The Daughter Chronicles

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The second-worst question you can ask someone

Okay, the worst is, of course, "Are you pregnant?" Why would anyone ever ask any woman that question? No good can come of it.

The second-worst question you can ask someone is "Is that a boy or a girl?" How rude. At least six people have asked me in the past two months whether Norah is a boy or a girl. She is always wearing pink, or orange, or sea-green, with flowers all over her clothes. Maybe parents dress their sons in that, but it's not really the usual thing, is it? One guy actually said he was color-blind, which I suppose is an excuse, and once Norah was wearing light blue pants and a white onesie with flora on it, so MAYBE you could make the case that it was a "boy" outfit, but not really. Just don't ask, you people!

Listen, people who can't determine the sex of a baby (and yes, I understand that it can be difficult - I'm not saying you shouldn't wonder, just don't ask): parents LOVE talking about their children. If you say something like, "What a cute baby!" most parents will say something like "Yes, SHE is very cute" or "NORAH is such a fun baby." Did you catch the subtle clues to the baby's sex? I understand this doesn't work for kids named Taylor, since sexually neutral names are all the rage, but usually parents will give it away. And then everyone is happy.

This is just a public service announcement. See how I care about you?


  • It also hurts people's feelings. I was asked once and I went home and cried. (Alondra was like 2 months when it happend)

    By Blogger ymelendez, at 3/9/05 5:14 PM  

  • Next time answer with, "Good question... we're just not sure." In case of extremely ignorant people that just do not catch your sarcasm in that answer, prepare stories concerning hermaphrodites, sex-change operations for toddlers, the little known third human sex... anything at all to keep that person standing around and uncomfortable while you unload a completely fictional line of crap on them. Summon some tears if you can. REALLY make them squirm.

    Uncle Monster

    By Blogger john sweet, at 4/9/05 7:04 AM  

  • I agree with Uncle Monster and while I haven't actually suggested that my child is a hermaphrodite, I have lied. Helena spent her whole summer (last summer) with her hair cut off since she hated having it combed and HATED having it washed. Why torture her with hair when she wasn't even two and just because she was a girl! Add to that the fact that she was mostly dressed in her brother's hand-me-downs and she got a lot of, what a lovely little boy comments.

    Who cares? The baby doesn't know and certainly doesn't care what its sexually determinate apparatus consists of. It is more illuminating that the adults of this world somehow NEED the gender handle in order to interact with the baby. And once we do know whether the baby is male or female, we start (subconsciously or consciously) treating it differently, which, to me, is the real shame.

    This summer, Helena has opted to keep her hair long and submit to having it brushed without whining (too much). Her choice.

    By Blogger Stuntmother, at 4/9/05 9:29 AM  

  • Thanks for the tips, I never know how to tell sometimes. And honestly, there really are some babies where you can't tell a difference. Some parents dress their babies in neutral colors, like orange or green. And isn't it worse just to assume that the baby is one or the other and have it be a big screw up? I've had that happen. But then, I'm one of those daft people who isn't around babies very often (even though my cousins feel responsible for repopulating the entire earth).

    Don't get me wrong, I feel the shame when I have to ask, so it's not like I find it entertaining to hurt the parents' feelings by being stupid. Probably if it ever happens to me once I have my own kids, I'll go on a rant about it. "What? What's the matter with you? He's wearing an outfit with TRAINS on it. TRAINS! Girls don't wear train outfits." Or something like that. Let them feel the wrath and then maybe educate them on the kind of clues they can use to deduce the baby's sex on their own. Just as you've done.

    Norah and Mia are extremely cute.

    By Blogger Aries327, at 11/9/05 11:56 AM  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/11/10 7:30 PM  

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