Saturday, July 14, 2007

To do the dishes, to clean up my room

dumpr circle daylily

The other morning, when our friends Nature Girl and Small Batch were being dropped off for their all-day playdate, my boys were ecstatic. Jumping up and down, chattering about all the things they were going to play with - the mulch pile, the pirate ship, the stump, etc. - they couldn't wait for the other moms, my friends Amy and Molly, to leave, practically pushing them out the door. After Amy and Molly had said their final goodbyes to their daughters and were heading out, Big Man could contain himself no longer.

"Come on, ladies!" he called to Nature Girl and Small Batch. "We're going to have a rockin' good time!"

Later, the girls were taking turns getting spun around in the egg chair in the kids' room. From the other room, I heard them complaining to Big Man: "Quit that!" "Would you stop doing that?" so I stepped in to have a look. He was sticking his foot into the chair every time it came around to his side - not kicking anyone, but interfering with the spin, which he thought was funny and they thought was irritating.

I told him to knock it off, and reminded him that 'Stop' is a magic word, and asked him to apologize to his friends. As I went back to folding laundry, it occurred to me that sooner or later, every little girl comes to the conclusion that boys are obnoxious.

Nature Girl and her parents stayed for dinner that night. After dinner, the grownups were hanging out on the deck eating watermelon and throwing the rinds at Big Man and Nature Girl, who were playing in the yard below. Mr Four was up on the deck with us, puttering randomly. At one point, as I saw him climb onto the lower deck rail and hang his head and arms over the top rail, I asked him curiously, "Hey, what are you doing?"

"Nothing," he replied absently, dropping a plastic plant pot over the rail and watching it fall.

All four adults burst out laughing, and I leaned over the rail to see 4 pots below us in the yard.


Until I had kids of my own, I would NEVER have made generalizations about personality or behavior based on gender. I'm still not comfortable doing it, and besides, as I always say, all generalizations are bunk. ha ha.

But. When Molly and Amy came to get their daughters at the end of the day, one of them asked me, "So, now that you've spent the day with girls, you're really happy you have boys, right?" I thought about it. I have PLENTY of reasons to be happy I have boys: fairy princess obsession, hot pants, and menstruation are just some of the things that occur more frequently in the lives of girls than in the lives of boys. But after lunch, when I came around to clear up the dishes and trash, I found that two of the girls had already done it. Six year old girls. Without being asked.

I was dumbstruck. Had my sons done that, I would have checked them all over to make sure someone hadn't replaced them with little Stepford robots. Never gonna happen.

However: this morning, Big Man finished his breakfast, asked to be excused, took his plate to the kitchen, went upstairs and got dressed, then came down and asked if he could go outside and play. Just like that.

So, you know. Obnoxious. Enthusiastic. Inconsiderate. Speculative. Grunting and noncommittal. Polite and friendly. Boys.