For a few months in 2009-10, for no reason other than that I have a strong personality, we thought we were having a girl. It was a sort of automatic thought, and it wasn't just us; when I told the executive editor that I was pregnant, he smiled wide and exclaimed, "A little Judy Le running around!" But then we found out we were having a boy, and then Abbott came out and it all seemed pretty perfect. And in some ways, what the editor said is still right.
But during that time, and even before I was pregnant, there were two things I was very excited to share with any potential daughter. And even though that never happened for me, I'm really glad these things are out there: 1. Wear Clean Draws, The Coup
If you haven't listened to this song, you should. It is an infectious and beautiful love song from a father to his daughter that combines classic childhood lessons with real, adult advice, all in the context of kicking ass. I love the whole song, but I especially love the last verse:
The star is the future that we gon' create
Where nobody steal money from the things we make
The revolution take time and space
But you as a woman gotta know yo place
That's in the front, baby
I'm bein' blunt, baby
If they get mad say it's they time of the month, baby
Your face is just like the sun when it raises
Thank you for adding beauty to my phrases
Pretty much I think it's perfect, the best little-girl song ever, and the only known antidote to that atrociously creepy and vomitous Butterfly Kisses song. Oh my gods, it is so horrible, that song. I wish that I could find a genie who could grant me three wishes so that I could wish for better writing ability so I could properly convey how terrible that song is. 2. The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, George Saunders This is a children's book, also steeped in girlish kick-assedness. The main character, Capable (Capable!), solves an age-old problem for her village, through hard work, common sense and ingenuity. I've sent this to countless nieces, and I'll definitely read it to Abbott (all kids benefit from kick-ass characters), but I always looked forward to sharing it with a daughter.