38 years and two months ago (okay and one day) my mother-in-law went to the hospital in labor with Nacho. Obviously way back when she had no idea if Nacho was going to be Nacho or Natalie, but with one daughter already and an extremely similar pregnancy, both she and my father-in-law were convinced another girl was on the way. It was customary back then for a girl’s ears to be pierced at birth, so before saying goodbye to his wife at the door of the delivery room, my father-in-law handed a pair of earrings to the nurse. Not too much later the doctor appeared in the waiting room looking for my father-in-law.
“If you want, you can put these on his balls, but I’m certainly not going to.”
And so, Nacho it was.
Times have changed, but not too much. Although hospitals no longer do ear piercing, neighborhood pharmacies do and many (though not all) new parents choose to have their daughters’ ears pierced as babies. I chose not to do so (I’m pretty sure Nacho would’ve gone along with whatever I wanted), mostly because it seems like something that should be a special celebration of “big girl” status as it was for me, but also because I could not imagine adding more work to those early days of caring for a newborn. I admit, however, that sometimes I wish I had. Turns out that 90% of the Spanish population looks for those earrings as an indicator of gender. Since Sofi doesn’t have them, 90% of the Spanish strangers who talk to Sofi assume she’s a boy. It doesn’t matter that she’s covered with a PINK blanket embroidered with her name. No earrings? Boy. It doesn’t matter what she’s wearing. No earrings? Boy. Seriously. She can be dressed like this…
…and people STILL refer to her as a boy.
If I weren’t certain she’d end up eating them I’d be investing in stick-on earrings by the bulk.