While sending a High-5 to Tim on twitter today (he defended his dissertation, so I guess I should have tweeted “sending a High-5 to Dr. Baird”) I came across this story reported on in The Atlantic and published in full here.
Researchers at Queen’s University interviewed 2300 faculty, students, staff, and alumni asking “if they had any preference about the gender of their firstborn child, the gender ratio of their offspring, or the gender of an only child.” The results were, in my opinion, quite interesting: there was a significant gender preference in all cases, with the direction of the bias dependent on the respondent’s gender. Women preferred girls, men preferred boys. The researcher’s hypothesize that this is because “people may have an intrinsic desire to leave something of themselves behind for the future and that men today envision this through sons while women visualize it through daughters.”
I like to think that I didn’t have a preference with our children, but that’s not entirely honest. When we learned that Eleanor was a girl I was a little relived; I wasn’t sure I knew how to raise a boy. (That relief quickly disappeared, however, when Tim turned to me and said “You know she’s going to look to you to what it means to be a woman.” Geeze, no pressure there!) When we went in for our second ultra sound, and learned that we were having a boy the second time around, a little part of me (although I didn’t want to admit it at the time) was sad – afraid even. I thought I had this “parenting a girl” thing down (the thought that you ever really “have parenting down” – let alone parenting of any given gender – is hillarious to me now but I was pregnant, so cut me some slack) and I, again, didn’t think I had what it took to raise a boy. Tim’s reaction, on the other hand, was quite different: “I hope he likes cereal,” he said. “I have a lot to teach him.”