Thronged were the streets with people; and noisy groups at the house-doors
Sat in the cheerful sun, and rejoiced and gossiped together,
Every house was an inn, where all were welcomed and feasted;
For with this simple people, who lived like brothers together,
All things were held in common, and what one had was another’s.
Yet under Benedict’s roof hospitality seemed more abundant:
For Evangeline stood among the guests of her father;
Bright was her face with smiles, and words of welcome and gladness
Fell from her beautiful lips, and blessed the cup as she gave it.
‘Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie’ (1847) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
We’re having a girl, and her name will be Evangeline. She will be born during the fist week of August, which makes sense because August is an awesome month.
I didn’t want to know, but my girlfriend wanted to tell me so badly she looked like she was about to burst. Just based on how she was bouncing around after getting back from the ultrasound I kind of had a pretty good idea it was a girl.
We started discussing having a second child almost immediately after our son was born, in 2009. And my girlfriend always had a semi-secret smile when she talked about the possibility of having a girl.
She wasn’t the only one, her oldest son has been talking about having a little sister for a year now. And my mother has wanted a protege for a long, long time.
I’ve been telling my girlfriend I was totally cool either way for our first, and for this one. But, honestly, the idea of raising a girl is freaking me out.
It’s probably not rational, but raising a girl just seems insanely complicated. And scary as hell. Not the clinical stuff, not the health stuff, but teaching her how to be safe. Or how to be a princess.
To be honest I find most “girl” things are, mostly, ridiculous. Ponies? Gymnastics? I have to go to gymnastics meets now? Unicorns, I’ll have to learn about unicorns. And sparkles.
Teaching my son how to defend himself will be easy. People who meet him are all certain he’s going to be a large person, so teaching him to defend himself is basically going to be me showing him how to throw a punch from the shoulder. He’s already beating up his older brother.
But I’m already starting to have nightmares about my daughter asking me how to defend herself against the insane self-esteem attack games girls make on other girls. Jesus, what if she’s the first one in her class to “develop”? What if she’s last?
What if she asks me for advice on dealing with the ‘mean girls’ in her class and I screw it up?
Obviously I’ll try my best to get her interested in sports, like real sports. There are soccer and rugby leagues in this region for girls, and also a mixed hockey league.
But what do I say when she asks me for advice on boys? How do I keep her safe from the ‘pornification’ of high school dating?
How long do I wait before explaining to her that people like Rush Limbaugh exist?
Thankfully there are a lot of women, alive and not so much, on my side of the family who will serve as excellent role models for my daughter. My paternal grandmother, for example, was a mathematician who worked with Alan Turing. My three sisters are all brilliant, strong women, who have lived interesting lives.
My mother had a book of her poetry published when she was barely twenty. She went on to work as a book and magazine editor, and won several awards for her reporting. Her aunt became a Catholic nun when she was a teenager, and taught high school for forty years. She was also a brilliant painter and could kill a person with a stare at thirty paces.
So maybe, with living examples and stories about her ancestors, Evangeline might have a chance to survive despite my neophyte parenting skills…
The first two videos are from the standup of Louis CK, the funniest person on the planet five years in a row. He talks about his daughters a lot, and I think I’ll be using his act as a tutorial for at least the first seven years of my daughters life. The third video is the trailer for a movie called ‘Thirteen’, one of the most powerful movies ever made about girls ‘coming of age’, and a movie that scares the shit out of me.
[Three] YouTube Alert(s). If you can’t see them, click here.
Fear not. Girls aren’t all pink and cooking and baby dolls. Many play soccer, love animals, and reading, and computers. Then they kick off the cleats, don the pink ruffles and bows and melt Daddy’s heart. You’re going to LOVE it! (Evangeline is a beautiful name!)
With a birthday in August, chances are slim she’ll be the first in her class to develop. Better shot at being last, unless you live around schools where everyone redshirts their summer-born children.
There’s a young woman (17?) who works weekends at the gas station where I buy my milk and pop, she’s being raised by her single mom, she plays rugby and soccer, gets marks in the mid-90’s and is going to university next year to learn how to bio-engineer a cure for cancer.
