Peanut & Peanette
When I was pregnant a day wouldn’t go by without someone (normally a stranger on the bus) asking “So, you know what you’re having?” My “No and I don’t care as long as it is healthy” was more often than not met with a pinch of suspicion and a comment: “but you must prefer one. A boy? A girl?” Sometimes those inquisitive strangers would deduce from the curvature of my bump the gender of the BlueBeretOffspring. It is really good to know how far scientific advances have taken us.
No, I didn’t have a preference and we were as delighted with Peanut as we would have been with a little Peanette. And up until recently, I’ve led my life representing the female minority in a male dominated household. No glass ceilings or walls here even though I couldn’t care less about football, know nothing about music and struggle to tell left from right while driving at my maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. No glass partitions of any kind in the BlueBeret household, mainly because I think it would be a nightmare to clean all those sticky fingerprints mixed with snot off them. Enough digressing.
And until recently I didn’t think about “the whole gender issue” any more than I think about the subatomic particles looking for their other halves in Cern’s Large Haldron Collider first thing in the morning. Slap on the wrist for my internal sluggish feminist. But maybe it is me being an insignificant bolt in the great Working Mothers Apparatus or working with A Little Bit Rosy (the Girl Who Went To New York to Challenge UN on Women’s Issues).
If Peanut was a girl, he would read Ronia the Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren (one of the best children’s authors of all time in my opinion). Ronia’s story would teach Peanette that little girls are cool, brave and unafraid to speak their minds. That little girls can stand up to big men and challenge their attitudes and convictions. That they are free to follow their hearts (and brains, especially when they are attempting parallel parking).
If Peanut was a girl, he would learn that there is more to life that being a TOWIE or MiC gal waiting in a nail bar for a knight in shining Gucci, while the aforementioned tin man is hunting parking spaces in his Porsche.
I would pledge to lay good foundations there, in the wee Peanette’s brain, and build the next Shard of beliefs that little girls can be generals and popes, and whatever they want to be. And even though I’ve always been scared of Pippi Longstocking I would read to Peanette about Pippi too. Mind you, the irrational fear of little fiery girls with fiery pigtails and monkeys for best friends comes from a person who was also scared of the Muppets, and Big Bird and had nightmares about the Cookie Monster. I will leave it up to you if you want to trust my judgement.
If Peanut was a girl he would be allowed to wear pink and play with dolls. But if he chose to play with trucks and wear blue that would be ok too. It would be ok for him to love doing maths and building bridges. Or to love covering everything with glitter. It would be ok to climb trees. To find out what’s fun and what’s not. To play in the sandbox on equal terms with the boys.
If Peanut was a girl I would want for him to know he could achieve exactly as much as that little boy, playing football over there. And since Peanut is not a girl, I want him to know that he is as good as that little girl climbing up a tree in the distance. Boys need to hear that too.
His “lethargic feminist” mother will make sure that he grows up reading about Ronia and Pippi because if little boys grow up looking up to feisty little girls, girls who are “so strong you won’t believe it”, then they will want strong women to lead them, their businesses, their countries, their armies and their football teams.
If it wasn’t enough, one day, I will ask Peanut to read this post too.
And by the way, at least we didn’t name him Sue.
P.S As for the perpetual gender question – a dear friend of mine, currently pregnant, always answers with: “Of course we prefer a boy. If it is a girl it is going straight to a scrap yard”. You asked.