When you announce you’re pregnant, the most repeated question you’ll probably get is: “Boy or girl?”
I anticipated that. I understood that for whatever reason, people had an insatiable curiosity about the sex of my fetus.
When you finally give birth and take your beautiful baby out into the world, you’ll probably still get the “Boy or girl?” question for a bit, as most newborns tend to resemble Winston Churchill.
I somewhat expected that as well. Especially since we didn’t color code our baby and people apparently couldn’t handle not knowing the sex of the little baby dressed in yellows, purples, oranges, and greens.
What I did not anticipate was that I would be dealing with this question well into the 4th year of my son’s life. EZ will be 5 in January, and yet, I still find myself faced with “Boy or girl?” from time to time.
And I still can’t figure out why it bothers me so much. It didn’t bother me when I was pregnant or had a newborn. So why now?
* * *
A couple of weeks ago we joined some friends for dinner at our favorite hibatchi restaurant. The kids were sitting on one side chattering away, while the parents sat on the other, catching up. Our waitress came over to take our orders, and when she got to the kids, she asked what the little girl wanted. (note: there were only boys at the table).
I corrected her, and she gaped at me.
“No, that’s a girl.”
I shook my head with a smile.
“No, he is, in fact, a boy,” I informed her.
She was resolute, and shook her head, challenging me.
“Really? Because it looks like a girl!”
At this point my husband had to chime in.
“He’s a boy. He has been for the past 4 years. Trust me.”
At some point she gave up trying to convince us that EZ was a girl, and took our order. I looked over and realized that the boys hadn’t even noticed the debate that had transpired. They were all too busy playing air drums with their chopsticks.
Throughout the meal, I noticed other waitresses walking by our table, sneaking a glimpse at EZ.
Sure he had chosen to wear a somewhat smallish tank top and a pair of (my) fierce sunglasses. And, okay…he had been pushing his baby stroller, complete with favorite doll, when we had been walking into the restaurant.
However, he also had no problem turning his chopstick into a sword to play-fight with his friends until our soup arrived.
But this isn’t about some imaginary checklist, where I tick off boy and girl characteristics, then tally them up. My son’s gender isn’t the sum total of a bunch of traits. And he knows this, and I know this, but I’m not so sure why other folks can’t grasp it.
Maybe it’s the fear of the unknown, or the need to place people into neat, little boxes that define them. I’m not sure. All I know is that since before he was even born, everyone had a real strong need to know just what EZ is.
And while it may not be obvious at first glance (or, apparently 2nd or 3rd…)
I know who EZ is.
And more importantly, he knows who he is.
He’s an awesome, energetic, funny, creative, smart, curious, joyful kid.
And if it takes you a few more minutes to look past the ambiguous clothes, crazy mop of golden curls, and affinity for fabulous accessories, then that’s okay too. But, when I clue you in to the fact that he is, indeed, a happy little boy, can we just agree – that in this instance – mama knows best and move on?