Listen Up, Men!

girlThe males of the household are uncertain what to make of the news that, Lord willing, another female will be entering our family. They are all happy about it, of course, but they all seem to be somewhat dismayed as to what to do if the child happens to be, perish the thought, a girly-girl. 

Mary joined the family as a toddler and within hours, was up to her neck in every brother fracas imaginable. She tolerated the teasing, jumped into the middle of every rowdy scene, has a throwing arm second to none and is a laugh riot to be around. She enjoys dressing up and so forth, but I used to call her my ‘tomboy princess’ because she was never interested in too much of the girly stuff like dolls for long. The girl books I had planned to read to her never gripped her attention so they continue to sit on my shelf collecting dust. 

The discussion came up yesterday about what to do if this new sister is one of those kinds of girls who likes tea parties and dolls. There were long awkward silences as the men pondered this daunting possibility.

“It will be a triumph for femininity in this house!” I declared stoutly.

The men all groaned. One brother said, “Oh boy, now every time we come home we’ll get invited into her pink bedroom for TEA parties on miniature plates and all that stuff.”

William sat up suddenly from his lounging on the floor. “Who’s going to be using all those trucks and hot wheels tracks we saved? What about all the Thomas the Tank Engine stuff? It’s all going to go to WASTE?”

Then Tom, playing devil’s advocate, suggested, “Who says girls don’t want to play with that stuff. If we take it out, she won’t be able to resist getting into it! Just like Mary!”

There was general head nodding and agreement.

That did it. I slammed my fist down on the arm of my chair for emphasis.

“Enough of this, you guys! I’ve had years of rough housing in this home, weekends alone while you guys head off to air shows, football and cowboy museums and Packer games, and I put up with the sound of fierce super-soaker battles and mud tracked in on my clean floors. It’s time for change! It’s time for quiet evenings of reading Anne of Green Gables or Five Little Peppers to my daughter, elegant tea parties with petit fours and Earl Gray in china cups. It’s time for pink nighties and dolls in little cradles and dresses with ruffles and patent leather shoes, and Shirley Temple videos. Do you all have that straight? I will not put up with you turning this girl into Annie Oakley or encouraging her to wear baseball caps or Packer jerseys or (in Will’s case) Patriot football helmets! Is everyone clear on this?”

My fierce diatribe was greeted with hearty male laughter. I’m not sure what that means, but I will be watching this play out with great vigilance. As an act of defiance and as a vote in favor of at least one girly-girl in the family, I am going to shop for some white Priscilla curtains for a nursery. Not an NFL logo will be in sight when I am done with this baby’s bedroom! Guaranteed. 😉

23 thoughts on “Listen Up, Men!

  1. Jessica Fales says:

    Good Girl Ingrid! You may have to guard the door to the nursery like Annie Oakley to keep the boys from infiltrating, but I am sure you will be up to the task… 🙂

  2. Anjelle says:

    HAHA! This is so funny! my family and extended family situation is exactly reverse!
    We’re all girls 7 of us!! We were all thrilled when my cousin was pregnant with a boy but entirely clueless on how the households would look like! haha It’s Ryan’s third birthday in a few weeks his bedroom is already full of trucks and cars, Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam DVDs and Books. It’s refreshing buying blue after so much pink everywhere!
    God is awesome ey?
    God bless you guys!

  3. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Seven girls! Oh my. I have no idea what that is like. I imagine an all girl household has pitfalls of its own, just like male dominated ones. I have just one sister and we got along well because we were so different, neither was threatened or bothered by the other. Lisa was all sports and athletics all the time, and I wanted to be inside reading or baking or doing something that didn’t involve getting dirty or sweating. (Later on, I learned to like tennis in high school, but when I was young a leisurely bike ride or a genteel stroll around on my roller skates was about it.) While I was a little disdainful of the tomboy thing, I secretly admired her prowess athletically, and she thought I was OK buried in a book, so we got on just fine. But 7 girls and all those personalities. Sounds very lively in a feminine sort of way!

