Mommy Chronicles

A funny look at motherhood and the mayhem it causes.

May 22, 2006

An interview with a 5-year-old about gender

I am lucky enough to be a contributor in an incredible anthology for mothers called It's a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters.

My piece, which I read at a bookstore on Friday, is about my reluntance to embrace my inner (and outer) girl. By far, the person who has helped me do that most is Lucy.

As the interview below shows, my 5-year-old has already got it all figured out.

So what do you think about being a girl?
I like it because I have a sister. I like to be a sister.

What do good sisters do?
Play and be generous. Like, we have fun, we say nice words, we do stuff like that. And I sometimes even help my parents.

Do you think boys and girls are equally smart?
Yes, I do.

What would you be like if you were a boy?
Ennhhh. I wouldn’t like being a boy because then we would not have Girl Party.

What’s special about Girl Party?
We get to have fun. We have popcorn. We bake cookies. Ride on Lash (our bouncy horse), and stuff like that.

What would a Boy Party be like?
Well, just sitting around and not doing anything.

So girls do more?
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Do you see any use for boys at all?
Well, I like to chase my daddy around.

What else?
And I like to have fun with them. I like to climb all over them. (Editor's Note: Oh my God, not this. Not this early!)

What’s the biggest difference between boys and girls?
Boys have short hair and they have different voices than girls.

Can boys and girls do anything differently?
Some boys are faster than girls, some girls are faster than boys, and some are just the same.

If you were a boy, what would you be like?
I would have straight curly hair. Like this. (Hides hair in ponytail.) And my name would be Jackson. And I would have blue eyes. And I could sound like this (very nasal).

When you grow up, what are you going to be?
A mommy. Because I want to have children. Because the mommy has the top part of the kids and the dad only has the legs. I want to have like 18 kids. Please, Mom?

We’ll see.

* * *

Andrea J. Buchanan is the editor of It's a Boy and It's a Girl. She also wrote Mother Shock and co-edited the Literary Mama anthology. Be sure to check her out online!

To buy It's a Girl or It's a Boy, follow the links below.

May 04, 2006

Why Babies Do That: Baffling Baby Behavior Explained

This is a big week: Not only did Adam and I celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary on Tuesday, I’m supposed to be getting a new niece today.

I think it says a lot about the relative importance of wedding anniversaries and new babies that Adam and I hung out at home and watched "Veronica Mars" on our anniversary, but we’re planning to be there in full force when baby Charlotte is born. I’ve already chosen her birth slide-show theme song, for crying out loud.

So how do you prepare for a first-time baby? By reading my book of course. But since my sister had already done that, I gave her Why Babies Do That: Baffling Baby Behavior Explained, a handy and adorable book by my friend Jennifer Margulis. (And I’m writing today, because I’m part of her blog book tour. Hello, Jennifer!)

Here is my attempt to pick up where Jennifer left off. She took care of merely baffling; I'll focus on the really, really baffling things babies do.

Q. Why do babies poop just when you’re walking out the door with them?

A. Because it took you an hour to feed them, burp them, wipe their chins and neck folds, dress them in warm clothes, and snap them into the car seat. You’ve gotta get faster! Then, they’ll poop just as you arrive at your destination.

Q. Why do babies start to cry when you’re talking on the phone?

A. Because of that one time you tried to multitask and pick up baby when you were talking on the phone. The phone squirted out from between your ear and shoulder and bonked baby on the head. Now, your child will have phone-o-phobia for the rest of her life. Don’t fret: This will come in handy for you when she’s a teenager.

Q. How can babies sleep through the wailing of a fire engine, but wake up because you accidentally creaked the stairs?

A. Because they have tiny bat ears. Very small sounds fit inside perfectly.

Q. When my baby is sleeping, I find myself gazing down at her face, wondering if this beautiful child can possibly be mine. Is this normal?

As normal as you’ll ever be, from here on out. In a related vein, you don't have long before your kids tell you your singing and dancing suck.

Q. When my baby scrunches up her face and sort of smiles, but sort of looks uncomfortable, is she gassy? Or is it a real smile?

Neither. She’s just looking you thinking, “I can’t believe this is my mother. She has this weird look on her face, sort of like she’s smiling, but also like she’s maybe in pain. I wonder if it’s normal, or if I should be worried she's got gas. Also: Her singing and dancing? They suck."