Adjusting to the baby’s gender

From the time we told our daughter that she was going to be a big sister, she’s been adamant that she’s having a baby sister.  We’ve reminded her time and again that she could have a baby brother.  Last Friday, we found out for sure when I had my anatomy ultrasound.  After the doctor finished all the measurements and checking out the baby to make sure growth was on target and things were functioning as they should, she offered to tell us the gender if we wanted to know.  Of course we did!  I love to plan too much to not know.  And with our daughter’s insistence on a sister we knew we needed time to prepare her for whatever gender the baby is.

Fortunately the baby cooperated and within a few seconds of checking the necessary area, my doctor told us the baby was most definitely a boy.  A boy!  We were happy.  Honestly, we’d have been happy either way, but both of us admitted to each other long ago that we thought having one of each would be pretty cool.  But, my baby girl also isn’t far from my thoughts at any point.  “Our daughter will be so disappointed,” I said.  The doctor assured me she’d get over it.  I knew she would, eventually.

My husband and I kept the news to ourselves for the next couple of days.  Well, that’s not the complete truth.  We did tell our dog.  We had to tell someone!  Then Sunday evening a few friends and family got together for a small gender reveal party my sister-in-law organized.  She served some of the foods I’ve been craving like jelly doughnuts, pork barbeque and pretzel rods with orange juice.  She framed my answers to old wives’ tales predicting gender.  The old wives’ tales predicted I was having a boy.  A Chinese calendar test predicted a girl.  Each person who came in picked a sticker declaring themselves either Team Blue or Team Pink.

Our reveal came by way of dolls.  My mom bought a boy and girl doll a couple of months back.  We wrapped the appropriate one and let our daughter open it.  Ahead of time, we coached her that if she pulled out the girl doll then the baby in mommy’s belly was a girl.  And vice versa.  When we did a quick practice run at home, she declared she was having a sister no matter which doll my husband showed her.  Yikes!

Lexiana unwrapped the gift.  She pulled out the doll and slowly it sank it that she was seeing the boy doll.  I said to everyone that it was a boy.  Then my daughter burst into tears.  And when I say tears, I mean sobs.  The poor girl was heartbroken.  I think she was also a bit overwhelmed with everyone looking at her.  Through her sobs she said, “But I don’t like boys.”

My kiddo loving on her baby brother doll at bedtime on Sunday.

I took her into a bedroom and we sat and chatted.  My mother-in-law and mom weren’t too far behind us and both offered encouragement to Lexiana.  We got her settled down.  Then she headed off to play with her cousins.  After we got home that evening, she was happy to play with her baby brother doll.  She gave him a checkup (a good sign since she loves to play doctor to all of her toys) and asked to sleep with him.  She told him she loved him.

She’s had a few struggles in adjusting to the news.  The following morning involved another round of tears about having a brother.  But an hour and a half later, she happily picked out a sleeper and a ball for her baby brother during a trip to Target.  Then Monday evening when I referred to the baby as a “he” she corrected me and said “she.”  I reminded her that we know for sure now we’re having a boy.  She said OK.  She’s coming around.  She’ll talk to her baby brother doll.  She’s told him that she’s getting a real baby brother and he’ll be nice to her.  She’s worried that her baby brother will get in trouble a lot and be mean to her.  I have reassured her that neither is true.  I’ve told her that I know for a fact he’ll look up to her and think she’s cool.  My daughter’s in a position I’ve never been in nor will ever be in — she’s an older sibling.  I’m the youngest of two.  So is my husband.  We don’t get where she’s coming from, but I can tell her how when I was little I looked up to my big brother.  Heck, there are still certain areas in life where I think to go to him first for advice.  Little brothers and sisters tend to look up to the older siblings.  I’ve been telling my daughter this.

And we’ve been talking about how she’ll always have her brother and how they’ll take care of each other and be friends.  I pray that they love each other and are friends their whole life long.  I don’t expect them to always get along.  I know there will be plenty of arguments along the way as they’re growing up.  I know Lexiana will have some more adjusting to do once the baby is actually here, living with us and demanding our attention.  But, I want them to have many good memories together as well.  I remember when I was very young, my bed and my brother’s bed were against the same wall.  We would talk through the wall before we fell asleep sometimes.  I also remember going to him one Christmas morning before I could tell time and asking him if it was time to get up, yet.  I think I started somewhere around 4 a.m.  Fortunately, it was one of those times he was patient with me.  He told me to go back to bed a few times before finally saying we could get up.  I even remember in middle school when I had a phone argument with a boy.  My brother overheard and heard me hang up on the guy.  He went into protective mode and told me if the kid called back to give the phone to him and he’d take care of it for me.  He had my back.  These are the kind of memories I want my kids to make together.

For now, we’re taking it one day at a time.  Today we will head to our usual story time at the library.  Last week we talked with another mom who is expecting a baby girl within a few days of my own due date.  Her daughter now is a few months older than Lexiana and one of Lexiana’s favorite friends at the library.  We’ll see how Lexiana does with sharing the news of having a baby brother.  I’m not pushing it.  She’ll get used to the idea.  And once he’s here, I have faith that she’ll forget she wanted a sister and instead be smitten with her baby brother.  That’s my prayer anyway!

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