When I was pregnant with Elizabeth, my first, we decided that we would not find out the sex of the baby until the baby was born. For some reason, though, in my heart, I knew that she was a girl. Or maybe I just never gave in to the possibility that I would have a boy baby.
I had a girl's name all picked out and even though everything was pretty much green and yellow with a little blue thrown in, that is what I would have picked for either a boy or a girl. I am not a pink person...at all.
So, when Elizabeth was born, and she turned out to be a girl, everything worked out just great. I knew how to raise a girl. I mean, I AM a girl, so of course I knew how to raise one. (Yeah, right!) But really, it was more that I knew what I wouldn't do with a girl baby rather than what I would do.
For example, I knew right off that my girl child would not be hemmed in by a pink fluffy wardrobe, and that there was no way that I was going to put one of those uncomfortable ribbon things around her head just so people would know that she was a girl. I was going to raise a girl who was as comfortable in flowers as she was in trucks and dinosaurs.
And she was...and still is.
You will find my Elizabeth dressed in a skirt for church (sometimes) but as soon as she gets home, the fancy duds are shed and traded for sneakers or cleats with shorts and a t-shirt. She slips easily into the kitchen to make dinner and clean up afterward (kind of) and then out the door to wrestle with Jimmy in the front yard or to kick the ball around at the park behind our house.
When I was pregnant with Jo, our second, we decided to find out the sex because Elizabeth was sold on the fact that this baby would be a boy, and I was afraid that have her thinking that the baby would be one sex for a whole 9 months and then suddenly (maybe) have a big surprise. She was already going to have enough to adjust to, having her first sibling being born when she was already 9 years old, so I wanted to make it easier for her by at least having her know what was coming.
She swore up and down that this baby was going to be a boy and that she was going to play soccer with him (although since she was a soccer playing girl, I am not sure why she thought that she needed a brother to play soccer with). She even argued with the technician who did the sonogram that told us that Jo was a girl. When she finally accepted that the baby was going to be a girl, I think she resented it, maybe because she didn't want anyone else in the family to be like her. Every time we asked her for input about the name of the new baby, the only answer we would get was 'Bucket-head'. This, of course, was not an option, so we chose Joselin, or Jo for short.
I treated Jo pretty much the same as Elizabeth when it came to the clothes and toys thing (having an equal and non-distinguishing attitude about 'boy' and 'girl' stuff) except that when Elizabeth was little, she had a lot more toys since I had a daycare in my house, and even had Barbies, which we no longer participate in, and a lot more Disney stuff around too, which we also no longer buy into. But Jo is still very much her own person.
Jo dresses herself everyday and some days it's a skort with a pink t-shirt, and some days it's her favorite yellow shorts with a frog t-shirt (all of which are hand-me-downs from Elizabeth). But Jo is definitely not made of the same stuff as Elizabeth. The stuff she's made of it perfectly fine, and just as good as Elizabeth's, but just very different. She much prefers to play inside or to help me hang out the laundry or pick flowers in the grass outside.
And Jo is her sister's keeper. You would think that it would be the other way around...that Elizabeth would take care of Jo, but it is not so. Here's an example:
This happens often. Elizabeth is looking for something in her room and then she finally asks Jo where it is and Jo will have put it away for her. She loves to have a clean, neat space, so she is always picking up behind Elizabeth and putting her stuff away for her. Which, of course, drives Elizabeth crazy, but this is one thing that I will not reprimand Jo for! If Elizabeth would put it away herself in the first place, we wouldn't have this problem!!!!
Every morning, Jo wakes up and folds her pj's and puts them in her drawer (Elizabeth either throws them on the floor or shoves them under the piano on the piano bench). We have arranged Jo's drawers so she can reach the stuff she uses often, and we put the words in English and Spanish and also drew pictures of the items that belong in each drawer, and she will put her own laundry away. But not just away. The socks will be in the middle of the drawer, the undies on one side, pj's on the other...everything organized.
I am considering doing the same thing for Elizabeth. That way, either she will know really well where her stuff belongs, or Jo can do it for her!
I love both of my girls (of course!) and I love the way they are so different. It is fun to see how they are each growing and following their own paths. I have some thoughts that I wanted to share about my Gabriel, too, but I think that this post is altogether too long already, so they will have to wait until another day!