I’ve never been much of a girly-girl. Even before I had kids and my morning routine was far less chaotic, most days I’d have to push myself to slap on a coat of lipstick and run a comb through my hair before leaving the house. And while I played with dolls and toy jewelry as a kid, the older I got, the less interested I grew in typical (or stereotypical) girly stuff.
When I found out I was having twin girls last year, my first reaction was that of utter panic. Not only was I used to raising a boy, but I felt confident in my ability to deal with and relate to boys. Girls, not so much. In fact, just a week or so before the ultrasound during which I discovered that there were two little ladies hanging out inside me, I’d visited a friend with a daughter my son’s age (2.5 at the time). We commiserated over the obsessions our children had developed in recent months—my son with his trucks and mighty machines, and her daughter with her Disney princesses and ballerinas. Even as we talked, I realized I was grateful to be dealing with bulldozers and big rigs as opposed to ball gowns and tiaras.
Things changed, however, after my girls were born, and over the past four months, my inner girliness has been surfacing slowly but surely. Case in point: Some days I’ll put my girls in ridiculously frilly dresses just for the heck of it. And whereas dressing my son in the morning is a matter of grabbing the first clean t-shirt I can find, with my girls, I could spend hours (if I had the time) dressing them up just for the sake of a cute picture. I even went so far as to try putting them in headbands (waste of time and money, but lesson learned).
But it’s more than just lacy clothing and dress-up. Ever since having girls, I’ve become much more of a softie. It’s not like I think girls are automatically weak and boys are strong, or that girls need more nurturing. But when my girls cry, whether individually or simultaneously, it’s different from when my son used to cry as a baby. I can’t really put my finger on how it’s different, or why it’s different, but it’s different. When my son would cry, I’d want to make him feel better. Simple. When my daughters cry, I want to protect them. Again, I’m not saying that girls need extra protection…but I guess I am saying that in my mind, maybe my baby girls do.
I have no idea why I feel this way, but what I do know is this: My daughters have brought out more than just my girly side; they’ve also brought out my sensitive side. It’s the side of me that’s now inclined to cry at sad commercials—and I’m not just talking Sarah McLachlan-ASPCA-smack-you-in-the-face tearjerker ads; I’m talking sweet little ads for Huggies and the like. It’s the side of me that’s now more likely to ooh and aah over a stranger’s baby pictures and actually mean it. It’s a side of me I’m surprised to be talking about, and for all I know, a temporary one at that. After all, I can’t discredit the possibility of post-pregnancy hormones playing tricks on me.
Plus, as much as I’m embracing the girly stuff now, the idea of having to navigate makeup and periods and dating woes is enough to make my head spin. Letting my babies wear bows and headbands is one thing; dealing with full-fledged girl obsessions is another. And while I used to think I wouldn’t have to worry about this stuff until the teenage years, my toddler’s little girl friends have very much taught me otherwise.
Thankfully, I’m choosing not to freak out over any of that just yet. For now, I’m having fun dressing my girls up in pretty skirts and bows, and I’m OK with the fact that my house is presently littered with all things pink. Besides, my newfound girly behavior only works to a point—these days, you still won’t catch me wearing makeup unless I absolutely have to. And I’m OK with that, too.