In 2010, the Wallies and I were in the room with the ultrasound technician. She was chatty, strange, and coveted by every pregnant woman in the region for her gender-proclaiming accuracy. I didn’t need her super-power skill, though. I knew.

My pregnancies were totally opposite. With WallyV I was so nauseous I hated life. I love food. I think of food constantly. And nothing proved this more than when Wally was growing his funny little brain and extremities, giving every food thought (which happens at 15 minute intervals for me, apparently) the power to stir up my insides into a dizzying frenzy. I could smell everything, and it all smelled bad. I could smell my own spit. I still can’t eat cantaloup, the first food I smelled with my super-nostrils. I closed my eyes and waited for the second trimester. With Vivvi, I fell asleep at 8 one night, so I decide to take a test—pregnant. And not just pregnant—10 weeks pregnant (1/4 of the way through!) by the time I visited the doctor. She was easy, even as a little kumquat.

Everything was so opposite, I knew she was a girl. Even so, when the ultrasound technician made the announcement, “It’s a girl!”, my heart sank.

I wanted a boy. I wanted to be the mom of boys. Wally V had taken forever to figure out, but I had it. I could do it. I could be a mom of a boy.

And the main reason I didn’t want a girl—I didn’t want a teenage girl. I was a teenage girl, and I remembered it vividly. I didn’t want to put another human through that awfulness. Teenage girls get the worst of being teens—the zits, the uncertainties, the gangliness. They are all ugly, while their bodies disproportionately stretch into their final places. Their noses are too big while they wait for their faces to catch up. Their arms hang to their knees. And oh, the zits, the zits, the zits zits zits zits!(Except that one damn cute girl in middle school who remained eternally cute. I still hate that girl.) Boys get this horribleness also, but girls have it worse—their ugly noses, their long arms, their zits—it all drips with emotion. It soaks in a huge vat of it, and then they get to wear it. Emotion gives me the heebie jeebies.

After that disappointing ultrasound visit, I decided to get over it. Vivvi came along easy—with 2 pushes. And she mostly has remained easy (except for the dark times of her four-month sleep regression, when she was awake every hour for a month and a half–but we shall call those times the times that-shall-not-be-named).


And I have surprised myself at how much I love what’s girlie about her—her love of piggy pink, her princess dresses, her stuffed animal snuggles. I love the things you can’t help but love—her baby curls and hair that strangers comment they’d pay to have, her high, bubbly munchkin voice.

I can’t get over how often she has brought me back to what it felt like to be small. I’m overwhelmed by recognition when she drapes herself anywhere—the couch, any space available on your lap, the hard kitchen floor, on my coat in the corner of the gym—and somehow she looks like she is on her own cloud. I must have had this ability to find comfort before my hips got in the way—I can feel the ghost of my childhood in her sprawls. There is something so girlie about this gift of fitting everywhere. (Also, this is in stark contrast to my son, who some how can make his most-comfortable-bed-ever-to-exist look like a plank when he puts his pillow vertically against the wall, and his head is perpendicular to his body, and he insists that this is how he wants to sleep.)


I am also, unfortunately, overwhelmed with recognition when she melts down. She has waited too long for her drink (about 3 seconds), or she wants to play with Wa-we, or she wants to wear her “beautiful shirt” (a ratty white Nike shirt that says “Love to Win” in sparkly letters and has “her V” in the word “love”) but it’s in the wash. And she goes from happy to tears in 3.5, and her fit is dripping with emotion. She even does this crazy thing—if she has lost something, and she is getting concerned it’s gone forever, and I find it, she bursts into a maniacal laugh at the same time that tears well up and spill from her eyes. Every time she does it, she looks like a totally adorable, tiny, certifiably crazy person.

Wally, as a spirited child, had his fair share of big, dramatic tantrums. But they were all drama. Vivvi’s are both drama and sopping, sopping wet with feelings. Forget fearing the far away teens. She is a 2 year old teenager. She even has toddler acne (which really shows when the waterworks get going).

I see her feel these things, and I feel it too because I’ve been there, and it’s my undoing. Maybe that’s why I didn’t want a girl. I have been there. I know what it’s like to have my insides get all syrupy with sadness. And that’s also why she wins. Just like her beautiful shirt says, she’s got me, and she knows it. She’s got me wrapped around that finger like her little blond curls. She melts, and I melt, and we both become a big sopping mess.

I was talking to a friend last week, and she said, “Sometimes we can be wrong. Hope for what you want, and pray God does what’s best.” He certainly did that here. I was wrong about girls. I love to be made into a sopping mess again. I love to be reminded how to really feel things. I love melting. Like Olaf says, some things are worth melting for.
Sleeping Viv


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