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15 October 2008 @ 07:07 pm
My Two Daughters  
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Halfshell, have you gone totally senile? Because I happen to know that you have one daughter and one son."

And you'd be right. For years, though, the rest of the world disagreed…


In the beginning, there was Lauren. She is our actual daughter. The picture below is one of my favorite baby pictures—it makes me feel peaceful inside just looking at it.




Christopher was also a beautiful baby, and really—babies don't look especially male or female to me. They look like babies. Here he is at about 3 weeks:



And 4 ½ months:




Now, neither of us actually ever minded that people thought Christopher was a girl. It was just more amusing than anything—because they were rock solid on the idea, rather than being in the "maybe" category.

In particular, little kids and old people were convinced that he was a girl. Nothing you could say seemed to make a dent in that impression.

The staff at our neighborhood Safeway store still asks about our two daughters. They wonder why they don't see the younger one anymore. :0

Outside the grocery store, when Christopher was 4 months old:
Old lady: What a beautify baby! What's her name?
HalfshellHusband: Christopher.
Old lady: Oh, and how old is she?



It's funny, because Lauren was such a pretty little girl I never really thought of Christopher as being especially pretty in a way that could be mistaken for a girl. This is a generic fluffy-haired baby photo, when he was about 7 months and Lauren was 2 ½.





This picture is Lauren at 3 and Christopher at 1. I admit, I always dressed both of them in cute clothes—you might as well enjoy them while they're babies! They'll never let you dress them cute when they get older… Christopher had a lot of pastel-colored things (when I could find them) and some red (great color for him). I never dressed him in gray (ugh) or in "little man" clothes. He's got his whole life to wear polo shirts and jeans—why start early?

When Christopher was one, we were waiting in the Kaiser Injection Waiting Room for his 1-year shots.
Little girl (speaking to Lauren): Do you want to play?
Lauren: *deer in headlights look because a stranger spoke to her*
Me: Oh, that's very nice of you, but we're waiting for her baby brother to get his shots. It's almost our turn.
Little girl: *looks at Christopher* Baby brother?
Little girl: *looks at me with obvious expression of "Geez, lady, you are so dumb!"*

Some 3-4 months later, he attracted the attention of a brother and sister at a McDonald's playland. They were about 3 and 5.
Kids: Is this your baby? Is it a boy or a girl?
Me: He's a boy.
Kids: And what's her name?




This is one of my favorite pictures of Christopher, from age 20 months. That's a piece of Eucalyptus bark he's got—he would not part with it. :0

You could go either way on the gender from a picture like that, but the clothes are kind of a clue—at least in my book.

At daycare, I over heard this conversation in Lauren's room:
Little girl: Now, is Lauren's baby a boy or a girl? Because I can never remember…
Teacher: A boy.
Little girl: Uh-huh. And how old is she?


For contrast, THIS is my actual daughter at age 2 below:



So while Christopher's hair was kind of fluffy, it never struck me as particularly feminine. I mean, I had a daughter whose hair was long enough for pigtails, and the other child was getting regular haircuts. Why did people think that was?

One day we went to the library. He had a new haircut (pixie-short, as short as it gets) and a seersucker brown-plaid one-piece outfit with dump trucks on it. I hate brown, but it was perfect for the hot weather and again—dump trucks. The kids went bouncing up to the checkout desk, and
Librarian: Hello, girls!




Fluffier hair, at age 2 ¼. I can peg the timing because of the "season" of the clothes and the self-haircut Lauren's sporting, from when she was four (yikes).





These are presents for Christopher's third birthday. He felt he needed some "school equipment" for unknown reasons, and Thomas was the favored choice, of course!



Now, these are not mitigating photos below! Because no-one but us ever sees these, and it's not like he goes out of the house looking like this. At this point (age 9 now), he doesn't remember ever doing any of this:



Age 3-ish on the left. What a get-up: tiara, sparkly gloves, orange plastic seahorse necklace that you can't see here, and Thomas The Tank Engine underwear. Christopher had quite a thing for gloves ('glubs') of all forms starting at about age 2, which lasted a couple of years. ;)

Age 4 1/2 on the right. Lauren did that to his hair. :0





I took this picture when he was 4—one of my favorites. I was sorry when he outgrew all forms of red Oshkosh overalls…




This is Christopher at 5, and you can see the shorter hair (right after the haircut, it starts here, then gets longer over the next month or so). Even in Kindergarten, people who weren't at school with him still often thought he was a girl…




This one's a mid-Kindergarten photo with his paper-bag penguin project. Awesome!

Later that year, he went off to Boy Scout camp with his father and a bunch of other families in the sub-council. They stopped off at a store near the camp entrance and all had popsicles and ice-cream bars on the store porch.

Old Lady passing by: And where are all of you off to?
Random Dad: Boy Scout camp.
Old Lady: *looks at Christopher* Even the girl?

Fortunately, that flew right over his head AND the other kids didn't seem to notice it much either.


I thought we were almost done with this. After he got glasses, he was still cute but looked kind of like a miniature Harry Potter. Last November, he and I had this conversation:

Christopher: Noah thought I was a girl today.
Me: Really?
Christopher: Yeah. She gets confused.
Me: Wait, Noah's a girl?


But that's the last we've heard of it—mostly nothing since age 6. And while he's still very pretty with his glasses off (at bedtime, for instance), for now I think the glasses have cemented his gender:





Can you believe I meant to post all this about a year ago? Finally getting around to it, but better late than never! Hope you enjoyed it. :)


 
 
 
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on October 16th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
and even though she is no longer Orthodox, she was raised that way, and maybe that was why she said it.
Maybe so!

The one friend we knew with the uncut hair had all of that as a special part of his 3rd birthday. The grownup guests were invited to cut parts of his hair off as a 'mikvah,' though I'm not sure why that's a celebratory event. But it's certainly a long-standing one.

The woman next door to our old house had in-home daycare, and one of her daycare babies was black and his hair was getting increasingly bushy. But she said the parents were not going to cut it until his first birthday, and that there was tradition behind it, so it seems Judaism isn't the only community that has notions/tenets around that concept.