Monday, July 18, 2011

Two Girls and a Boy

Our first two children were girls. I wasn't really all fixated on the idea of having a son, but there was that part of me that hoped for one - someone to carry the family name forward from me, and all that. In the mid-80s, though, just as I was passing into my 30s and gearing up my genealogy hobby, it was a matter of some small concern to me to consider the generation of my cousins, the descendants of my paternal grandfather. My grandfather had three sons (ie, bearers of the family name); my Uncle Neville (as I'll call him here) had three daughters, so the name wouldn't be passing on through his kids; Uncle Levi had six kids, four of whom were sons, but none of them had gotten married, much less had kids, as they were passing into their own 30s; and my Dad had seven kids, five sons, of whom I was the only one married, and up to that point, I only had girls. So the survival of our family name was somewhat of an open question at that point.

Of course, I needn't have worried. Within a couple years, I had the first of what would eventually grow to a group of five sons (none of whom is married as I write this, but there's still plenty of time). Three of Uncle Levi's sons married, and each of them had at least one son, and three of my four brothers married, producing one more son between the three of them. So the family name seems reasonably safe for another generation or two (and I wouldn't even be all that concerned about it, but our name is not a common one, and we're kinda proud of it).

Anyway, I hasten to be clear that, 'passing on the name' aside, I love my daughters (and nieces), and cherish their place in my life just as much as I love and cherish my sons. And even where The Name is concerned, what was I gonna do about it, anyway? God gives us the children He gives us, and we bring them all into our family with gratitude and love. Just, you know, for the sake of saying so. . .


My first three children gave me small opportunities to observe certain, shall we say, tendencies, demarcating differences between girls and boys. Which is an interesting idea, all by itself, because neither Jen nor I are very 'stereotypical' in terms of 'gender roles'. She was a pretty tomboy-ish girl who liked playing in the mud, and working with tools, and all that, and I was a pretty bookish, nerdy boy (tea parties and doll-houses never much interested me, though). Even now, I tend to be more emotional than she does; we often joke between ourselves that she's a pretty 'guy-ish' woman, and I'm a more 'chick-ish' guy, at least as far as many of the common stereotypes go.

But, as has been noted on occasion (although it's not such a popular idea just now), stereotypes don't just appear out of thin air; they usually arise out of some basis in 'general' fact, even if it isn't terribly helpful in specific cases.

We have often gotten a chuckle from the disparate responses of our kids to things like weird bugs that they found on the sidewalk. Toddler 1F would spy the strange-looking critter, and run away from it, maybe even crying. Little 2F would most likely squat down for a closer look, maybe even pick it up in the palm of her hand and pet it. But 3M's response was more, um, 'elemental' - he'd stomp on it, usually with a triumphal shout.

So, you know, the contrast was pretty clear. . .

Testosterone - it's a wonderful thing. . .


And estrogen!  Estrogen is wonderful, too!  If, you know, you happen to rock that way. . .



  1. Ya know, it's amazing how some folks are fixated on the boy and name thing. When Queenie and I stopped at 2 girls we fielded questions for years about when we were going to add a boy and how we had to 'protect' our name for posterity. Eh, I;m not worried.

  2. My husband likes to pronounce that he is Gay except for the sex part. He's bookish and nerdy (he's a writer actually). But I think it's fun to hear a guy that's 6'5" 240, very built and kind of furry say that.
    Neither my brothers, nor my uncles had boys.
    My family name is also kind of rare (and a pita to spell). I gave it to the kids as a middle name. At least it's still kind of around.
    I didn't take my husbands name, it would have sounded stupid with my fist name. Plus I was/am too lazy to deal with all the paperwork.
    Favorite bug story regarding my boy, while regarding an insect on the sidewalk he proclaimed with glee "not dead yet, will be soon!"

  3. first name. I can't tell you my fist name, it's private

  4. Of course, one of your daughters might go the way of MY WIFE, which is to keep her own name after marriage. A "Lucy Stoner", as I recall.

  5. Xavier - Oh, I know. Really. And it's not like I could really do anything about it, anyway. (Altho, I do worry just a little about what happens when China and India have 100 million or so 'surplus' males, because the one-child policy drives significant numbers of 'em to abort their girls. . .)

    I know a woman who is one of nine girls born to her parents. Finally, her father figured that it was Mom's fault, so he left her. . . and had a son with his second wife.


    Schweeney - Virtually all 6-5, 240-lb men will have my respect. Especially if they're built and kinda furry. No matter how Gay they say they are. . .

    And I generally try to avoid close personal contact with other people's fists. . .

    Suldog - Hey! I went to high school with Lucy Stoner!

    I actually encouraged Jen to hang onto her maiden name, and use it as her middle name. But alas, it is somewhat susceptible to crude puns, and she wasn't so sorry to see it go. . .

  6. I'm sort of sad that my maiden name ends with my generation. Even though my grandfather was one of 10 kids, he was the only boy to marry (I think there were only 2 boys out of the 10) and then he had my dad, an only child. My brother never married, so I guess that's the end.

  7. ok about the name family name seems destined to die out and it makes me a little bit sad. enough so that part of me wishes i could redo naming my boy and give my maiden name as his middle name or that i'd kept my name.

    as for the girlish part of you now i am giggling thinking of you in a pink gingham dress with your pinky extended while holding a delicate china cup. you are one hirsute little girl!

    and re: the gender differences. though my oldest was a complete tomboy and she is a hunter who doesn't mind gutting her own deer in the least yes, her brother has ALWAYS had a drive to DOMINATE his world. she just needs to dominate people. lol

  8. Bijoux - See, you understand what I'm saying. It's a little sad to think that one's family name might be ending. Interesting, too, that two women have resonated with that idea in the comments here. . .

    I remember hearing, some years back, that the last living descendant of Abraham Lincoln had died; Honest Abe has no descendants on this earth any more. Which, on one level, simply is what it is. But it also seems like some sort of loss to the human gene pool, if you know what I mean. . .

    Lime - Yeah, we talked about giving one of our kids Jen's maiden name as a middle name; but, as I said, she just ain't all that fond of it. . .

    And listen - I'll admit to being more emotional than the average guy, and appreciating poetry and music. But I've never worn pink gingham in my life, OK? Tie-dye, sure, OK. . .

    And I'll remember to be properly wary of your Diana. Lest, you know, I end up gutted. . .

  9. My bro is the last to carry on the family name and it looks like it ends with him as they have two beautiful girls and no plans for any other children.

    And, it looks like that same burden to carry on the family name will rest on my son's shoulders as well as he is the only male child with my hubby's family name.

  10. Hi, Flutter! Good to see you in The Yard again!

    It's funny, ain't it - the whole 'name' thing? But I sure wouldn't want to put a bunch of pressure on anybody on account of it. Easy for me to say, tho - I've got five sons (but you know, so did my dad, and apart from me, there's only one other male grandchild from those five sons. . .)