Little Girls

You know what can make mommy blogs super self-indulgent? Posts like this one, in which I intend to type-blab entirely about the awesomeness of my offspring.

It's a cliché (but most clichés are clichés because they're true), but a child's first birthday coincides with many questions from folks about whether you're ready to start thinking about that next kid. Well, Lorelei turned one and that certainly happened. I didn't mind. As someone who was at the 60/40 mark (barely) against having #3 when Lorelei was born, I've always been a tad torn and curious what others have done, how they made their decisions, and for those with 3 kids, its pluses and minuses.

This time, however, when asked whether we'd have another child, it was often phrased as "Are you going to go for a boy?" Like we had missed the mark with Lorelei and needed to try again.

When Lorelei was born, Chris was about 25% open to #3 (remember, I was about 40%). And since then, his gap has narrowed to 90/10 and mine to 75/25. Our proportions aren't equal, but they're weighted on the same side, which I think is the main thing. In my mind, if we had a third child, we would go for a third child. Not a boy.

The Boy Question makes me wonder, does the 1 boy + 1 girl crowd look at us and think, "Oh, those poor Hofmanns. TWO girls. No BOYS."

This is rattling to me, because I look at my two girls and feel like I've won the lottery. I've had MANY conversations in which a mom says something like, "I have one of each, so I know I don't need a third." I know mommies don't mean to be insulting, and they're thinking of their own perfect son and daughter, unable to visualize their family built any other way (just as I do), but for some reason, it rubs me the wrong way. We don't LACK. Is Lorelei's feisty grin or playful manner any less valuable because she was a second girl? Of course not. So, what exactly is your point?

I don't know what it's like to have two boys, but I imagine that if I did, I'd feel pretty much as I do with two girls. And I suspect that moms of two boys get similarly questioned.

But really? Here's where my hypocrisy sneaks out: I love, love, love, LOVE having two girls. So much so that I secretly thinks it's superior to any other family combination on the face of the planet. Why? Because it's mine, and I love it so. Were it any other way, it would not be like THIS. And THIS is what I want. So, maybe we all do it, not just the 1 + 1 folk.

When I was pregnant with Charlotte, I was certain I was having a boy. Absolutely certain. By the time I had the ultrasound jelly on my tummy for the 20-week visit where we'd learn the gender, it instantly switched: I knew, deep in my bones, she was a girl. About 10 seconds later, the technician confirmed it.

I grinned for a week straight. I couldn't believe I had been given A GIRL.

With Lorelei, I really didn't know. At least I didn't think I did. But at that 20-week appointment, I was again unsurprised when the ultrasound technician told me we'd have another girl. And I was thrilled. Chris and I went to Chipotle after the ultrasound, and I was too giddy to eat (and that's saying something when you're 20 weeks pregnant). I called my mom to announce grandchild #2 was a girl, and she screeched into the phone. Chris's parents also reacted happily, excited for grandgirl #4.

I loved the name we had picked out for her: Lorelei Belle. I was so excited we'd get to use it, and I couldn't wait for Grandma Belle to learn that her great-grandgirl would have her middle name.

And Charlotte would have a sister.

As I've written before, the sister thing is new to me. My parents had that apparently ideal 1 girl + 1 boy combo, which worked out great for them. They felt like they won the lottery. (See a pattern here?) But I never had a sister. Oh, how I pined for a sister. Even now, when I see grown-up sisters and their quirky, super close (if highly charged) relationships, I get a little envious. In the meantime, however, I got myself two sisters-in-law (one married to my brother and one married to Chris's brother) who are brilliant, lively, awesome women (neither of whom have sisters either by the way), and I adore them. That filled that sister hole a bit. And they're family, in it for the long haul.

The other thing that has filled the sister hole? The joy joy joy of raising sisters. Sister dynamics is a relationship category I never paid much attention to before I had Charlotte and Lorelei. It just didn't register with me.

A little over a year ago, the latest Tinker Bell movie came out, in which Tink discovers she has a long lost sister, Periwinkle. Charlotte, newly crowned a big sister, LOVED this movie, constantly pointing out that SHE had a new sister, too. At the moment in the movie when Tink and Periwinkle announce, "That means we're . . . sisters!" Charlotte would vibrate and squeal with delight. Sometimes she'd even clap her hands.

So, that's been fun. Since then, their sisterly bond and affection has deepened. Charlotte and Lorelei genuinely adore each other. Each girl lights up around the other. I love it.

Enter more Disney magic: Frozen.

Now, I will formally go on record saying this is the best Disney movie since Beauty and the Beast. For myriad reasons. One aspect that made it so fun to watch was that I did so with Charlotte on my lap. Anna and Elsa had their sisterly strife but they desperately loved each other--I can't remember a Disney movie portraying a sister bond like that (except for maybe that Tinker Bell movie I mentioned, but Frozen is light years superior to Tinker Bell [which I still love, don't get me wrong]). The sister element caught Charlotte's fancy, held her interest, and resonated with her. At one point, she turned in my lap and whispered up at me, "I have a sister, too: Lorelei." Like I could forget.

As Lorelei becomes every more toddler and less baby (and oh, this is painful when it's your last child), she interacts more and more with Charlotte. She teases her and laughs with her. She squawks more loudly when being bossed around by big sister. She wants what Charlotte has, she mimics her (Lorelei wants to wear Charlotte's shoes and brush her own hair so badly). Her greatest delight is taking a splashy bath with her sister. She gets upset or concerned when Charlotte cries. And vice versa.

As Lorelei's personality--wry and feisty but also really sweet--evolves, the joy of having her complete our family puzzle is overwhelming. As any parent of any child would say, how could she not be HER? I can't imagine Lorelei being anything but Lorelei.

Chris sees it, too. And one of the great things about having a co-parent is that you can talk forever with each other about your kids without anyone getting bored.

 The amazing thing about babies and kiddos is that they can fool you. You can think you want one of each--I thought I did, until I had Charlotte. I couldn't imagine having a second kid other than a girl, because that's what I had and knew and loved with Charlotte. I was open to a boy, and excited about the possibility, but my mind couldn't quite stretch that far to really know how it would be, and it never really had to. I had two girls.



  1. When I was pregnant with Hattie, I was utterly convinced I was having a second boy - so much so that I considered not even finding out the gender because I didn't see the point. I think it was because all I knew was a boy, and I loved the idea of two little brothers. That being said, now that I have Hattie, I can't imagine her being anyone other than HER, either, and I love that I get to have a little girl (even if I really don't know what to do with her hair!). But, although possibly less annoying than the assumption that you will try for a third simply because you don't have a boy yet, I have gotten a similar assumption from people that because I have one of each, I wouldn't want any more children. When, really, what does that have to do with it? And then I have to explain, that no, actually, we do want another child, even though we already have "one of each".


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