Oh, boy

Posted: October 9, 2012 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

My wife and I are well on our way to having a second set of twins, you know, because singletons are just way too easy. And as they continue to develop, get further away from the terrifying 24-week mark, the stomach-shredding fear of losing another child lessens every so slightly. It’s being replaced by a different and much more playful worry: What am I going to do with a son?

Yes, we’re the type that like to know the genders ahead of time, and the ultrasound techs have long been telling us that we’re in for a boy and a girl. That will bring the offspring total to four chicks and one dude. And I have no idea how that’s going to go.

See, I was downright bummed when we were told that our first child was a girl. Took me a couple of days to get over it – not because of the legacy thing; it was more about venturing into the unknown. We had both sort of suspected otherwise, my only sibling is a younger brother and I barely even talked to girls until college. But then Mya was born and I came to see that little girls are the sweetest people on the planet. They wear pink and have dance parties and paint toe nails and snuggle with their da-das. At least, my girls do. Yes, they can be dramatic and emotional and bewildering, but my genes deserve as much blame for that as their gender.

And now there’s going to be a boy in the mix, a tiny man who is bound to like dirt and muscle cars and hunting and puppies. I don’t like any of those things nor do I have any fixing skills. I hate yard work, go out of my way to keep my shoes clean and own multiple pink shirts. I can’t handle more than two beers in a sitting. I am, admittedly and unabashedly, barely a man in the classic, Marlon Brando sense.

“Hold on,” you say. “But you’re a sports writer, just like Ray Romano – that’s pretty macho.”

Honestly, I don’t see it that way. Title IX was enacted six years before I was born. To me, sports aren’t related to gender – girls play them just as often as boys. Plus, my best sport in high school was tennis – I’m hardly a bone-crushing middle linebacker. I have girly fingers and prefer to run on a treadmill over going outside, for crying out loud.

Clearly, some of these comments are made in jest. Most of the time, I’m a fair to middling husband and father, largely because I don’t stay within traditional gender roles. I cook several times a week (and not just on the grill). I vacuum. I do most of the laundry. Frankly, I’d rather do that than repair a car or catch wild game – I don’t have any interest or ability in those areas. The manly drop off from my grandfathers to me is rather astounding – one was an engineer, the other owned a hardware store – and it’s not all just a matter of general improvements in standard of living. Same with my dad. He was a college wrestler (and a bit of a hell raiser). My experience with the sport ended in sixth grade because I wound up crying win or lose.

For as much as I’m willing to admit these shortcomings, there are times where I wish they weren’t so pronounced (and maybe they aren’t on the outside). It would be great to be able to repair a furnace like the dad on “A Christmas Story” or fertilize the yard without assistance. My fear is that the little guy – his name at this point is Ty, as in Webb – will want to do rough, tough man stuff, and that I won’t be of any help. I fear that he’ll see me as some sort of half-man. I don’t mind being that, I just don’t want him to see it that way.

Yet I also don’t want to force him to follow my smallish sized footprints, to dig smart phones and color-coordinated gym attire. If he digs dump trucks, well, I guess I’ll need to take the time to learn right along with him. Odds are, I’ll have to do the same with my girls as they approach their teenage years.

Most of all, I want Ty to be Ty, it’s just that there will be some nervous moments until we get to meet him.

  1. When we finally got preggers (Thank you modern science) I was petrified of having a girl. I in fact informed my bride that if I had a girl I would be working the boats on Deadliest Catch and just sending money home. I love women…I don’t get girls. Every time I am in trouble with a girl it costs me money. Every time the girl is wrong it costs me money. I can just see me trying to discipline a daughter…”Madison (that was the name picked by the bride) I am so mad at you!!! Here’s 100 dollars. Be happy i’m not really mad or it might have been 200!!” Every time my wife and I have an argument, no matter who is right or wrong, it costs me a ton. I did NOT want to be out numbered by females in this house. I mean are you kidding me? Barbies, nail polish, frills, feminine products…MORE WAITING in car, more indecisive shopping trips. I was petrified.

    When we had the telling ultrasound and it was apparent that Madison Grace was actually Derek John I ran laps around the table my wife was uncomfortably lying on with my arms raised as if I was Ussain Bolt celebrating yet another world record. I was waiting to be draped in an American flag by the Nurse, who informed me in all her years of doing ultrasounds she had never seen a dad celebrate the sex of a baby quite like I did. Dang right she didn’t.

    A boy…a lunkhead that may not out think me, someone I know how to punish “…see that pile of rocks? I want the bottom of all those rocks washed and you owe me 100 dollars!!” Someone I can watch the game with, someone I can play super heroes, someone to give my comic book collection to (Yes I realize all these things could have been done with a daughter I don’t enforce gender roles, but as I said earlier I don’t get girls.)

    When I was leading a high school youth group for a few years I told the girls that there simply is no more evil creature on the face of the planet than the female of our species from the ages of 13 to 30. They would argue the fact with me (and yes it IS indeed fact), I would remind them of their back talking, gossiping, friendships of the moment, friendships of convenience and such and they would mutter to themselves about how I don’t get girls. The boys in the group would scratch and guffaw and point booger tipped fingers at the girls on the other side of the room UNTIL I reminded them that there is no DUMBER creature on the planet than the male of our species from 13 to 30 as we KNOW the female is evil but yet we still mindlessly follow them around begging for just a tiny speck of attention. This the females agreed with completely.

    Terry congrats to you and your beautiful bride. You know that as a parent love them all dearly, you suffer and laugh with each, you don’t play favorites…but as a dad of a son let me tell you that you are going to LOVE having a co-conspirator in the house. Blessings to your entire group…my family has been sending you good thoughts from down here in Yankton.


  2. Gina Benson says:

    This is great. Love how you write !
    im a Mother of 5 boys and i totally freaked out when a daughter was on the way. Thank goodness we have her. Helps the boys become more familiar with the other sex. Your boy will be the same. You are blessed!

    • Thanks, Gina. I’m hoping the apple won’t fall far from the tree – not because I want the little fella to be like me, but because at least I’ll have some insight.
      How will we know what sort of personality he has? We’ll try to wrestle him. If rolls up in a ball on the floor, we’re in luck. If he fights back …

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