Do Your Two Girls Make You Want to Have a Boy and Other Stupid Questions

Father of two young girls addresses the most annoying question in parenting

People ask questions when you have children. Neighbors. Colleagues. Some of them get personal. Ever since my wife gave birth to our second daughter three months ago, this is, by far, the most common question I get from people: Are you going for a boy next?

My answer undoubtedly is: It’s really none of your business what our family’s copulating schedule is, but even if it was, are you fucking insane? Three children? Do you realize then that my wife and I would be outnumbered? It’s divide and conquer, you nitwit. Get with it.

I usually get blank faces and further avoidance. Occasionally I get to ride the elevator alone. Which is a job well done on my side.

The question made me realize, though, that somewhere along the line, the general populace has gotten it into their feeble little heads that whenever a family has two or three or four of the same sex children, there has to be that last-chance dump to round out the lopsided-ness. Even before we had our second daughter, while Dina was pleasantly baking away in the womb, both my wife and I had gotten similar remarks.

Is it a boy or a girl?

It’s another girl.

Oh. Don’t you wish it was a boy?

Quite frankly, no, I didn’t wish it was a boy. Not that I didn’t want a boy, or a girl for that matter. I just didn’t wish it to be anything but healthy: ten fingers, ten toes, all the chromosomes and I’m solid. Doesn’t matter what type of plumbing is between their legs.

I’d gotten this question from both sexes, too. With the male audience (I’m ALWAYS guessing about what women think, and I’m rarely near the mark, so I’ll avoid guessing this time), I have to assume that they think having a son would be important to me so I can pass down the family name. Or that I’ll need another swinging dick around the house to do “manly” or “guy” things with.

First of all, the Miles family name will probably live on, and even if it doesn’t what do I care? If the Miles name does ever die, I’ll surely be in a pine box by then (as most necrophiliacs can attest, most of ‘em are made of fiberglass these days). I won’t care because I can’t care. Philosophical/magical reasons aside, I’ve never put that much stock in legacy. The Miles name is just that, a name. Doesn’t make my life less complete by not having a male heir.

As far as doing “guy” things, I can still do them. In fact, I’ll probably have more opportunities with three women around the house. Be a damn good time to go camping or see a ball game when they all hit their cycle at the same time, eh? Just toss a chocolate bar into the middle of the pack and hope my limbs remain intact. You guys watching the latest rom-com with Hugh Grant? Seems like a good time to lock myself in the den and watch porno.

See, I’ve played enough male-dominated sports in my lifetime to last ten men. I played organized baseball, basketball, and football since I was a wee tyke, and while I was never great enough to play professionally, it also never made me yearn for a son to coach or to produce a prospect to fill the hole I’ve never had by not going pro. Which is a good thing, as I’d probably just end up foisting unreal expectations on my imaginary son, anyway.

Besides, who’s to say my daughters won’t grow up to play in the WNBA or another sport no one gives a shit about?

This all gets me back to the question: Are you going for a boy? No, I am not. I love my girls. They’re irrational and make no sense and will grow up in a world that wastes thousands of dollars to test the DNA of claw scrapings that may or may not have been left by a mythical creature (surely you’ve all watched Finding Bigfoot?) instead of feeding the homeless, but that’s the fun of it all.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

♦◊♦

A side note, if you will: Over the last handful of months, as I’ve voiced my stance on not having more children, the second most common follow-up question I get asked is if I plan on getting a vasectomy. This mostly by close friends and family, as I think neutralizing sperm is one of those squirmy topics often considered to be off-key to the public.

Like my answer above, my answer undoubtedly is: Are you fucking insane? A vasectomy?

Look, I don’t care about the commercials that claim how painless the procedure is, or boast about their latest technology (last thing I need is a red laser beam honing in on my cojones, dig?), or contest that it’s reversible, or even the guarantee that I won’t miss work after the procedure. (Why that’s a selling point, I don’t know–wouldn’t you want a few days off to cry and blabber about losing such an integral part of your manhood?)

But one thing is certain: Vasectomy is out.

There’s absolutely no way I want more children. We can’t afford it, both mentally and fiscally. But I’d gladly have another handful before I let some quack snip me down there. Luckily, my wife and I were able to pull the goalie and get pregnant when we wanted. We were also able to stay unpregnant when we wanted, so we’ll continue that natural path (you don’t want to know, but it involves a spatula).

That is, until I’m closing in on 50 and change my mind to snag me a male heir.

—Photo Beverly&Pack/Flickr

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About Scott Miles

Scott Miles is from Downriver Detroit and lives in Chicago. He’s a cool dad. Probably not the smoke-weed-and-drink-beer-and-share-pornography-with-his-kids kind of dad, but still pretty cool. He was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize for his story in The Atticus Review. He has also recently finished writing his second crime/noir novel. He never blogs here: http://scottmiles.wordpress.com/

Comments

  1. This article is awesome. I’m in the same situation and have heard all this stuff. I couldn’t agree more with you viewpoint.

