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Family Matters

10 Truths About Having a Girl

She may be a princess, there will be drama, and more things about girls you don't always see coming

When the doctor handed me my baby and said, "You have a girl!" I was both elated and afraid. My brain instantly swirled with images of tutus and fairy princesses—and then with eye-rolling and outfit tantrums. While every girl is different, here’s what I’ve learned about having a daughter.

1. She may be a princess.  When I had my daughter, I vowed I would not dress her in pink. We did not have a single-themed princess book, movie, or toy and yet, at two, she marched down the stairs declaring herself a princess . Sometimes it’s just hard-wired.

2. There can be drama. Every night before she falls asleep, my daughter launches into a monologue about her brother pushing her, friends refusing to play the games she wanted, or her dad forgetting to buy the toothpaste she likes. The silver lining is, of course, that there’s pretty much no guesswork involved in knowing what she’s thinking.

3. And perfectionism...   My daughter can be anxious. She’s often afraid of getting things wrong and not following all the rules, especially at preschool. One day, after she got in trouble during cleanup time, she came home in tears convinced she'd never get "anyfing right." It made me remember my own school fears—the constant working and striving.  

4. But there will be lady dates. I love spending time with my son, but he'd rather be in the sandbox or playing video games or just running at top speed somewhere. Getting pedicures or dissecting the goings-on of preschool with my little girl is a different kind of fun altogether. And while my daughter may not always be a girly girl, it reminds me that beyond the everyday mess and hustle of our lives, we have a lifetime of lovely, chatty coffees ahead of us.

5. She will have opinions. Since she could speak, my daughter has judged everything I wear. “You’re wearing sweatpants again?” She likes to lay out clothes on the bed for me—a cocktail dress for a picnic in the park, for example. She also has opinions on what should go on the walls, how I should cut my hair, the new throw pillows on the couch, and the flowers we plant outside.  

6. She may be light years ahead of the boys. After her first day of her preschool, my daughter came home in a rage. "No one at school will talk to me!" I laughed. Most of her classmates were boys and were still speaking cobbled-together toddler speak; they couldn't talk to her. Now in kindergarten, she’s frequently frustrated when the boys don't raise their hands or don't put the toys away where they’re supposed to go. Gender differences are real.

7. And sometimes light years ahead of herself. It will happen out of the blue: Suddenly, she’s in her bikini wearing your heels and swaying her hips as she struts. And you will completely panic because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it and it’s wildly inappropriate—all at the same time.

8. You’ll get to reread your favorite childhood books. My daughter and I read together from a chapter book almost every night and are working our way through the Little House series now. Hearing her take on prairie life and watching her become mesmerized by the story already feels like it will be etched on my brain forever.

9. Music becomes complicated. My daughter and I love having sing-a-longs to our favorite pop songs. But I find myself changing the song when lyrics about being sexy or shaking your booty come on. It’s suddenly all so complicated.

10. It's like looking in a mirror. My daughter is blonde like her father and laughs like her uncle. And she has her own special way of walking through the world, but every so often, she will imitate me and she will nail it. Once she typed furiously on a computer she made of paper and yelled, "I will write angry articles about you!" Another time, when I was pregnant, she followed me up and down the stairs parroting my every huff and wince and hobble. It may not always be flattering, but I know she sees me—and I’m glad.