Monday, March 17, 2008

code pink redux

The clock is winding down on my pity party and I'm about to rejoin the land of the living. I promise. I really have been keeping up with all of your blogs - I just haven't been commenting like I usually do. But in the meantime, this "oldie but goodie" is for you, Mya. Talk about timing...


During the years I was popping out babies, I always hoped there would be a girl in there somewhere by the time I was done. This desire was based on lots of notions that may or may not be true, but I really hoped, each time that EPT turned blue, that there would an innie at the end of nine months instead of an outie. And as we know, it just wasn't meant to be. I reside in Boyville, a run-down suburb of Testerone Town, where the air is permanently filled with the funky smell of wet toilet seats and well-hidden science experiments. There is no pink in my house unless it's mine, and when my kids misbehave I tell them to expect a Malibu Barbie playset for their next birthday as penance. Works like a charm.


And the thing is...it's okay. It really is. Somehow, over the years, the need for a daughter has gone away. I adore my stinky boys, no matter how much I bitch about them, and am grateful every day of my life that I have them around. I can overlook that sometimes when I'm removing forbidden dirty dishes from bedrooms, and listening to the repetitive whap whap whap of a soccer ball against the wall for hours on end, and when I'm being forced to watch people get to new levels of video games I don't give a rat's ass about and pretending to look interested. It really is okay with me that I don't have a girl.


Part of it is seeing what's going on with my friends and family who do have girls. It really is a different world out there and I'm not sure I'm cut out for it. I have a couple of surrogate daughters I can borrow for a few hours when the mood strikes, but when the estrogen levels get too high I can just send them on their way. I'm well schooled in boy drama, but girl drama, even though I am one, confuses me.


We've had a run of attempted suicides at work the last few weeks and they've all been girls. Girls who have broken up with their boyfriends or been dissed by a "best friend" or wanted badly to get their parent's attention somehow. Beautiful, intelligent, well-loved girls. Girls who come in on stretchers in a blare of sirens. Girls who are unconscious while their hysterical parents stand at the bedside and give police reports. We haven't had one succeed yet, but it's always in the back of my mind, taunting me. Most of the time they aren't even awake when we ship them to ICU or, god help me, peds, but I just want to shake them and ask them what the hell they were thinking. I at least want to share my personal mantra with them, maybe even at the top of my lungs...


There is no man on Earth worth dying for unless you gave birth to him. Period. If you don't have children (or sons) feel free to delete the second half of the sentence and I still stand by it. We had a grown woman with four small children come in OD'd with a note that thanked her cheating husband for finally giving her a reason to kill herself. WTF? This is how you pay him back? I believe in the Roseanne Barr theory - Stay alive and really make 'em suffer. Or here's a thought...be a dignified human being and get on with your life. Model that behavior for your kids. I'm not saying that all females get sucked into this destructive behavior, that's not my point at all. It's the internalization of feelings vs. the externalization that I'm talking about.


Now I'm the first to admit that I've never had a girl patient come in saying she'd been hit with a baseball bat because her friends wanted to see if it would hurt. Never had a girl patient cut by broken glass when she tied a brick to ceiling fan blades to see what would happen. Never once had a girl patient who ate a lit pack of matches on a dare. But we get a lot of boys (and very often men, sadly enough) who seem to think this is all par for the course. And while I think they're idiots I have enough boy experience to almost understand the thought process (or lack thereof).

But the girl drama? I just don't get it. At all.

28 comments:

Iota said...

When expecting my third, I was so cross with people who assumed that I really really wanted a girl. Assumed I was having a third BECAUSE I wanted a girl (that's gambling with dangerous odds). Some even said so in front of the boys, which made me even crosser. By the end of the pregnancy, I was so fed up with it all, that I was looking forward to having a boy and proving them all wrong. I was going to show him off and say "actually I wanted another boy all along". I was looking forward to it. And then I had a gorgeous girl, which was and has been great (but takes a bit of getting used to after boys).

ped crossing said...

People still ask me occasionally if we are going to try for a girl.

And I know deep down, that it would be another boy. One of these days, I'll blog about not having girls.

Corey~living and loving said...

okay....so this post FREAKED me out......I sooooooo wish I could push pause on my sugar and keep her just as she is right NOW!

Carolyn said...

