One of Each

Where to begin?  I suppose starting this blog is like hooking a minnow–I need to get past the ick factor and take a stab at it.

Considering I have two boys, what do I mean by parenting one of each?  Well…

Back when kids were hypothetical, four seemed like a good number, but I thought I’d be happy with two so long as I had one of each.

When we received the adoption referral for our oldest son, Kathy from the agency excitedly asked, “Would you like a little boy?”  This question brought instantly to mind baby blue quilts, soccer balls, transformers (I had yet to discover the hottest toy fads), legos and mud, lots of mud.  It never occurred to me to wonder what our new baby’s gender might be.  After visiting and falling in love with G, we came home and painted the nursery periwinkle blue.  I sewed blue curtains with white stars on them, and I worked painstakingly on a blue quilt.  (I am by no stretch of the imagination a quilter, but I needed something to pass those long months of waiting for the adoption to be finalized.)  I remember picking out the fabric for the quilt and questioning my choice of little blue flowers for some of the squares.  Would flowers be okay for a boy?  He’s just a baby, I rationalized.  It will be fine.  He can pick out whatever superhero bedding he wants later.

As the years went on, G developed a love for Dora and snakes, toy cars and princesses.  He seemed, to me, the product of good, gender-neutral parenting.  We tried signing him up for soccer (all the kids were doing it) but when he was teased for bringing his my little pony (so he could watch the sparkly hair while he ran), showed no interest in the game, and was further intimidated by the coaches’ shrill whistles (as was I), we quit.  What shocked me then wasn’t that he didn’t want to line up for soccer drills, but that all the other boys did.  I knew our son was different, but I didn’t know he was different.

About this time, when G was three, we anxiously awaited our second adoption referral.  There was a tiny part of me hoping for a girl to fulfill my wish for one of each.  (At this point, having parented G for a couple years, four children seemed unmanageable if not completely insane.)  I’m not a princess girl myself and had always felt more comfortable around boys though, so I wasn’t disappointed when the picture of O popped up on my computer screen.  He was such a chubby little peanut–I just couldn’t wait to hold him.  On visiting him when he was 6 months old, we were completely enraptured with his calm, gentle, happy demeanor.  G was so intense, had so much anxious energy, that I couldn’t help but think what a nice gift O’s little spirit would be for our busy family.  Upon returning home we went to work on his zen room–complete with bamboo shoots, frogs and a smiling buddha.

Fast forward four years…

G, at 8, loves figure skating and archery, shoes (that sparkle), dolls, snakes, High School Musical, female pop stars, and is currently nagging me to buy him a short pink skirt because his current velvet skirt is too long, too purple.  He dreams of being Rachel, his female name for himself, but insists that he likes being a boy.  He is a boy, a sassy boy, who worries, a lot, that he’ll be teased if he sports rhinestones in public.  He wants to be a doctor, a chef, a figure skater, and a writer.  He thinks life, with all his love of pink and sparkles, would be easier if he were a girl, and he is right about that.

O, at 4, is a ball of energy.  If I lean down for more than a second, he will be climbing up my back.  Despite a number of tumbles, he will climb to the top of anything.  I had to pull him off the roof the other day when he went out a second story window.  Yes, he also loves princesses, can on occasion be spotted in heels, and rocks out to the High School Musical soundtrack daily.  Yes, he’s different, but he’s not different.  He wants a Cinderella doll, but he doesn’t want to be Cinderella.  When he grows up he wants to be a singer (like Troy Bolton in HSM, not, he will tell you, Gabriella).  And, at the end of the day, there is nothing funnier, nothing that entertains more than burps, farts and poop.  He wants to be big and strong like Daddy… or Shrek… or the Beast, depending on the day.

So, here I am with my two boys–one pink and sparkly, one green and gross… one of each.

Each perfectly themselves.



4 Responses to One of Each

  1. Karen says:


    My story is much the same as yours. It’s great your starting a blog about your family. The more people that talk about this topic the better. I’ve been referring to these boys as the princess boy generation – more parents are realising the only way forward for their child and mankind, is for acceptance of all.

    I too have two sons, one pink, one not, both absolutely fantastic!

    I’m doing my bit downunder, I’m studying psychology and planning on specialising in gender identity issues when I am done, I want to get out in the community and bring this issue out, get people talking about it, its the first step to acceptance.

    Best of Luck!

  2. mark says:

    what I find particularly interesting is that G thinks his life would be easier if he were a girl, primarily because he likes sparkles, and pink, and whtever usually sombeody else associates with girls. In that vein, he’s correct.

    But what if society was just reversed, sort of like rthe animal kingdom, where the males are all sparkly and the females drab? In that case he’d be the king of the kingdom so to speak.

    I guess what I’m trying to say, is that no matter what you do, or how you do it, you will never please hardly anyone, at any time on this planet. “They” make the rules, but “They” really have no clue how and why those rules were made up in the firts place, and what was then plain old tweaked for someone else’s agenda.

    I suspect marketer’s had a big part in all of this.

    Is a man simply a man because he wears blue jean pants instead of skirts. of course not, because then what would we call girls? Men, since they wear blue jean pants, that can wear skirts? This is just too crazy in my opinion.

    G likes sparkles. so do I. G likes pink, so do I. I am human, so is G, and O and you. The key to this is that we like what we like, yet it is someone else who is telling us we can’t like what we like, because it doesn’t fit THEIR version of what we should or should not like. Sorry. You go, G.

    • Sophia Cairn says:

      I love your comments, Mark, and your support for G. Thanks so much for taking the time to respond! (G loves when I point out the peacock males at the zoo shaking their feathers trying to impress the flocks of drab females.) As parents, as society we’ve definitely over pathologized this whole thing.

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