STOP ASKING IF WE WANTED ONE OF EACH

Andrew Westbrook is happy with two boys, thank you.

I’ve got two boys. And I’m happy. Fantastically happy. Sure, I’m also bone-achingly tired, thanks to days of endless dinosaur rides for a two-year-old and nights of sleep interrupted by a two-month-old — but I wouldn’t change a thing. Not for a second. Unless you’ve got a magic snooze button to sell…

I’d assumed that all this was obvious, but it appears my ‘dishevelled zombie’ style is masking my inner glee. Why else would people keep asking me — often with a raised eyebrow — whether what we’d really wanted was ‘one of each’. After all, surely my partner would absolutely love a daughter?

‘It’s infuriating, borderline offensive and likely to lead to a shutdown reply’.

For anyone about to ask these questions, please don’t. It’s infuriating, borderline offensive and likely to lead to a shutdown reply, the abruptness of which will depend largely on how long it’s been since my last caffeine intake.

Okay, maybe I’m being overly defensive. I’m aware that people generally ask these questions innocently enough, and for the right reasons. I realise they’re largely regurgitating a cliché to fill a gap in the conversation. And I accept that, yes, it would be brilliant to have a boy and a girl, and that many people dream of having a daughter.

But the point is none of that matters. It implies things could somehow be better, that we’d rather things were different, that our son was different. And none of those things could be more wrong.

Through both pregnancies, we decided to keep the gender of the baby a surprise. We’d naively considered the moment of discovery to be a bonus reward, the cherry on top, for getting through the birth. As it turned out, after a pair of lengthy, complicated labours, the fact they were boys was almost an afterthought once they were in our arms, alive and safe. What wasn’t an afterthought was that they were perfect, that we loved them unconditionally.

If we’d had a boy and a girl, they’d have been showered with love. We’d no doubt be imagining their future as brother and sister. But we didn’t, and we couldn’t care less. We’ve had two boys, they’re showered with love, and we spend every moment imagining their future as brother and brother, playing together, protecting each other and, ahem, making use of those hand-me-downs.

I imagine that, with every child you have, the ante is upped. The same question becomes more urgent, as the assumed desperation to complete the set grows ever greater.

Maybe one day we’ll have another child. Perhaps we’ll have a daughter. Or maybe another son. We’d be deliriously happy, either way. So please, if you meet a dishevelled zombie with two, or even three, boys, don’t ask if they’d like a girl.

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Originally published at www.tantrum.xyz.