Family / Kids / Parenting

Where the Boys Are (Hint: My House)

Gefilte Fish. Photo credit: National Geographic

Gefilte Fish. Photo credit: National Geographic

In the old-fashioned way of having babies (When a Dad does the ooky Dad thing to the Mom and then nine months later a baby emerges covered in the same gel that gefilte fish is packed in), part of the fun was wondering what kind of child was coming. (This was back when there were only two choices – boy babies and girl babies. Such an innocent time…) Also before sonograms, which took much of the guesswork out of buying shower gifts. Remember when the question “What are you having?” referred to the cold sesame noodles or house special lo mein?

My then-partner/now-husband and I, having tried over and over and harder and harder to conceive an offspring in the traditional manner (it was simply grueling, I tell you), finally gave up the ghost and decided to adopt somebody via the good graces of the New Jersey State Foster System. We learned that the absolute best part (aside from, you know, giving a child a home who otherwise may not have had one) was that we got to pick.

And we both loudly proclaimed in perfect unison, “Boy!” Here’s why:

One – We’re boys. We understand boys. And boy stuff.

Two – I think I would implode if we ended up with one of those Disney® princess-worshipping, fairy wand-wielding, sparkly tights-wearing, Barbie® Dream House-hankering little girls. I’m sort of a raging feminist in my own quaint little way, and I wouldn’t even know how to begin to inhabit that corner of the universe. (Of course, we could easily have wound up with one of those Disney® princess-loving, fairy wand-wielding, pink tulle-wearing. Barbie® Dream House-hankering little BOYS – but somehow I could have dealt with that; seems sort of subversive…in a good way.)

Side note: (This is what happens when you give a man with adult A.D.D. a keyboard.) I’m always faintly amused when the ruffest, tuffest, butchiest, most roof-tile-laying lesbian women I know wind up as mothers to these pink-obsessed little sugar and spice daughters….after a lifetime of defying and denying cultural norms of stereotypical feminine behavior. Juxtaposition is everything.)

Three – My husband grew up with seven sisters. And he’s African American. And there was no way he was raising females, having endured years of, in his own words “Black Girl Hair Drama.” (Fast forward to the punch line: one of our sons has shoulder length dreadlocks, three of which he has dyed cherry red, and the other has an afro that would put Cleopatra Jones to shame. Remind me to tell you the tragic tale of the time our boys came home from school with the inevitable “head lice” notice, accompanied by actual head lice. I’d do it now, but I’m operating under a strict word count limit here, and this is a three-cup-of-coffee story.)

So we have boys. And while we’re not overly fond of their massive arsenal of deadly weapons and gruesome, terror-inducing zombie video games, and continuous stream of fart jokes (not to mention the continuous stream of farts), still, to my way of thinking, it beats the hell out of the sight of glittery toenail polish and clouds of pink tulle. We’re boys, dammit. And in our house, it smells like it.

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