    Thanks,
    Jake

  2. I agree people ask a lot of lame questions. I don’t have kids, and people are always asking me if I want kids or if I’m going to adopt or how about In vitro? Uh, no, I’m almost 46 for chrissakes!

    I have a question though for parents. What questions or comments are appropriate to ask? Personally, these days I just tend to avoid asking people any questions about their pregnancies, families or children. It seems too easy to stumble into saying something overly personal or annoying or sensitive to that person for some reason. But I also worry that friends and co-workers will think I have no interest in their kids or their personal lives.

    • You’re always welcome to ask how they are doing in school, sleeping, eating, sports, etc. These are all things that are individual to the child. You can ask how their summer/fall/winter/spring was. If they are going anywhere for the next holidays. Family in town to help….

      You can ask closed ended questions like what is their favorite book or toy (as research for gifts for the children of your relatives and friends). You can ask what they were for Halloween and what they want Santa to bring them. You can ask if they celebrate Christmas or Hanuka.

      If you stick to things about interests and activities you should be safe. And you can always start with an observation, “she’s so polite”, “He’s very happy”, “tall for his age” or “fast runner!”. And then ask a question.

      • That’s great advice Jason.

        Scott, I loved your piece.

        I find that in general, people ask intrusive and make offensive comments regulary about all matters of topics. They just don’t think about what they say. My Mom is 54 and retired and people ask her stuff like “what do you do all day?” and look at her confused. When I walk my dog, people make comments about the size of my dog compared to me. I’m petite, my dog is a large golden-doodle. I get a lot of “You’re dog is almost as big as you!”..ummm..gee thanks for comparing me to my dog? I never know what to say to those comments. I would never even think to personally comment on a stranger’s body. What do I care? They are a human being. This article kind of made me feel better though to see that people say all kinds of things that aren’t very thoughtful!

  3. No questions about my kids are annoying, including do you want a boy? At least people show interest, and I always welcome that. They certainly don’t mean any harm. I wouldn’t trade my two girls for anything. If I had two boys I would probably feel the same way.

  4. I’ve got 2 girls. Just got divorced. About 3 weeks ago my 5 year old gave me a long stare while the three of us were upstairs playing “girlie stuff” and asked, “do you wish we were boys, daddy”? I was dumbfounded. Not just because she at 5 she had the awareness, but at that exact moment I was actually wondering the same exact thing.

    Although the day prior we all played with my buddy and his two boys and so the idea was fresh, but it was as if she saw straight through me. Girls are insanely intuitive.

    My answer – ” not for anything in the world”. And I meant it.

    True story

    • Yes, little girls are amazingly aware! It goes to show how easily they absorb things or pay attention to their Daddies. :) I was always very aware of how my Dad specfically interacted with other females. Sounds like a really great moment for both of you Terrence.

      • Actually little boys are also amazingly aware too, but sometimes they just don’t know how to say it. I used too feel that way all the time when i was a kid.

        • Terrance was only speaking of his experience with his daughter and I was only speaking of my experiences as once being a little girl. No one was implying that little boys couldn’t posses the same traits.

  5. My mother wanted a set number of children. 6 to be exact. No, she’s not crazy, no, we’re not Catholic, and no, you did not financially help raise us. No one except my mother and father knew of this set number of kids arrangement and my mother had a son from a previous marriage. My father’s first two children were girls. He never heard the end of it. Then my mother had a boy. Then…..two more girls. What?? Why didn’t they stop at the boy?? What in the WORLD was my father going to do with 4(!) daughters! How will he EVER play with GIRLS?? Think of the stress they will bring him when they start dating!! And the cost of 4(!) weddings!!!! Well, what did he do? He taught us how to ride bikes, play catch, how to cook bacon without getting burned, how do use power tools, how to mow the lawn, coached all of our baseball teams, how to fix a stopped up sink or toilet, and guess what, when we were kids, he even played BARBIE with my sisters. GASP!!!!! And, get this, he didn’t even have to pay for the one wedding there has been because he and my mother raised us to be financially responsible and my sister and her now husband actually saved up the money themselves to pay for their own wedding. HOLY SHIT!!!
    Now, I was really enjoying this article until I read this: “As far as doing “guy” things, I can still do them. In fact, I’ll probably have more opportunities with three women around the house. Be a damn good time to go camping or see a ball game when they all hit their cycle at the same time, eh? Just toss a chocolate bar into the middle of the pack and hope my limbs remain intact. You guys watching the latest rom-com with Hugh Grant? Seems like a good time to lock myself in the den and watch porno.” Um…I’m REALLY hoping this is sarcasm because if it’s not, the whole meaning of your article just went down the shitter. Also, this statement: “Besides, who’s to say my daughters won’t grow up to play in the WNBA or another sport no one gives a shit about?” Severely offensive. And “I love my girls” is nice, but then you turn around and call them irrational and say they make no sense. WTF? I mean, 3 month old boys make TOTAL sense right? That’s not wholly where I’m going with that but, come on, that’s a pretty ridiculous thing to say right after saying that you love them…

  6. Also, rarely do people ask or say “Oh you have two boys, are you going to try for a girl next?”

    • How can you possibly know that? You would need to be part of every family with two boys to know whether or not that is the case.

