Snips and snails / by vanessa

Here is a partial list of items that my not-quite-two-year old son has hugged of his own accord in the last two days:

  • His daddy
  • Mommy!
  • Cute but grumpy little girl at the coffee shop who definitely wasn't having it
  • A booger
  • His french fries
  • A peach, moments before announcing, "Eat!"
  • My kombucha
  • A fire hydrant

He is so affectionate that I had to ask our nanny if it was normal. "Yes, it's normal," she said. "He's a boy."

From the morning I found out I was pregnant, until the morning that I woke up for the ultrasound appointment in which we were going to find out the sex of our baby, I thought I was having a girl. Despite the results of Chinese gender predictor I found on the Internet, and the absence of morning sickness, which, according to an old wives tale, suggested a boy, I only imagined tiny embroidered Peter Pan-collared frocks and bobby socks with baby Mary Janes. I had a dream when I was about eight weeks pregnant of a young girl probably four years old, her head thrown back in laughter. I could see her face so clearly I thought she must be mine. Ryan would ask me what I thought we were having. Girl, I said.

The morning of the ultrasound I woke up and the first thought that popped into my head was, "I'm having a boy." We drove to our appointment. A technician moved the wand around and told us that she could see what we were having but that she wanted to bring the doctor in to confirm. The radiologist, an older man with a kind face, delivered the news: you're having a boy.

Ryan has many talents, but filtering his words in these kind of situations isn't one of them. "Oh babe, I'm so sorry," he said to me. He turned to the doctor and ultrasound technician and explained, "She wanted a girl." At that moment the only thing I really wanted was to throatpunch him, but when you're pregnant and in the company of medical professionals who could probably report you, you smile nervously and feign decorum. Instead, I subtly shot him a look that I prayed he understood as a threat. They offered to leave us alone for a minute.

It wasn't entirely true. It wasn't so much that I wanted a girl, as much as I just couldn't picture having a boy. I knew nothing about boys. They wreck stuff and don't quite grasp the concept of volume control and find poop jokes funny, right? From what little I did know, the options for cute clothes looked bleak.

But the moment you find out what you're having, what you thought you were having or maybe might have preferred is immediately irrelevant. As soon as I found out, I didn't want to spend even one more second thinking about something that wasn't. And on the really off chance that somehow my avocado-sized fetus could read minds, I wanted him to know I chose him back.

There is a tenderness to Jonah, a sensitivity for others, that I naively and foolishly assumed lie in the domain of little girls. I'm so lucky to be wrong.