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Tangled Up in Blue

I carried my relaxed, zen attitude about #2’s gender all the way into my OB’s office and onto the ultrasound table. J managed to be in town for the appointment, thanks to some schedule finagling and lots of plain old luck, so we were both there watching the screen, eager to count fingers and toes—and certain we’d hear we were having another girl.

Nope. #2 is most definitely NOT a girl. Even J, who has no medical training whatsoever, could see the evidence on the ultrasound monitor (that is, when #2 uncrumpled himself from the tiny little ball he likes to hang out in.) And my peaceful, it-doesn’t-matter-what-we’re-having serenity went right out the window.

Of course we’re thrilled. Having one of each feels almost too good to be true; I still haven’t gotten my head around how lucky we are to be parents to a son and a daughter. But I’m also terrified. I feel like a first-time mom all over again, something I never thought could happen. I’m getting the boy I always wanted, and all I can think about are the scary parts—like hundreds of Matchbox cars all over the house, endless cuts and bruises, and (EEK!) getting peed on during diaper changes.

I don’t know how to do “boy.” Will I have to learn how to be a mom in a totally new way? Will I do a good enough job? I felt so prepared to have a boy during my last pregnancy, and then E came, and suddenly my world was filled with butterflies and crayons and pink plastic doll furniture. Turns out I’m pretty good at coloring and tea parties. But I’ve never been any good at sports. Bugs gross me out. And messes drive me crazy. What if #2 doesn’t want the kind of comforts I’ve learned to offer, like snuggles and boo-boo kisses and reading books till our eyes go blurry? As crazy as it may sound, there’s a little girl missing in my head now, a girl who had a name and a blue-and-yellow bedroom and a whole lot of cute hand-me-downs from her big sister.

For E’s sake, I’m kind of glad she’s getting a brother. There won’t be anyone to challenge her princess status in our all-boy family. I grew up with younger brothers, and it was great never having anyone steal my clothing, my makeup or my boyfriends. I had playmates when I wanted them, but could lock myself in my room with my stuffed animals and my diary when I was sick of playing Transformers. There was no one competing for my starring role as “daddy’s girl.” Life as the only girl can be pretty awesome. And I was lucky enough to find girlfriends along the way that are as beloved to me as family—a circle of surrogate “sisters” to make up for the one I never had.

So now there’s this boy instead. I can’t wait to meet him, to give him a cool boy name and paint his room with trucks and airplanes. I’m so excited for E to have a little brother to boss around (that part is fun, take it from an old pro.) Even though J was looking forward to another girl, I know he’s secretly over the moon about the boy he’s getting instead. It’s surprising how many doubts and fears I have about the son I thought I was born to raise. I guess it’s never that easy, no matter how much we think we don’t care, no matter how zen we talk ourselves into being. Maybe second kids are just as scary as first kids every time, no matter what you end up with. Being a parent already didn’t make me immune from all the what-ifs and insecurities, after all. Good to know. I have a feeling this discovery is only the first of many that will put me in my place.

Visit Jenny's personal blog Karma, Continued.

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