Mrs L. and I are tremendously privileged, being parents to children of both genders. We decided very early in Mrs L.’s first pregnancy that we didn’t want to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl, however, we were both convinced that our first child would be a girl.
Again, prior to Boy-Boy’s birth we had elected not to find out whether we would be having a boy or a girl, and when people asked us what we would prefer, I would diplomatically say something along the lines of “Oh, I don’t mind, as long as their healthy.” But in my heart of hearts, I wanted a son. It’s not that I needed to have an heir, and to make sure that the family name would survive another generation, more that I could have an ally. Someone who understands what it’s like to make sure that the toilet seat has to be down once we’ve finished. Or a kindred spirit who thinks that breaking wind is, without question, the most hilarious thing anyone can do. I hadn’t dared to hope that I might be blessed with a son, but when I saw Boy-Boy for the first time, I was completely overwhelmed. It was probably then that I realised how important it was to me.
As time has gone by, we have been able to watch their personalities develop. Fraboo is a real extrovert, happiest when she is with others, although she likes to be not quite the centre of attention. She is the instigator of many of the games that she and Boy-Boy play, and can at times be unsettlingly confrontational. In looks she (fortunately) favours her mother, whereas her personality is almost a carbon copy of mine. I see troubling times ahead, when she enters her teenage years. Already though, we are trying to encourage her to talk to us whenever she is facing difficult issues, and hopefully this will be a habit which will follow her as she matures into a young woman.
Boy-Boy’s personality is a stark contrast. He is contemplative, and much more contained. He doesn’t need others to play with, and will happily “read” to himself for much longer than I would have thought possible for a child of his age. He plainly has a desire to learn too. He has, with the help of youtube, taught himself the alphabet forward and backwards, how to count to 100, again forwards and backwards, and a variety of shapes and colours (he recently told me off for not correctly identifying a diamond shape as a rhombus!)
When it comes to play, we have tried really hard not to push them in any particular direction, but they have both lived up to the stereotypes society has given them. Fraboo, loves to dress up as a Princess or a fairy, and had a favourite doll. Boy-Boy, for his part, is happiest when he is pushing a little car around, or play fighting with Daddy. He is a far more physical child than his sister ever was, and if he has some sort of mishap, he will stand up, brush himself down, and say “Oh dear”, and that is the end of it.
For Fraboo the slightest bump or graze would necessitate at least an overnight stay in a local multiple injuries unit, if her reaction is anything to go by. To be fair though, her adverse reaction to injury may stem from seeing her father with one of his fingers in two distinct parts, and bleeding profusely after a bizarre gardening accident. Fortunately my finger has made an almost complete recovery.
Jojo is different again. True, he is too young to know exactly what his personality is likely to become, he is certainly one of the happiest children I have ever had the privilege to meet. He is almost always smiling and is always so pleased to see me when I get home from work. It is like having another dog in the house, but one who regularly wakes up at inconvenient times and demands to be fed or played with.
He certainly seems to be more driven than his elder siblings, or perhaps he is driven by his siblings. You see, he sees his brother and sister scampering about having a fine old time, and understandably, wants to be a part of the action. He began crawling months before the other two and it would seem as though he will be walking before them too.
There is one thing that our kids do all have in common though, and that is that so far (I don’t want to sound complacent), they all really love each other and get on really well. Fraboo is such a fantastic big sister and adores both of her brothers, and for their part, they both look at her (and each other) with such adoration in their eyes.
I’m sure that most parent’s have those moments (usually when the kids are playing up) when they look to the heavens and wonder why they had them, I know I certainly do. But when I see my three playing together, or am a part of the fun myself, these are some of the times when I am so grateful to be a parent to those three children.