Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ten Fingers, Ten Toes, and a Gun

Let me be clear from the start: when we went for our ultrasound, the biggest concern that Mama and I had was about 3B's health. We didn't feel that we had anything specific to worry about, other than, you know, a heart arrythmia. But, seriously, we believed the midwife when she told us that it was almost certainly hiccups, which it must have been since the ultrasound of 3B's heart was normal and we haven't heard that backbeat again.

We just wanted to know that things were going well for 3B, sort of like peering into the nursery while he's sleeping, just to make sure. . .

Along with finding out about his ten fingers, ten toes, one healthy liver, a beating heart, two eyes, two ears, a nose, a brain, and all those other things they check for, it was fun to find out that 3B is a he. Not that we had a preference, and we would have been just as happy with a she.

But, he is a he, so we've been trying to figure out what, if anything that means. This is when Mama's master's in women's studies comes in handy--what are the differences, and are they biological? social? genetic? learned? reflex? habit?

And, at a certain point, does it matter?

I told Mama before we knew that if 3B turned out to be a girl, I hoped for one just like her, because I can't imagine a better woman to add to our house and raise. Once we found out that 3B is a boy, Mama kept saying that she hopes he's just like me. Oh no, I reply. I hope that we don't go to the emergency room that often. Just ask sister #2 about the time I fell out of the tree, nearly bit my tongue off, and couldn't remember. . .well. . .anything for awhile. Or, ask her about the time I sliced my knee open to the bone on the beach. You get the point.

Then there's the whole gun thing. My Dad didn't like them, didn't want us to have gun toys, and so we didn't, other than an odd cap pistol here or there--although we rarely had any caps. Then, I got a bee in my tiny, elementary school bonnet one year about getting one of those "cool" full-sized M16 toys that makes a machine gun sound when you pull the trigger, and he just kept saying "No." He would talk to me about it, about being in the Navy, about knowing what real guns do, and so on; I would talk about, well, mostly how cool it would be--c'mon Dad, we're talking supercool!

He would just calmly, softly repeat what he had just said, explaining why guns aren't cool. Actually, he never said, "No." Not that I recall. He kept explaining his reasons. In spite of that, I ended up getting three M16s for my birthday--good thing for friends, right? Thing is, after about a week or so of all M16s, all the time, I burned out. I couldn't care less where they were, what noise they made, or how cool the other boys thought they were. They bored me.

In hindsight, Dad could have saved a lot of time and breath if he had just given in and bought me half a dozen M16s. It probably would have all been over in a day. On the other hand, I would never have gotten to know why my dad was opposed to guns, which means that I wouldn't have known Dad as well as I did, which would have been a shame. And I think that may have been the method in his madness, since I'm sure he knew that if I didn't get the gun, I would just make one out of the nearest finger, pencil, ruler, stick, etc.

That's just how little boys roll--no matter whether it's genetic or learned, it's what we do. As Mama and I consider all of the things that 3B, as a boy, will do, we first wonder if he really will do all of those things. As we read around, there are some pretty funny tales about the differences, whatever the causes, between boys and girls.

Who knows, though? That gun trip was probably the last normal boy thing that I did. We'll just have to see who 3B turns out to be. As we do, I'll try to remember what my parents taught me--it's all about right and wrong, no matter if you're a boy or girl.


  1. Anonymous8:04 PM

    Ahhh give tha boy a .38 snubnose and a couple of TVs to shoot at.It worked for the King baby.

    Oh and your falls continued into adulthood, need we call Kevin Swank??

  2. That wasn't a fall. That was a pole vault from the third electric into a concrete pit of stairs with steel rails, hoping that a fishing net woven from dental floss would keep me from hitting the deck.

    Did I mention that the net was installed by the clown who was fired by the circus when he got too big to fit into the firetruck? Yeah, that might have had something to do with the critical failure of the net.

    Ever muse on how long it took us to cover that tiny hole in the apron, then consider that we decided in about 30 seconds to run the whole second act with a 10' x 10' hole in the middle of the stage when Grandma Santa jammed the lift?

    Amazing that Strange Universe featured our theatre.

  3. Anonymous2:15 PM

    great post....all young boys want guns....just the way it is!

    - Jon
    - Daddy Detective