photo: Adria Valdes Greenhauff, Vivala

When I was a kid, all I longed for was a little sister. Having an older brother was fun (well, most of the time), but I dreamed of having another girl to play with. So when my aunt got pregnant when I was five years old, I was over the moon — that is, until I met my baby cousin on the evening he was born, and he was not actually a girl. 

Flash-forward another five years, and my aunt got pregnant for the second time. This is it, I thought to myself, this will be the little girl cousin I’ve been waiting for. But once again, fate was apparently not on my side.

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By the time I was 12 years old, I had two male cousins on my mom’s side, two male cousins on my dad’s side, and my older brother. While growing up around so many boys was fun, it also came with its challenges. Here are seven things that happen when you are the only girl in your Latino family.


The Injuries

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From climbing trees to jumping on beds, there are plenty of not-so-great-ideas you find yourself getting into when you play with a bunch of boys. Did I mention the time I lost two front teeth after taking a baseball to the face? Yeah, that happened.


The fun interruptions

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Whatever shenanigans I found myself in while hanging out with my brother and cousins, it wasn't long before my mom or aunt or grandfather came along to shut things down. "Cuidado con la niña," they'd always say. 

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The cleaning

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From vacuuming to doing dishes, it was important to the women in my family that I learn the basics of maintaining a house. So it was never a surprise when I was volunteered as tribute on most cleaning days. 


Getting slack about how I dressed

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As I got older and started experimenting with makeup, crop tops, and other things that teenage girls usually wear, it became my brother's biggest joy in life to criticize my outfits in front of our mom, who often ended up making me change. Hey bro, weren't we supposed to be on the same team here?


The curfews

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While my brother's curfew was widely unenforced, I might as well have clocked in and out my house during high school because for me things were hella strict. When I would bring up this obvious double standard going on, I'd always get the same answer, "No es lo mismo porque tu eres una señorita."


The favors

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Whether it was helping my mom with spring cleaning, or revamping my aunt's résumé, I have always been the default person to ask for favors from because I am "nicer" and more "patient" than the guys. 


The pressure to have kids

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It's all anyone asks about these days. 

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