Wow!! I'm so glad "you're back." This was an AMAZING post! No wonder I've been having nightmares about little Csilla's safety lately. The fantasies I've been having about locking her up and throwing away the key don't seem so crazy right about now.

But, I know your intention was not to scare the crap out of us moms with girls. I take it more as a word to the wise. The dangers that face our daughters are as much internal as external. Our job is to build in enough self-worth and inner peace, that they would never consider harming themselves for a man or anyone else (or thing) in their lives.

Thanks for an important lesson! More more more more more.

Sweet Irene said...

I don't know what to say. Boys and girls can hurt equally bad over a love gone wrong. They can express if differently in equally destructive ways. I don't know if feeling like a total looser and a total waste of a human being is gender bound, just the way you act it out may be.

Mya said...

Thanks for posting this again, RC. This combines all the great things about your writing - warmth, humanity, wit and insight. As one of three girls, it has some resonance for me - we were all such drama queens when we were younger.

And you know, timing is everything!!

Mya x

belle said...

Girl drama? I don't get it either. And I am one. And I have one. A girl. Complete with the drama. My son has nightmarish dramatic tendencies too but somehow they're more straightforward.

Flowerpot said...

Last year I would have agreed with you RC but a friend of mine's son committed suicide recently - over his ex-girlfriend. Well, she was the trigger point. so I guess ot works both ways. But please dont worry about that happening to your boys - I'm sure it won't.

softinthehead said...

Great post, lots of great insight, glad to hear you are feeling a little better. From your post, I don't think we need to worry about you too much.

laurie said...

my sister had three sons. she said she never really wanted a daughter because sons are so much easier. just get 'em a supply of jeans and t-shirts and they're good for the whole school year.

my brother, on the other hand, had three daughters. funny how that works.

i'm pretty sure i left this exact same comment on the previous version of this post.

Kaycie said...

My daughter is my first born. She is 17 now, and looking back, about the only time I would have traded her for a boy would be the year she was 13. Ugh. But even then she had her positive moments. Yes, she's been tough in some ways. Yes, she is more work than the boys in a lot of ways. But I know her intimately. She is a joy.

I love my boys. They are wonderful. There are moments where the emotional connection is just as strong as with my daughter. But those moments are fewer and I work harder for them. Perhaps they feel a bit more special because of the work.

I wouldn't trade her for a boy or the boys for girls. There is something unique and special about having children of each gender.

Rudee said...

I have 2 girls and a boy- they're all special to me. I will say, my son was easier to raise. However, my daughters haven't yet come home with broken bones. By default, I've spent more time in ER waiting rooms with him. Especially the time Some Dude pushed him off a skateboard.

ciara said...

my son is my oldest, but i never had all the stuff that comes along w boys w him...you know, broken bones, doing stupid crap just to see who can do it better, etc.

the girls are 11 and 9...i try everyday to let them know that no man is ever worth being put down for, treated bad, abused, etc. maybe you're just seeing more girls, but suicide is prevalent w teens in general...and boys have done the same over a girl or bullying..many other reasons.

there are parents who do the best that they can and still these kids do it. there is so much more going on inside them that we just don't know about.

my son was easier, but i love having girls around. there's going to be so much more drama i'm sure (women tend to be more emotional than men...some more than others), and it probably doesn't help that men/society put a lot of pressures on girls to be thin enough, smart enough, pretty enough.

Kaytabug said...

High 5! What an awesome post! Having 3 boys, and wishing DEEPLY each time I pushed them out that I would have a girl. It still bothers me that I do not get to have a mother daughter relationship but as each year goes by I become more okay with my fate. Like you I don't get it and I think boys just might be easier to raise than girls.

Amazing post!!

aims said...

Having now children of my own - I can't comment on the boy or girl thing...

But as for the No Man is Worth Killing Yourself Over - How absolutely true!

That being said - if The Man was to be yanked away in the next split second - I hope I get yanked at the same time...

But for the men that shit on you? Pffft - it's better to shit on them and then use them to wipe up....

Diana said...

I don't get girl drama, either. Mine is 5 and already the drama queen. I shudder. The hormone swings. The pregnancies. The STDs. (Yes, boys can get them, too, but the girls tend to carry them without the symptoms). The eating disorders. The pressures to be Barbie-bodied.

God help us.

Akelamalu said...

