Life Lesson #801: Think Twice Before Assuming You Know an Infant’s Gender

The other day as little W and I were walking into our local grocery store, we were stopped by an elderly gentleman who reached out to my son with a very warm greeting of “Hey, pretty girl!”

There was a brief, but awkward silence.

“Boy”, the man’s wife scolded, “It’s a boy.”

The man shook his head, looked at me, and with a knowing nod said “Girl, right?”. 

“Um, he’s a boy.”

More awkwardness.

“Well, God bless you!”, said the man.

“Thank you!”, and we moved along…shaken, but not altogether dismayed.

All was forgotten until we got to the check-out line. Little W was flashing his sweet little smile at the woman in line in front of us, who laughingly asked me “How old is she?”

“Um, he’s a boy, and he’s 11 months old” was my immediate reply.

For some reason I felt a strong need to clarify his gender before answering her question…as though it was my role to defend his manliness, even at this young age.

Of course, being asked twice in a matter of 40 minutes if your boy is a girl is enough to ruffle a mother’s feathers and cause her to wonder what she’d done wrong with his attire or grooming to cause such confusion. I immediately came home and asked my husband if I was dressing our son like a girl, and he calmly reassured me that I had done nothing of the sort.

Now it’s your turn: reassure me. 

Here is what Little W was wearing at said outing. Tell me, tell me true (or not, if it would make me feel better…you know what answer I want to hear): does he look like a girl to you?! 



5 responses to “Life Lesson #801: Think Twice Before Assuming You Know an Infant’s Gender

  1. Samantha Arends

    1) NO! he does not look like girl, perfectly manly 🙂

    2) i laughed, HARD, at this. As i do many of your posts.

    3) Get used to it cause until he is about 2 it’ll happen. I had Logan dressed in all blue, with a blue blanket, in a very non-neutral gender carseat…and i kid you not, someone asked me if my little girl needed a kids menu (yes they were talking about a 2 month old also!!!). I don’t understand it, and i don’t want to. i just can’t wait until they have children and i can get them back 🙂

  2. 100% boy.

    People are WEIRD. A couple french fries short of a Happy Meal.

    And, actually, more appropriately, Will’s 110% boy! 🙂

  3. Boy, boy, boy. Definitely boy.

    I thought the gender thing was frustrating when Ava was young–when people would mistake her for a boy even if she was wearing a pink dress and had ribbons in her hair. But I was wrong. It’s much worse when your child is three and asks strangers, “are you a boy or a girl?”

  4. duganfourbrasil

    ALL BOY…. people are crazy.. you got a very stylin little man.

  5. Definitely boy. His hair looks boyish, for one thing. But my gender-guessing usually boils down to what the child is wearing — and in this case, Will is wearing brown… not a real girlish color, ya know? So I think those people were just being un-observant. 🙂

    Ryan (my 10-month-old) has been mistaken for a girl a few times too. A middle-aged female clerk at the optical store felt he had such “pretty eyes” — and then she proceeded to exhort me, “You need to have a girl!” Ay-yay-yay… 🙂

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