Okay – the weightiest matter is out of the way. Let’s move on to discussing a more lighthearted crossroads – and one that we did not have to make any decisions about, ha! Once we knew we were expecting a third baby, the next question, of course, was whether Baby Thomas would be a boy or a girl!
With June, I just knew from the beginning that she was a girl. With Shep, I said I didn’t have a strong feeling, but I think deep down I knew he was a boy… but just didn’t want to admit it because I was hoping for back-to-back girls. (Obviously, so happy he turned out to be who he is! :))
With a boy and a girl already in our family, the stakes felt pretty low to us this time around. Throughout the first half of my pregnancy, neither John nor I had strong feelings, and neither of us had a strong preference, either. (If you’re surprised by this because you’ve read my About page, know that my super power of guessing baby genders is most accurate for first babies – after that, I’m about as good as the next person :))
Just for fun, here were some of the thoughts that came up in discussion:
1. One of John’s biggest concerns with having three children was the fear that one would often end up being left out. As one of three ourselves, we both experienced this firsthand: in my family, my younger sister was definitely the odd gal out growing up (though happily, not anymore), and in John’s family, he was so much younger (and the only boy) that his older sisters naturally paired off (though also adore/d him!).
Though I agree that someone being left out at some point is inevitable, I also made the case that with the birth order we’ve already established, it will hopefully be less of an issue either way. If we were to have another boy, yes, the boys would pair off sometimes, but we could compensate with extra-special Mama time for June, as the oldest (and since we joke that she’s already a 5-year-old in a 36-year-old’s body, it’s probably what she’d prefer, ha!). If we were to have another girl, then there wouldn’t be as natural of a pairing, and would likely see more mixing and matching: sometimes the younger two might pair up, sometimes the older two, and sometimes the girls.
2. Girl clothing is WITHOUT A DOUBT more fun than boy clothing, and the idea of getting to re-air favorites from June’s wardrobe was thrilling. Either way, we’ll be well-stocked for clothes: I have plenty of favorites from both kids tucked away in our attic.
3. The biggest and most pressing reason that I was rooting for a girl: for several years, we’ve had a girl name locked and loaded… and ABSOLUTELY ZERO idea what we’d name a boy. Like, NO strong contenders whatsoever. (Whereas, for a girl, I had plenty of back-up options waiting in the wings, even though we already had a frontrunner!) Not only did I love and want to use the girl name we had picked out, but I was not looking forward to 20 weeks of wracking our brains for an acceptable boy name…
…which is why I’m very happy to share that our next few months can be spent window shopping for bows and dresses and floral sheets instead of poring over baby name databases! Yes, we are adding another little girl to our family!! We couldn’t be more excited and love talking about baby sister – she already seems like part of the family :)
I’d love to hear: if you have siblings, what’s something your parents did to encourage a close bond growing up? (Or, maybe you have older kids and something to share that has worked well so far!)
One thing that my parents did not do, that I’m experimenting with (inspired by NurtureShock, one of my favorite parenting books): reminding our kids that they are best friends and always will be (speaking it into being, ha!). I also try to verbally affirm that they are being “good friends” to each other when they do something kind, play nicely together, or are enjoying each other’s company. It’s been a few years since I read the book, so I’m a little fuzzy on the details, but I believe this suggestion came from the sibling rivalry chapter, and the idea that we have a lot more conditioning around friendship and how we treat friends. If we can translate some of that to siblings, it can be a great start! Would love to hear your experiences! :)
P.S. We asked the ultrasound tech to put the news in an envelope, then opened it on a Zoom call with both of our families – so fun! June was very set on biting into a cupcake to find out the news (after hearing about it from her cousins), so that’s what we did. You can see that our families were pretty evenly split on their final guesses, though interestingly, both John and I and both of the kids picked girl in the end!