"Wotcha ‘avin, a boy or don’t you mind?" this was the beginning of a conversation Jamie would have preferred not to have but it got him thinking. He had a boy (Congratulations Jamie and welcome Arlo, to the Up All Hours fold!) and no, he didn't mind but plenty of people seem to think he should.
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A few weeks ago we welcomed our second baby into the world! He’s called Arlo and he’s just wonderful!
A couple of weeks before Arlo’s arrival, I was out on our driveway giving our new car bit of a clean when our neighbour joined me. Our conversation went something like this:
Neighbour: Alright Jay? New motor?
Me: Yeah, needed something a bit bigger, you know, what with the dogs, Edie (our first child) and the new baby.
Neighbour: What baby’s that Jay?
Me: Our baby, we’re due in a couple of weeks.
Neighbour: Are ya? I didn’t know. Wotcha ‘avin’, a boy or don’t you mind?
‘A boy or don’t you mind?!’ This made me laugh, I forgot we live in the 1700s. I politely finished our chat soon after, chuckling to myself, simply putting our conversation down to him being bit of a lad – you know, in his late-40s, wears a Chelsea tracksuit every day, insists on calling me ‘Jay’, that kind of thing.
Anyway, I digress. As a matter of fact, we didn’t know Arlo’s sex and to answer my neighbour, no, we didn’t mind. With both pregnancies we didn’t find out, preferring the excitement, anticipation and tradition of not knowing. We also know we’re just lucky to have children and would never worry about their sex. I couldn’t care less if we had ten girls!
My neighbour got me thinking though. Do we still live at a time, when mum’s and dad’s obsess, over the sex of their child? I know certain countries and faiths still do, but surely not us liberal Brits? We’ve just lost the king of liberalism, David Bowie and surely we’ve moved on from gender preferences and fixating over having a ‘little man’ or a ‘pink princess’? Based on this one brief conversation I was happy to laugh it off, but remarkably within the next month I heard similar comments.
The first came when I overheard a mother expecting her third baby. Her remark was, ‘God, if I have another boy I think I’ll top myself’. That’s the spirit! I know/hope she’s only speaking in jest but when countless people out there struggle to conceive or worst still, lose babies, such negativity is perhaps a little thoughtless isn’t it?
The next occasion came whilst having a beer with some friends and I was congratulated on the birth of Arlo. ‘Well done mate, you must be so proud to have a boy?’ Err, what? Was I not proud when we had our daughter then? Just because I’m a man, am I supposed to be automatically programmed to dream of a 5-a-side football team’s worth of boys? Whether a child is a boy or girl shouldn’t really have any relevance to pride.
And the final time, which wasn’t quite as wayward, was when I was talking to a family, who, like us have one boy and one girl. Apparently, with one boy and one girl they have ‘the perfect family, so why try for more’? So, on that basis, are families made up of same-sex multiples imperfect? I’ve heard similar things before from other parents who have said they’d only want another baby if it could be a boy/girl (delete as appropriate).
Bonkers, just bonkers!
Perhaps I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, but it doesn’t really need to be an issue at all if current, or prospective parents, could soften their candid views. I’m positive (hopeful) such preferences must immediately vanish upon the joyful arrival of their newborn, regardless of gender.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful for everyone to be grateful and simply jubilant, that they can actually have, the wondrous miracles that are children – they’re bloomin’ amazing, regardless of their sex!