On Being Ready

In 2020, when I was pregnant with Leo, I was hard at work on writing a book of essays about confidence. I struggled to believe in myself in many ways, had worked through much of it, and wanted to share what I’d learned. With every word I kept in mind – this is what I’d want my daughter to know.

Of course, I had a little boy.

I was a little afraid then when we saw boy parts on the ultrasound screen. I’m a girl, have been my whole life. I know how girls work. What do I know about boys? I can hardly understand my husband’s boy mind, how am I going to raise one of his kind?

Yet, raising Leo has been the coolest experience of my life. He’s such a boy. Every night at dinner we ask him what he’s grateful for.

“Cars. Lots of cars.”

What do you want for Christmas?

“A skid loader. A big truck. Lots of cars.”

We can get one toy at the store today. What do you want.

He insists on another Hot Wheels car to add to the 50 in his car drawer.

Leo fearlessly jumps off everything while the girls in his gymnastics class hold back. His default modes of transportation are running or jumping. And everything is a race. He is the most boy-ish boy.

And yet, he loves babies, and baby dolls, and stuffed animals. For Christmas he also repeatedly asked for a little stroller to push his baby around in.

His favorite thing in the world is to roughhouse with Dad, but he spends a half-hour every morning cuddling on the couch with me and his Pooh bear.

Leo is a tough boy with a soft heart, and so far I’ve had no problem connecting with him. He is more drawn to his dad than me – who can blame him, Kyle is way more fun – but he also tells Dad that coffee shop dates are his “special Mommy time,” and he can’t come. So we’ve got something going there.

Leo eating a cake pop at Starbucks

When I got pregnant this time, I couldn’t let myself think it was one gender or the other. You truly have no idea until you know, and you have no control over the situation. The first few months were entirely different than my pregnancy with Leo. With him, I knew my body was pregnant days before taking a positive test. This time, however, I was 100% sure we were NOT pregnant and I still remember the shock at seeing that second line appear. Nausea and morning sickness were way more intense with Leo. Most notably of all, I couldn’t stand the taste or smell of coffee for 9 whole months the first time. Now I’m happily enjoying a cup of black coffee every morning. I’m running, doing races, feeling alive. I’ve also had a great deal of acne, which my sister-in-law said is a sign of a baby girl stealing my beauty.

Still, I couldn’t let myself believe all this was due to a different gender growing in there.

On Leo’s birthday, Kyle and I held hands while we watched that screen again for the second and probably last time we’ll experience the exciting gender reveal. We were searching every blob for more boy parts. I had prepared myself more for the boy news, because I didn’t want the first thing I felt to be disappointment. Why would another boy be so bad? Look how awesome Leo is! More of that would be incredible.

Impatiently awaiting our fate

Baby wasn’t making it easy for us to see anything, so when the tech said, “I’m seeing Girl,” I couldn’t believe her.

She showed me the exact parts, and I finally gasped in relief: We’re having a daughter!!!

Girly things!






Future Swiftie!

via Etsy

And of course the more meaningful mother-daughter things, like the Lorelai-Rory closeness on Gilmore Girls. Someone to watch Gilmore Girls with. The closeness I feel with my mom, and the closeness we had with my grandma. Someone to benefit from the lessons in the book I wrote.

The fact that Leo LOVES girls.

I may not have had any clue it was a girl, but Leo has been saying “baby sister” all along. When we told him the news on his birthday, his lackluster response implying “yeah, I already know. Duh, Mom.”

When I wrote those essays, I thought I was meant to have a girl so I could help her learn to believe in herself better than I did. Since then, my confidence crashed as a new parent. This new field of what-the-hell-am-I-doing, questioning my every move, reprimanding myself for doing or saying the wrong thing that led to a meltdown – it has taken my confidence to a new low.

But nothing has built my confidence more than these past 3 years, too.

Last week, my boy-ish boy held the door open for me when we left our coffee date.

“What a gentleman,” said the stranger coming in.

When my food order took longer than his, he waited without my asking until my egg bites came to dive into his cake pop.

What a gentleman, I thought.

He walked through the locker room at swim covering his face as he sneezed.

“What a gentleman,” a dad said.

We must be doing something right.

I’m so proud of this little boy, the sweetheart that he is. I’m proud of the parents Kyle and I have become and the evolving we continue to do.

A year ago, when we started trying for another child, I was not confident in my ability to raise two children. I was going in dark and hoping for the best, aiming to simply survive these next few years. But today, as I feel these soft baby girl kicks in my belly, I fully believe that I’m more than capable. I know we’re going to get our worlds rocked once again, and I know that we’re going to come through these baby/toddler years stronger.

Raising Leo is helping me become the mother this little girl needs me to be.

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