I have to find her mother and interview her…
I saw the ‘red shirt’ piece on 60 Minutes, I find it bizarre American families are making parenting decisions based on Canadian hockey age cut-off rules. Full day kindergarten (re: unofficial daycare) in Ontario starts when kids are three, but because Victor was born in December that means he’ll be almost four when he starts school (he turns three a few months after school starts, so he’ll have to wait)… which, I think, makes him a red-shirt.
If (when) Evangeline is born in August it means she’ll be one of the younger three-year olds in her class… I have a friend who has kept her daughter at home, she’ll be almost five when she starts school. I’m not sure what colour shirt that makes her.
We’re trying to decide how to shorten Evangeline. No one wants ‘Angel’, I like Eva or something completely off the wall, like ‘Line’.
A girl! Congratulations!
I know, right? My sperm are AWESOME!
The fact that you are already thinking of these things tells me you will handle them like a champ when the time comes. CONGRATS!!
Hi Hella… thanks. Some other things I’m thinking about include never letting her own a camera phone, or a cell phone period, absolutely no pajama or yoga pants in public, and no books with “Twilight” in the title… even non-vampire ones, just in case.
Just like with your little guy, you will go to the park, play with the yellow ball, and enjoy mind-numbing childrens programming on tv. Beyond that, who knows what she will like, or be like? Tea parties? Princess dresses? Hunting for worms in the rain? Climbing trees? Putting dead toads into plastic baggies and hiding them around the house? (That’s a story for another day). Who can know? It is a lot of fun to find out what personality came installed! You are a loving parent with a lot of really amazing things to teach her and it will be awesome.
CONGRATS!! I’m the opposite of you.. I have a daughter, and the thought of having a boy terrifies me. Now my daughter is 4 and she is 4 and is getting into princess stuff.. NOW I’m scared, cuz I’m a tomboy and don’t to the princess thing..
so I feel ya.
You will do GREAT!!!
Well that answers my question.
CONGRATULATIONS!!! Yes girls are sugar and spice and everything nice. And they also become raging balls of hormones in their teen years. You don’t just have one one little dick getting them in trouble like with boys, instead you have to worry about hundreds. There’s arts and crafts and fairy stories for most girls, but for some like my Jess who are scrapping Tom boys, there is also running, horse play and making a mess in the muck. Jess was the youngest child in her kindergarten class, made the cut off that year by one day, so she was three when she started. Hasn’t seemed to have bothered her much though. We’ll see when puberty hits. Regardless of what kind of girl, (girlie or not) Evangeline turns out to be, she will be your beautiful little angel and you will love and protect her the best you can. That’s all any of us can do. Save the worrying for later and just enjoy.
When I was a kid, my favourite toys were stuffed animals, Meccano and Lego, my rocking horse (which my grandfather had carved out of wood for my dad, while fighting the Russians out in the front lines). I hated dolls (still do, the fake hair freaks me out), refused to wear a dress, and the nr 1 item on my wishlist for Christmases and birthdays year after year was “A remote controlled car” (which I never got, probably because it was too far out from the gender stereotype*). I devoured all the books in my older brother’s book shelf, like ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’, and later Stephen King’s ‘Salems Lot’ (which is about vampires, but not the pretty kind), and the one I loved the most was ‘Expedition Kon-Tiki’. Outdoors I liked biking, playing with boats in the pond, building tree houses, and running in the woods pretending to be an explorer…
You have no idea what your girl is going to be like, so don’t worry about it just yet. And no matter who she will turn out to be, you can handle it. Because all she really needs from you is that you make damn well sure she knows, with absolute certainty, that she matters, and that she is loved, and that she is absolutely most definitely always always good enough the way she is.
In the meanwhile, you can practice braiding hair on your girlfriend. It’s really not that hard. I learned to french braid mine just the other year (at the age of 35), because I suddenly felt the need for it (these days I also sometimes wear a dress).
And one more thing. Congratulations G, to you and your family!
I suggest you call her Evan.
Best wishes from above the 60th.
*When the Candidate for Position of Husband (a mechanical engineer) heard this story, he vowed that one day I will most definitely get a remote controlled car for Christmas. So things are looking up.
I have two girls and they totally rock. I agree with what Stella wrote above that if you are thinking about these things now then you will be absolutely fine. It’s all about caring, listening and loving, which you are obviously excellent at already.
Big congrats. Don’t worry now. Cross those bridges when you come to them.
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