  4. Margaret L. Been says:

    What a scream! I love that post. Ingrid, I think you have surpassed Irma Bombeck–and I always thought she was a stitch!

  5. Mrs. U says:

    WONDERFUL post!!!! I gave a hearty laugh while reading your words to your boys, as well as a nod of understanding!!! While there are only 2 men in this house, the testosterone was QUITE overwhelming before our Elizabeth came home. Aaaaaaaahhhh!!!! Breath of fresh air!!! And she is SO into tea parties and playing mommy to her dolly and cooking in her miniature kitchen. And you know what? Mr. U and Joshua have fallen in LOVE with all the girly things around here!!

    I can’t wait to “hear” about all the fun that y’all will have with a little girl in the house!!!

    I am praying!!

    Mrs. U

  6. Lisa K says:

    That was a GREAT and hilarious post!! I come from a family of 4 girls and one boy so grew up in a very “female” house. I loved dolls and girly things. Now I have two boys, no girls – the opposite. I have to say one thing. My niece who is now in her 30s was a very girly girl, expert crafter, loves tea parties and everything Victorian. Her only child is a girl – and a total tomboy! She loves trucks and boy toys – never looked twice at dolls. Ironic isn’t it? (Though you’ve already had a girl like that – maybe this one will the “girly-girl”)
    At any rate – I can only dream of having a girly-girl grandchild someday who will love lavendar and rose, tiny cakes, and tea parties!

  7. Christina says:

    What a great post Ingrid! I was the only girl in the house and grew up to be a somewhat tomboy. My daughter, Elizabeth 3, loves to wear dresses yet still likes to play with toy snakes and dinosaurs. My husband and I didnt push anything on her. What she likes, she likes. She loves to help bake and cook but loves to wrestle with daddy just as much. A good combo. I am also having a girl and am anticipating what she will be like also! She will have an older brother and a sister so it will be interesting! Praying for you and your little girl!

  8. Les says:

    First off, congratualtions. I have to warn you, I have an hypothesis that goes like this: women who were girly girls and are very feminine as adults will always have tomeboys for daughters. Women who were tomboys as girls will always have girly girls for daughters. I’ve watched it happen too often for this to be a mere statistical fluke as far as my sampling is concerned. For example, my mom wanted a girly girl but I loved GI Joe, wrestling, everything outdoorsy and books. My sister-in-law is a cowgirl but my niece is all into dolls, pretty dresses and painted nails. I think God plans it this way not as a joke but so we can temper each other or balance each other out. Anyway, I am happy for you!

  9. Carol says:

    HA,HA, HA!!! All I can say, Ingrid, is that our God has a sense of humor and His own way of balancing things out! I saw a commercial on TV a week or so ago that I just loved where a little girl had two big brawny relatives sitting at her little table and chairs having a tea party with her! She obviously had them wrapped around her little fingers and I suspect the day will come in your home when the same thing will happen and all those men will be willing to do whatever she wants just to spend time with her and see her smile up at them! God knows if deep down in your heart you would be blessed with a girl who loves pink ribbons and bows! Love, Carol

  10. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Hi Les,
    When you have more than one daughter, maybe your hypothesis breaks down? My mother had me as first daughter, and mom always encouraged the girly side. I wanted to be just like my darling mother first and foremost and traipsed around in her high heels pretending. But then my sister arrived and she provided the balance. I wanted to say that I love tomboys just as much as girly girls. I thought it would be fun, however, to have a few mom-daughter experiences that I can relate to a little more. Needless to say, I don’t relate well to athletics and tomboy activities. You can admire differences like a great throwing arm, but it doesn’t mean you can always relate! As Mary gets older, she is definitely becoming more ladylike and less inclined towards mud and the less girly stuff. She’s a beautiful girl all in her own right. Just wanted to say that.

  11. Becky says:

    The Five Little Peppers…I read that as a child. It was one of my favorite books. You are the first person I have ever seen/heard mention it.
    I hope your daughter is as girly as they come!

