and always on the go. I love, love, love these things about her, but they’re also exhausting. I will say, though, I worry less than anticipated about how she’ll be growing up because she can already hold her own and stand her ground. She’s stubborn and strong-willed just like both her parents. But…she can make me a little nuts when Mark is extra needy.
Because of this, Andrew has really taken on the role of bestie to our girl. They do a lot together. They have their own little world full of chase games and library trips…grocery shopping adventures and storytelling. He’s the one who gets her to bed at night. I nurse Mark and listen to them argue over whether or not she has to wear pants, and how many books they’ll read. She gets BEYOND excited when he comes in the door in the evenings. They’re honest-to-goodness BFFs.
I came from a family of two daughters and a strong-willed mom. My dad was kind of a big softie who was okay with the ladies ruling the roost. Then he died in 2007, so for the past ten years it’s been us three women. We slowly incorporated (allowed?) spouses into our girls’ club, and along came Annika in 2014. Having a son two years later was exciting, but also felt like strange, unchartered waters. I knew nothing about baby boys. They were never part of my childhood. I had people warn me that “boys are wild”. I wanted to say “let me introduce you to my girl”.
It was amazing how fast Mark and I bonded, though. I think my comfort level was better the second time around. I had relaxed some of my anxieties, and was able to focus on my baby. I stressed less over the complexities of the newborn phase.
I take on his baths and usually solo because if Annie knew he was in the tub, she’d have to get in, too. I have (finally) perfected the swaddle that soothes him best. I’ve deciphered his tired cry from his hungry cry, and I feel like I’m slowly figuring him out on a level that’s unique to the two of us.
I know that family dynamics change over time as children reach various stages. It’s funny to refect on how I always thought I’d be more in-tune with daughters because they felt familiar. I was wrong. Here’s my little snuggle bug of a son, and I have this sense that we can do this. We can raise a boy to be a respectful, thoughtful individual if we give it our all.
I think society has this misconception that all men want boys and all women want girls, because I look at Andrew and Annika and I couldn’t imagine a stronger bond. They’re the two cutest peas-in-a-pod. Both hard-headed firstborns, but head-over-heels in love with each other. They both know what they like, they’re determined, bright and clever, and still the best of friends.
I think it goes without saying that we love both our kids beyond measure. We endeavour to be there for them in whatever ways they need us to be…regardless of who they become, who they love, or which paths they choose. There will probably be times when they prefer one parent over the other. Probably times when they gang up on us. It’s just interesting how…like most aspects of parenting…things can catch you off guard and dissolve those pre-conceived notions.
I suppose what’s important is to just take each stage for what it is, and enjoy it as best you can. Let them become who they’re meant to become, and change you in the process.
Happy Friday, Friends.