- What are little boys made of?
- Snips and snails
- And puppy-dogs’ tails,
- That’s what little boys are made of.
- What are little girls made of?
- Sugar and spice
- And everything nice,
- That’s what little girls are made of.
- -Nursery Rhyme
I love our gang of boys. Before my husband and I had kids, I had always hoped for such a rambunctious bunch while he thought four sweet little girls would be grand. Given my female disposition toward occasional hypersensitivity, emotionalism, and all else that comes from having estrogenic tendencies, I was convinced that we didn’t need any more of it in our home. Memories of mother-daughter clashes didn’t help either. I had also heard my fair share of comments from older moms who all agreed that boys, though they could be very rowdy, were much easier to raise than girls. Say no more. I was very content to be a mother to all boys.
The care and feeding of boys isn’t difficult. They have most of the same wants and needs as girls, but without the complexities or fuss. I like that.
They like to laugh and joke around a lot. They give great hugs. And they’re very forgiving. They can take a verbal beating from a tired and stressed mom and a few minutes later, without holding a grudge, will ask you to come and see the fort they’ve been building with their brothers.
Little boys have taught me a a lot about love.
One of our sons returning from a friend’s house made his own observations about girls after eating lunch with his friend and his little sister, “Mom, it was so funny. Jonathan’s sister was crying and wouldn’t drink her milk because it had bubbles in it. She didn’t want bubbles in her milk.”
Really?…No, I certainly didn’t have the patience or energy to deal with such melodrama.
Every once in a while though, little moments presented themselves that made me think that it might be nice to have a little girl, but I would quickly put such thoughts out of my mind. In my heart I couldn’t imagine it ever happening and even it if did, sugar is nice but no thanks on the spice.
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! (Jer 29:11)
In 2009, when we found out we were expecting again, my husband and I were at a loss for baby boy names. After having given birth to six boys, we were sure this was another one and there was no reason to think otherwise. With our favorite boy’s names already used up for first and middle names, it was quite difficult to come up with another name we both liked. The boys weren’t much help either. Aside from their hold-outs of “Alligator-Alligator” and “Sweet Potato” suggested by the two oldest after the birth of Boy #4, they weren’t coming up with much of anything. All they knew was that they (except for one) liked the idea of being a family of all boys and hoped a baby sister didn’t come along to mess it up. As usual, God had other plans.
On September 26, 2009, our precious daughter was born. An absolutely joyful surprise! In the birthing room, amidst the utter shock, all my husband and I could do was look at each other and unite our tears of joy. No one knows the mind of God, but through His love and mercy, I have been blessed to get a glimpse of His Heart.
It has now been a year and a half since our daughter was born, and having this little girl has opened my heart in ways that I cannot describe. I’m sure that if we had a son after six daughters, there would be many of these same feelings.
Sometimes change is a wonderful gift.
This change has affected the family too. The boys, who at one time were unfamiliar with the proper pronoun for girls, no longer refer to their sister as “it” as they did on the day she was born. And they are learning to express their love more gently. The same ones who were once staunch defenders of the “Boys Only” club, now speak in high-pitched voices when they greet their little sister. She has wrapped them around her finger like no other.
They readily volunteer to babysit her while I shower or make dinner and relish in their babysitting accomplishments like successfully putting her down for a nap. One of my favorite moments was pulling into the garage after running an errand to find a piece of paper the boys had taped to the house door that read Be quiet. Baby sleeping.
This beautiful ray of sunshine has certainly given a new perspective on life. After life in a testosterone-charged home, it’s been delightful to watch femininity blossom. I’ve always agreed that boys and girls are different right from the start, a natural complementarity that I’ve seen at work in the sacrament of marriage. But now, I can attest to it from the personal experience of having children of both genders.
Our daughter’s dainty little ways are nothing I’ve seen from our boys. It’s the way she puts her hand to her mouth when she cries, the way she observes new surroundings from my lap instead of darting throughout the room to explore, the way she instinctively tries to comfort a crying brother, the way she gets upset when she sees her dad and brothers wrestling on the ground, and the way she tries to make friends with other little girls at church. Each day is a new opportunity to see the wonder a little girl brings.
God certainly knows well the plans He has for us, and for that I am infinitely grateful. This blessing of a daughter is something I would have easily missed out on if left to my own know-it-all devices.