      • First, that’s why i said “rarely” not “never” as I am sure that it IS asked…but rarely. Second, for some reason, I know several people who either have two boys or are one of a set of brothers and have asked.

        • Again, how can you know whether that question is asked rarely, never, sometimes, or frequently unless you personally know all people with two sons? It’s simply not possible to know.

          • Well, it’s pretty obvious to me that a “fair amount” of people (especially men) prefer male children. They’re under the impression that “girls are hard to raise” (probably because their fathers think they are irrational and make no sense but….whatever) when in fact, everything is hard to raise.

            • That is not correct.

              See this article that shows that today, parents prefer daughters over sons. I know I do.

              http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2012/10/25/gender-selection-pgd

            • I’ve got 4 daughters (and 2 granddaughters). When my wife was pregnant with our youngest everybody kept asking me if I was “hoping for the boy”. The fact is that I was hoping for another girl. At that point I wasn’t sure I knew how to be a good father to a boy but I knew from experience that I was a hell of a father to girls. At one point my wife bought me a male dog figuring that I needed male companionship in the house. Came home one day and found out she had him neutered so I was right back where I started from (and a trifle nervous)

  7. Great article. When my daughter was born the only thing I hoped for was the same thing I’ve repeated for months during the pregnancy: a healthy and happy baby. Our first was a girl. Second time around everyone assumed I wanted a boy, including my wife. I couldn’t care less: healthy and happy baby is all I wanted. The thing is people didn’t really believe me… they all thought I had some secret agenda and would not be honest and come out that having a girl and boy (or a Million Dollar Family – as some Asian friends have told me it’s called in their circles) would be the ticket to my happiness. Our second was a boy: a healthy and happy baby and in the end that’s all that’s ever mattered and will matter to me as long as I live and that is that my kids will live a healthy and happy life (regardless if they were both boys or girls or as they are a beautiful boy and girl), everything else in my life really doesn’t matter that much in the end.

  8. I could write something similar about only child families. When we had a daughter 4 years a lot of friends also had their first child. ALL of these friends have gone on to have their second child already. So the question we get is : are you having another one? Similar to your reasoning – I see no need for our family planning schedule to be open to public questioning. The amount of yawn’s I’ve had to stifle whilst listening to the ‘Well we thought it would be better to have two quickly, you know, get all that baby stuff out of the way’…..Yes. All that baby stuff. And all that toddler stuff. And all that teenager stuff. And all that paying for university stuff. I swear to god most of these families couldn’t answer why they had a second one…’it’s just what people do’. Well….I can say that my wife and I are enjoying the company, increasing intelligence and maturity of our (single) daughter.

  9. I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting, hoping or being asked if you’d prefer a boy or a girl -as long as everyone remembers it doesn’t really matter. I do think it’s offensive to assume someone would prefer to have a boy after having a girl. A girl is not a consolation prize.

    Off topic: Scott, I realize humor was your intention when you wrote the “toss the candy bar” comment regarding three females on their cycles at the same time. But a woman’s menstrual cycle is not a joke.

    Premenstrual syndrome is real and it is not an easy time for the women and girls who endure it. I spent last week, prior to my period, crying -nearly every day crying. The day before my period I spent a good 12 hours with a stomach ache and diarrhea. Once my period started, the cramps and backache began. I’m sorry if I’m a bit *bitchy* today, but right now it feels as though a thousand bear traps are being tripped inside my uterus, and my back feels as though it’s taking a beating from a sledge hammer. I’m in pain. And this sort of fun repeats itself every month! This isn’t a joke. I wouldn’t have bothered to say anything except that you are the father of two daughters. Please don’t make fun of our emotional and physical pain.

  10. I have four daughters. I hear “are you going to try for a boy?” all the time (since the second was born) and I actually find the question disturbing. Do they assume that my younger three daughters are failed attempts at boys? Do my daughters, hearing that question, wonder that themselves? Is this China?

    If it needs to be said, I was never “trying for a boy”, and if I was that fixated on having a son, I’d adopt one, not risk resenting a daughter for being born with the wrong plumbing!

    Also, I certainly hope the remarks about PMS and “not making sense” were meant to be ironic, and I hope you do take your daughters camping.

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