tulle skirts and painted toenails

Jeff and I decided with both Ian and Elena that we did not want to find out their sex before they were born. While there were different reasons we chose this path for ourselves, one of my personal reasons was that I didn’t care to have all the questions, comments and stereotypes that would come along with it:

Oh, you’re having a girl! How exciting…you’ll have one of each! And now you get to buy all those cute clothes! (or insert female stereotype of your choice here) 

or, conversely

Oh, a boy! How exciting…boys have so much energy! (or insert male stereotype of your choice here)

That said, I admit that before Ian was born – I wondered sometimes that if it was a boy (which I highly suspected from the beginning, by the way), would I relate to him as well as I would a girl given that, well, I am indeed a “girl” myself? But this was also part of the reason why I didn’t want to know. Because I didn’t need that extra time to second guess how I’d be as the mother of a boy. And sure enough, when Ian was born at Virginia Hospital Center the afternoon of January 10, 2006, he wasn’t a boy. He wasn’t a girl. He was my firstborn child and he was the most wonderful thing I had ever seen.

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space ranger in training

It all started innocently enough. I was on tap to take both Elena and Ian to daycare/school this morning. Jeff was home, so he helped load us all in the car and off we went. I had the radio tuned to NPR, which perhaps was my first mistake because there was a story on about the last flight of the space shuttle.

I recall that we were about halfway into the 10 minute drive to St. Andrews when the first question came from the back seat. Mommy? Yes. Why don’t they wear helmets in space? Well, because I guess they don’t need them. (Brilliant answer, I know.) Oh. Then, silence, except for Elena’s usual vocal inflections and exclamations of wonder at some unknown object she’s passionately pointing at out the window. Suddenly: Mommy? Yes. Does the space shuttle have a name? Yes. What is its name? Well, I believe there are two space shuttles and they both have different names: one is Atlantis, which is the one that is about to come home for the final time, and the other was Endeavour. Oh. And from Elena: Oooohhhhh….ha! So they only have two space shuttles? Why? Yes, I’m pretty sure there are only two space shuttles right now and that’s probably because they are very expensive to build and take care of, so they can’t afford to have too many of them at once.

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