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The Fallout

2011 June 19
by MushBrain

Upon receiving the news that our littlest munchkin is a boy, Elliott and I had the same reaction:

Ultrasound Technician: Looks like you have a baby boy in there!

Elliott/Me: Really? Wow – a boy!!


Elliott/Me: Oh my God. We’re going to have to tell Lilly.

Lilly has had her heart set on a baby sister since the day we told her “Mommy has a baby in her belly.” Her certainty about this matter was intriguing. Turns out she’s not clairvoyant, which is just as well because the kids on that show Paranormal Children really freak me out.

I suppose she just assumed, “I’m a girl. My mommy had me. My mommy has baby girls.” Logical enough if you’re two years old. After all, my brother only has boys; my sister only has boys. In Lilly’s world, you either have a boy family or a girl family.

For weeks, Lilly has been talking about how much she is going to love her baby sister and all the fun things she is going to teach her. Her most repeated fantasy is how, when the baby is born, Lilly is going to put her in a dress and teach her how to dance. I’m a pretty open-minded parent, but I knew the dress might become a problem if I brought home a small bundle of testosterone.

So when Elliott and I found out that this was indeed going to be the case, we needed a game plan. We had to break the news to Lilly that she would not have a sister, but simultaneously get her excited for her new baby brother. We decide pretty quickly that the news should be delivered with excitement, not apologies.

It did occur to me to make a video of Lilly’s reaction, but to be entirely honest, I was a little afraid I’d spend the rest of my life hiding that video from our yet-to-be-born son to save his feelings when his sister broke down in tears upon hearing of his existence. Now, I’m just sorry I didn’t capture the moment.

Elliott called Lilly over and she sat on his lap. He explained that we went to the doctor while she was at school and the doctor used a special camera to look at the baby. Lilly looked over at me with a big smile. Elliott continued, “And she saw that . . . you’re going to have a baby brother!”

At this point, Lilly let out the most excited squeal I have ever heard escape her mouth. She glowed and smiled from ear to ear and yelled, “YAY! A BABY BROTHER!” She then jumped down from her daddy’s lap and started running around our kitchen island squealing and chanting, “YAY!” as if she had just won the lottery. I’m not sure if I was tearing up from laughter, happiness, relief or hormones, but it’s getting to me again just retelling this story. I could not have imagined a better response.

It’s been almost two weeks since that day and Lilly has not mentioned having a baby sister since. She does, however, ask at least daily about her baby brother — how big he is, when he’ll come out, what he’ll like to eat, whether he’ll have toes. All the information that a loving big sister would want to know about her baby brother.

Sure, Lilly still insists that the baby’s favorite color is pink just like her. And she assumes that her baby brother will love princesses just as much as she does. And she still plans to teach him to dance  — only occasionally in a dress it seems now. But that’s ok. Who knows? Maybe he will love pink and princesses. Like I said, I’m open-minded.

There are two things I know for certain now though. One is that I have underestimated Lilly’s ability to gracefully adapt to new situations too many times. And two is that this baby boy is already absolutely adored by his big sister.

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The The Fallout by MushBrain, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Terms and conditions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

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