  12. Cheryl says:

    Ingrid, I am getting so excited for you!
    My youngest daughter had her 8th birthday today. She was born after a very difficult pregancy (which followed a serious illness of mine) 7 weeks prematurely, when I was 40 years old. All are well now–Praise the Lord!–both she and myself!
    This little one is such a blessing to our family. She is the most girly-girl imaginable…think pink, tea parties, dolls, art, piano, and anything frou-frou. She wears *only* dresses (her choice, not a family standard), even to the point of loving nightgowns and disdaining pajamas! All of my girls are feminine (I have 3 daughters and 1 son), but this one takes the cake (as long as it has pink icing :-).
    What a blessing the Lord is creating! I continue to pray for all of you.

  13. Vicki says:

    Hi Ingrid, couldn’t find an email for you but wanted to ask something – did you leave facebook? Also, did Ken? Inquiring minds wanted to know:-)

  14. Les says:

    I think the mom-daughter experiences will come, they did for me at least. I learned to appreciate shopping, cooking and visiting with my mom and her friends when I got older and we became closer whenever I visited home after I moved away for university. I think it is important for mothers not to force their daughters into a sort of social mold as it exacerbates teenage rebellion and may cause long-lasting damage to the relationship. As Mary matures and discovers new interests I know you will find things in common. You must be patient, you never expect a flower to bloom in minutes right before your eyes.

    My hypothesis breaks down when I sample homes with multiple daughters. I need more samples to give an accurate interpretation of the situation. Ha.

  15. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    I did get off Facebook after a few months of it. I found several things about my experience distasteful and when I factored in the time I was tempted to spend, I had to pull the plug. Because of visibility on Crosstalk, I had a strange assortment of Facebook “friends”, most of whom I did not know. Yet I also had family on there posting personal things, former classmates from high school, and past friends from my Republican party days at UWM, and things got a little weird. One guy who friended me from College Republicans years ago posted his latest drinking adventures on my Wall, I was tagged in old photos, and a former friend-turned-anarchist showed up posting leftist political rants that I had to delete. It was a relief to get off there, frankly, as each morning I never knew what I would find on my wall!

    I have all the social networking I need with my Hope blog, and I am thankful to say that the friends I have here are a refreshing and encouraging group! I don’t know about Ken on Facebook. I’m not sure if he is still on or not.

  16. ab says:

    Our first girl of out three children was somewhat into dolls and dresses but liked being a tomboy too. Our second child, our only son, has always been a boy’s boy – tonka trucks, farm implements, toy guns, army movies and football. Our third child, another daughter, is ALL about dressing up, loves SHOES, and is the bookworm extraordinaire in the house – she has me beat. She is twelve and i have enjoyed and still enjoy her so much. You’re going to have so many sweet moments with your new little girl. And I think the experienced parent who has been through all the first time fevers, skinned knees etc. can enjoy even more of those moments…

  17. Anjelle says:

    Dear Ingrid,
    so sorry i only just saw your reply, English is not my first language and sometimes i explain things wrong! I meant my sister and extended family (first cousins) are all girls all seven of us! Just wanted to clear that up and apologise for the confusion, re-reading what i had written did sound like i said i have 7sisters! see the problem is, i think in Greek and write in English and my grammar gets messed up sometimes! HAHA

    I come from a Cypriot family and family is a HUGE thing so you are around each other’s houses all the time, so growing up it kind of DID feel like having 6 sisters. We were all different to each other but it was girl talk all the time! that’s why we were all really happy that one of us (the first who got married) was pregnant with a boy although we were all clueless on how it would be. dresses, ribbons and just PINK is all we were used to! haha

    Have a good day sister
    you are in my prayers!

  18. akaGaGa says:

    As the long-awaited only girl (after 3 boys) my mother had similar ideas when I was born.

    I hate to tell you this, but a couple months ago -54 years later – I finally had to tell her in no-uncertain-terms to stop buying me things with ruffles and flowers because I won’t wear them. (The latest offering was a pair of brown pants with large pink embroidered flowers, everywhere.)

