31 May 2013, by Evelyn Tan
For the longest time now, in fact since we found out that i was expecting, we’ve been guessing the gender of the child. Kristen, of course wanted a girl so that she could have a little sister finally! Way, the youngest and the alpha-male of the family wanted a boy so that they can ‘play army’ together. And Jairus, our second-born and always ever so sensible and diplomatic, said he’d wished for a girl so that the number of males and females would be balanced. As for me and Darren, a girl would be good but any healthy, EASY-TO-LOOK after baby would be welcomed! (Having 4 kids is daunting; so we really pray that no 4 would be an easy baby — boy or girl!)
So when we went to the doctor again last week for my routine check with 3 kids in tow, the first question Kristen asked the doctor was, “Could you tell us today if the baby is a boy or a girl?” (Actually she asks this every time she comes along for the checkups!) I know she really was hopeful for a girl and in some ways i even feel she was sorry she hadn’t prayed for one when i was expecting Way….
I remember when i was expecting Way in the first trimester , we asked her if she hoped for the baby to be a girl or a boy and after thinking for a moment or so, my little girl then 4 and a half years old replied a most precocious and gracious answer, “Let’s have a boy so that Didi (referring to her younger brother Jairus) can have someone to play with because he has no friends and i have a lot.”
So this time round, I know Kristen really hopes to have a girl come on board our family. When the doctor scanned for visible clues for the answer we’ve all been waiting for, i could almost feel the pressure in the room climb a notch or two higher –the atmosphere was so tense!- and Kristen’s grip on my hand just kept tightening.
“Ah, now baby is in a good position for us to check if he’s a boy or girl. These are the legs of the baby, can u see? And between them …….” but before the doctor could continue, the protruding maleness that greeted us from the screen was unmistakable! It’s a boy, again!
What followed after was first, pure Silence…… Then some sobs and then Kristen just bawled her eyes out and started complaining about how unfair things were, that she never gets what she wants, and how she had really hoped that this was a sister, etc, etc, etc….. And she continued ranting on for the next half an hour, even way after we left the clinic and got onto the car.
It really pained my heart to see her in this state, eyes all red from that sobbing, nose all stuffed and in total disappointment — and a mother’s first reaction is to try to do all that she can to comfort and assure her that everything’s going to be fine. I was even tempted to tell her we would try for another baby later on! I know at least that will give her some assurance that there will still be hope for a girl later on, but i know deep down in my heart it will still not be for us to say if the next baby will be a girl. Furthermore, family and personal circumstances may also not allow us to fulfill the promise later on if i give her my word now………
So all i did was hold her close, hugged her as tightly as i can and told her how special and dear she is; how now she has become that special princess of the family and how blessed she is to have ‘Three Musketeers’ as siblings who will love and protect her always.
After what seemed like an indefinitely long time, she calmed down and regained her composure. Wiping her last tear drops away, she bent down to my tummy and said lovingly to her unborn brother, “Didi, i will still love you ok, even though you are a boy. You must be a good boy and come out quickly and not make mummy uncomfortable again (referring to my morning sickness!). I love u!”
I sighed a HUGE sigh of relief! This would be perhaps be the first major DISAPPOINTMENT Kristen had to deal with in the 8 years of her life. But she has grown up and is able to deal with that disappointment sensibly and been able to overcome it all without anything more than just our patience and reassurances of love!
And it made me realize how true it is —-that in life there will be times when reality will not be what we expect but when we give our love and support, they will find resources within themselves to overcome whatever challenges and difficulties they face! It’s hard as a parent when you have to see them cry but just believe that they can deal with it and sure enough, your children will not disappoint you! I am so thankful for this lesson, even if it has happened so early in Kristen’s life!