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Getting ready for girl power

David and Victoria Beckham are expecting their first daughter.

The soccer hero spilled the news that his wife was pregnant with a girl at an LA Galaxy luncheon last Friday. The couple already have three sons. Congratulations Victoria. I bet she's delighted. I think it's really lovely that they know the sex already and they have time to mentally prepare.

When she first got pregnant there was a lot of speculation that they were 'going again' to 'get a girl', that she might have had fertility treatment in the US "where embryos can legally be screened to help parents choose a child's sex". This was not being fair to Victoria.

People often mistakenly presume that just because someone has children of one sex they are disappointed and secretly hoping to have a child of the other sex. Most people just want a healthy baby.


A family of boys is lovely. I have three sons. When our third son was born I grieved a little for the girl I felt I would never have. It only took a short while to fall head over heels in love with my little blond, curly-headed bundle of joy. With a dimple on each cheek and an extra one on his chin, what girl could compare to my beautiful boy? I celebrated the joy of having an all-male family and felt a little sorry for families with both sexes. When they were really little they rolled around each other like puppies. We had a house full of Lego, toy cars, trains and Action Men. I love having boys, I understand boys and I really enjoy their company. I was a mother of boys and really happy about it. I saw myself, years in the future, walking into a restaurant dwarfed by four tall, handsome men, the envy of all around.

Then I got pregnant for the fourth time and we were delighted.

We planned to call him Oscar. I got annoyed when people told me they were crossing their fingers for a girl for me. On the morning we finally went into hospital for the birth I had a baby bag filled with little blue babygros and blankets. When the doctor pulled out our baby, my husband shouted with glee, "It's a boy".

"Er, no, she isn't," said the doctor. "Take another look."

We hadn't chosen a name for a girl. It took a while for it to sink in.

I was in shock but my husband was ecstatic. Absolutely over-the-moon delighted. Grinning from ear to ear, he couldn't contain his joy. He phoned everyone he could think of and started each conversation by shouting: "It's a girl." Then, of course, he went off to celebrate with all his mates and I was left staring at the wonder of my new baby girl. Dressed in blue, she looked very like my other babies. I couldn't see what all the fuss was about. As I was only used to talking to baby boys I kept calling her "him" by mistake and confusing the nurses.

An avalanche of pink clothes soon arrived from all corners of the country and the differences soon became obvious. My boys had worn each other's hand-me-downs but I took a real pleasure and interest in dressing Jessica. She was like a little doll. It's easy to imagine the fun Victoria will have choosing little girl clothes.

As there is a three-year gap between Jessica and the boys, and as she is definitely our last child, I really enjoyed her babyhood. I had so much help from her brothers, who were equally enthralled with her. As the only girl and the baby, she is definitely spoilt but it's such fun it's hard to resist. The pirate outfits in our dressing-up box have had to make room for fairy and princess dresses.

Tiny dolls' shoes, fluffy Webkinz and Littlest Pet Shop creatures are all over the house and finally there is a bedroom without zombie posters glaring down from the walls.

She is nine now and very sociable. She invites as many boys as girls home from school but plays differently with them. She can be a tomboy but also loves all the girly stuff my boys couldn't bear. She loves to go shopping with me and always notices if I'm wearing something different. She never stops chatting and tells me everything going on in her life. At the moment she is outside with a gaggle of little girls mixing a bucket of water with a stick as they pour in flower petals from all the front gardens to make perfume. I have almost no say in what she wears any more. But I love how she creates her 'look'.

Dresses and skirts are out, high-top trainers, layers of T-shirts, one fingerless glove and a trilby hat are in.

Parenting girls is different to parenting boys and I am still learning.

I wish Victoria and the Beckhams a very happy life. They are in for a lot of fun. The Beckham boys -- Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz -- are 11, eight, and five respectively. That's young enough to be playmates for the new arrival but too old for there to be much sibling rivalry. Victoria is a fashion icon, a very successful designer and a former dancer, singer and member of a girl band. I'm delighted she will be having a little girl of her own and can finally indulge her girly side. She deserves it. Bring on the pink.