Saturday, January 29, 2011

One of Each

Person: Do you guys know what you're having yet?
Me: A Boy.
Person: How great, you'll have one of each

My wife is now one week past her due date, and so it's not surprising that the topic of our family and my wife's pregnancy is brought up regularly. You'd expect as much with our life on semi-pause waiting for our son's arrival and my wife's belly starting to look like an over-inflated beach ball (a beautiful beach ball...but...huge).

That being said, an observation from this past week is how so many conversations with casual acquaintances go like the conversation above. We have an adorable two year old girl, and when people find out we're having a boy regularly comment on how great it will be we will have "one of each."

This repeated conversation has started to be some what offensive to me. Now, I know, I personally offend people accidentally on a regular basis, so I don't speak from a lofty position as Ms. Emily Post on modern manners, but I do find it somewhat strange how often this comes up.

The comment seems to imply a number of things.

  • The ideal situation is to have two kids
  • Once you have two kids you can rest at being "finished" with the perfect set.
  • Having two children of the same gender would be less favorable.
  • Having two children of the same gender might make a family consider "trying again" to finish the family with both male and female children.
  • That a parent wants to have a child that share their gender.

The last implication of the shared gender child, comes from the realization of when I say I'm having a son, that people seem to imply that as a father I might have a higher degree of excitement about the idea of having a son, that the absence of rearing a same-gender child might be a lost experience. This came up regularly before we knew the gender and people would often say "I bet you would really like a son." Or they would say to my wife, "I bet RC really hopes you'll have a boy."

This logic seemed to operate on a set of expectations me and my wife did not have. We were excited to have a second child, regardless of gender. We are not sure if our family will grow past two children, but the gender of our child had no bearing on that decision. And as a male, I'm excited about having a son and the special relationship that it entails, but I find a special relationship in the father-daughter relationship as well and while I expect differences in life and that relationship due to gender, I expect differences in relationships with both my children due to other factors as well such as their personal interests and personalities.

That being said, you won't catch me using the term "one of each" in a sentence, nor when I see someone that is pregnant suggest that they might be hoping for a child of a certain gender, especially if that hope is that they can even the numbers out in their family or introduce a new gender to their pack.

(Image Credits: The picture above is via Snapshot Pictures out of Plano, TX.)


mom said...

Just remember how many grandchildren that I need to have :)
If all of your childen are as sweet as the ones that I have, you can have 15!!!

amy said...

I'm always irritated by that comment too and "now your family is complete." I feel like it implies that our family would've been incomplete if both children were the same gender. My parents had two girls and I think they'd argue that their family was pretty "complete" with the two of us!

(Of course even ruder is the "did you plan to have them so close together?" comments. )