We told our 3-year-old Betsy she’ll soon have another little sister. This was her reaction:
|I’m not great at reading human emotions, but I don’t think those are tears of joy.|
I don’t know what terrible thing I did to be punished with three girls. It’s not that I’ve lived a good life; it’s just that I’ve done so much wrong it’s hard to single out the one transgression that pushed karma over the edge. Maybe it was the time I lost our house in a high-stakes game of Pokémon cards. My wife Lola got it back, but only after she made that kindergartner cry. Or perhaps it was the time I publicly defamed an entire gender for half of a newspaper page simply because I needed to fill blank space. Honestly, my libel was too brief. It would take a 12-volume encyclopedia just to cover what women really mean when they say, “I’m fine.” I knew there’d be consequences when I wrote that article, but I didn’t expect them to be quite so literal and uncreative. Apparently the master of the universe also writes scripts for the Lifetime Movie Network.
Cosmic justice aside, I have only myself to blame for this predicament. The genetic material I contributed determined the baby’s gender. I always sabotage my own life, but I didn’t realize my self-loathing extended down to the cellular level. Then again, perhaps my sperm betrayed me out of selflessness, not spite. Everyone I know who is old enough to breed is having a boy. They’ll float through lives filled with video games and sports while I slowly drown in a sea of estrogen. But to avoid the extinction of the human race, someone had to have girls. Someday, there will be statues built in my honor. After the ultrasound where we found out we’re having yet another female, I told Lola we have to keep trying until we have at least one boy. That means we’ll have 45 or 50 daughters before my wife’s pelvis finally explodes in a process I’m sure is exactly as loud and messy as I imagine. While I’ll never have a male heir, the grandchildren generated by my countless female offspring will repopulate the earth. Thanks to me, our species will live on. You’re welcome.
|Every statue will show me slapping my forehead with the inscription, “Seriously, ANOTHER girl?”|
We already have two daughters. By this point, we’ve used every female name we find even remotely acceptable. Congratulations, kid: we’re going to call you whatever is left over. When we asked Betsy what we should name the baby, she said, “Nothing.” I’m not sure if that’s a formal title or a lack of one. “Nothing Breakwell” does has a nice ring to it, but so does “Child Without a Name.” The anonymity of the latter would give the baby a huge head start if she pursues a life of crime. I might never have a son, but I could still be the proud father of a female supervillain.
Betsy has already done the whole little sister thing and evidently wasn’t impressed. She gets along well enough with our 1-year-old Mae, at least in bursts. They play and fight with equal intensity as their moods shift by the second. A younger brother wouldn’t have brought harmony to our brood, but at least it would’ve been a new type of inconvenience. While our kids will know soon enough that happiness is an unrealistic goal, it’s still OK to break up the monotony with a variety of different disappointments. Besides, I’m not sure that Betsy’s reaction would’ve been any different if Lola and I were having a boy. When I told Betsy months ago we had another baby on the way, she asked if that meant we would give away Mae. Clearly she doesn’t appreciate competition.
Despite the condolences I’ve received from my friends, family members, and wife, I’m fine with the latest news. And that’s a real “fine,” not the confusing female version I’ll describe someday in that gender encyclopedia. Having another girl greatly simplifies my life since we already have the infrastructure in place for her. I just need to turn on a Disney princess movie and wait for my kids to move out when they turn 18. I might have overlooked a few steps in there, but I’m sure Lola has those covered. That’s why we make such a good team: I pick out the DVDs, and she handles the the other 10,000 parental duties. She’s lucky to have me.
By having another girl, we don’t have to buy any new clothes or toys. That’s great news for me since spending money burns me like fire. That’s not a metaphor, either. My wild screams of pain are the main reason Lola doesn’t make me go to the store anymore. The long-term savings from having a daughter instead of a son should be incredible as long as I don’t cancel them out on the back end with wedding costs. I’ll pay for everything if all of my girls agree to be married in a joint ceremony followed by a tailgate party instead of a reception. I’ve already put down the deposit for the kegs. Of course, the biggest money-saver would’ve been to not reproduce at all. I only overshot that one by about three kids.
|I wanted my own wedding to be a tailgate party, but that idea didn’t go over well with Lola. My first mistake was thinking it was OK for me to have an opinion.|
Perhaps it’s for the best I only have daughters. My calm, apathetic leadership may be just what this family needs to survive the hurricane of hormones we’ll someday endure. It’s amazing how much drama can be defused with an shrug and a 1,000-yard stare that clearly shows I’m dead inside. The crises of fashion, relationships, and emotions that unfold in the coming years will be entirely incomprehensible to me. But as this family gets sucked into a vortex of effeminate angst, at least I’ll be here to be the responsible one and keep light bill paid. I’m sure catfights are even worse in the dark.
When people ask if I’m all right with having another girl, they’re not concerned about me. They’re simply worried I’ll run away and then society will be forced to raise my kids for me. I promise I’m not going anywhere. I built this prison, and I couldn’t get out if I wanted to. I’m afraid to even touch the walls. They’re pink and covered with glitter.