I was happy having two boys and MWM decided that was enough for him too. He always said if we'd had a daughter she'd be locked in the attic like Rapunzel so no-one could hurt her. However, since our grandaughter Gracie came on the scene he recently announced he wished we'd tried again for a girl! What the f...d is that all about??? :(

the mother of this lot said...

I think mine are more the hitting with a baseball bat type of girl...'

Swearing Mother said...

Fabulous post RC, I've got a boy and a girl so I kinda get both points of view.

Boys, oh yes you are so right. Especially about the dumb injuries they tend to inflict on themselves or each other. I got so used to it that when my 14 year old son lept off the top of a flight of concrete steps and head-butted a steel lintel (he was very tall even then), I was so sick of going to the doctor's with him I just stuck his scalp together with Steri-strip and kept an eye on him for concussion. He now blames me for a lumpy hairline, and I guess he's right. Bad mother.

Whereas my daughter, although we wage psychological warfare on each other from time to time, has never really blamed me for anything as far as I know. Guess if she'd split her head open I might have taken her to A and E.

Frankly I also understand what you mean when you say "there is no man on earth worth dying for unless you gave birth to him." I'd like to add that if everything is alright with you and those you gave birth to, the rest will all be OK, eventually.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Here's my dirty little secret: When I was expecting my first child, I really, really wanted a boy. When I popped out a girl, well, of course, I was happy. But I was also just a wee bit disappointed. When I found out I was having a boy the second time, I was ecstatic. One girl I can handle. Any more than that and I think our house would go into hormone overdrive, what with my menopause and my daughter's periods. Boys are so easy emotionally. What you see is what you get. That doesn't mean they don't feel emotions or aren't sensitive. But it's all there.

Potty Mummy said...

Thanks for reminding me why I'm happy to stick with what we have, RC.

Maggie May said...

That was a BRILLIANT post. I really enjoyed reading it.
I had a boy & a girl, so the best of both worlds.
I agree that no man is worth dying for (after a break up!)
Show them you can manage probably hurts more!

Sandy said...

That wa briliant and very timely, too! Glad that you're resurfacing...

Jettie said...

I think i will have my daughter read thid post. Well said!!

Lil Mouse said...

i was a third child, not quite planned, and the only girl. needless to say no one wanted to play barbies unless they wanted to hurt them or me, and i was never very girly anyway. anything girly i did was hushed and shushed and called inappropriate. you shouldnt scream when someone hits you in the face - then you get spanked and nothing happens to them. what? yeah, life in my house was truly unfair. and only one time did I carry on crying for over an hour when I'd been hit, so that for once, justice would be served. being a girl in an all boy family is not the greatest. I was stuck between trying to be a girl and not knowing how, and trying NOT to be like my brothers. anything they liked, i didnt want anything to do with (smokes, alcohol, riding a bike, driving, etc) -- my development was shattered and splintered into pieces. I still dont feel right. I'm treated as if - I dont know, as if I never grew up, but I was the most mature, I took care of things, I didnt waste money or have sex as a pre-teen or ride around drunk. and yet somehow? I'm still treated the worst. When I went to college, graduated with over a 3.9, the comment was 'oh i thought you went to college to get married' -- shattered. nothing i did was ever good enough. its hard to be motivated when you do everything exactly right and you're still just 'nothing' -- kind of kills your motivation to do anything. maybe you'll be lucky with your boys and they'll all come out of this in their own unique ways, as stronger, more capable men, that DONT treat women like they are nothing.

janet said...

i can so relate to this post. i had three boys before the little pink princess arrived, and oh the differences!

middle-school girl wars are some of the nastiest, dirty, evil battles known to (wo)man. i cannot believe what girls will do to each other, never mind what they will do when boys are involved.

my "little" girl is 13 now ... and her cold cruel world scares the holy crap out of me.

PinkAcorn said...

I have three boys, too! But I finally got a grand daughter, whoo hooo!

We had a run of OD'ers in the ICU last month....one of them had a "mother" who wouldn't even come to see her daughter....grrr.

holly said...

oh wow. i can NOT believe the girl drama. i have an eight year old, who i'm constantly reminding is 8, not 18. who likes who today and who has been staring at whom and who is my best friend forever but yesterday she was mean. oh my good lord i'm glad number two is a boy. a cuddly, simple boy.