    This precious little girl will be exactly who God is designing. Don’t argue with Him. 🙂

  19. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Well, akaGaGa,
    Thankfully, I have some experience with our first daughter, and nobody forced her to be what she wasn’t. It wouldn’t have worked anyway. 😉 But I can still hope for a ruffle or two… One of the great things about having children is that they are like unknown packages that you unwrap over the years to see what God has given you. Sometimes it’s a big surprise. For example, my firstborn son has perfect pitch and was given violin lessons for 9 years. Each teacher had high hopes for him because of his musical ability. Unfortunately, the LOVE for music ended up in the heart of my next son, who does not have the musical ability. He’s the one listening to great music in his room, going to classical music concerts and bringing me new things to listen to. One got the ability, and the other got the musical soul. Sam does play bagpipes, however, and does a great job at that. There must be a little Scottish or Irish in there somewhere in the bloodline! With 5 children, I have never argued with God about the outcome. Bad idea. Kids are all individuals, and I love every one of them! My post was intended as somewhat tongue in cheek as no mom should want to force her vision of girlhood on a daughter, even if it would work!

  20. Carol says:

    Hi Ingrid, I love how you described God’s gift of children as packages that you slowly unwrap over the years to see what He has given you! It is so true! It is so amazing to watch the stages and development and see them become a separate little person with their own personalities! I was blessed with two children, one daughter and one son. I had wanted four, but that was not in His plan but He has blessed my daughter with four and me with four beautiful grandchildren, three of them girls! God is good! It has been fun watching the granddaughters go through their stages like the “lavender and pink stage” and share with them how their mother liked that at a certain age! Also fun is seeing them go through the stages of enjoying the good books that their mother enjoyed at the same ages! I’m so glad that I kept those books! My youngest granddaughter is almost one and she looks so cute in pink! And she loves music just like the others and moves back and forth and smiles when she hears it, just like the others did! Now the oldest is fifteen and she is liking pink again and loves the soft pink blanket that I gave her for her bed! Oh yes, one cute thing about when my daughter was a baby is that she did not get attached to a security blanket, but she got attached to one of her dresses when she was about six months old and would fall asleep with it while rubbing on the lace and would clasp it in her hand wherever we would go! I finally had to cut it in half so that I could put it in the wash without her wailing and people would ask me what that was that she was holding and I would tell them that it was her “security dress”! Children sure are all unique!

  21. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    That’s hilarious. A “security dress!” Kids all come up with their own little quirks and hallmarks. Sammy called his blanket his “kiki” (Somehow “blankie” morphed into “kiki.” He dragged it everywhere so I bought him an identical one in order to get one in the washer without him missing it. Once at about age 2, I put on a sweater vest made out of the same shade of pastel green as his “kiki.” As I was brushing my hair, he stood there staring at me with a perplexed look on his face. I didn’t know what the problem was until he reached up and began fingering my vest. “Kiki?” he asked, completely puzzled. He apparently thought I had made his blanket over into an item of clothing! Children make you laugh like nothing else. One last anecdote and I’ll quit. When they start talking, it’s the funniest. Our Mary was always the one with the howlers. At about 4 when she got home from taking a walk with her daddy one evening, she announced that she had just had a nice “collapsing” walk with daddy. She, of course, meant “relaxing…”

  22. Lisa K says:

    I have a a theory that God gives us what “balances” us. I was a girly-girl child – did not like sports and was disdainful and somewhat afraid of “rough” boys. I thought all the bad people in the world were male without realizing it. I only imagined myself with daughters and when I ended up with my first son I was terrified I would not know how to be a mother to a boy! Needless to say having my two boys turned me around. I realize that good and bad people come in both sexes. God wanted me to get aquainted with the”other side” – I now feel comfortable with boys – and appreciate that I got to “relive” childhood – but through boys eyes this time. I laugh thinking how shocked my childhood self would be to see me now – nary a girly thing in sight but enjoying boys of all ages!

  23. Deanna says:

    Hilarious. I hope she’s as girly as we can get!
    And don’t forget Little Women and all the Little House books! oh, and later everything by Jane Austen

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