Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gender Observations

After spending a good portion of the evening piecing together his new Lego Y-Wing Fighter, the Bean was eager to play with me. He quickly fashioned a crude Lego ship for me to pilot and the space battle commenced. Midway through our aerial skirmish, Sprout slid into my lap, new doll in hand, and also wanted to play. While the Bean was busy dive-bombing my ship, Sprout’s doll complimented my Lego guy’s outfit and asked if I wanted to help cook breakfast. I attempted to land my ship at her dollhouse table, but was under heavy fire from the Y-Wing. Unfortunately, Sprout’s dollhouse took some friendly fire and breakfast was never cooked.

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I was fortunate enough to be one of two people who attended the marriage of Strawberry Shortcake and Lemon Meringue (aka “Lemon Girl”). The surprisingly short ceremony took place on the floor of Sprout’s room and was officiated by Sprout herself. The dolls walked down the aisle, were complimented on their hair by Sprout and made to give each other a hug and a kiss.  Afterwards Strawberry Shortcake made Lemon Girl soup because she was feeling sick.

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Over a rare leisurely brunch with some friends, the topic of boys and girls came up. The couple has two girls, but the husband clearly wished he had a boy in his life to balance the scales. As we discussed what life was like with a boy in the house--including, but not limited to: destruction, running around like a 55 lb. wrecking ball, constantly jumping on the furniture (and my back), the ever present very loud noises and screaming, smelly feet, excessive gas… As their girls quietly played with Sprout on the floor, the husband peered at the Bean and looked a little pallid.

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The Bean is no longer allowed to play Mario Kart right before bed. He cannot contain himself when he plays, tapping his feet and bouncing on the couch like the Lord of the Dance after a few Red Bulls. The rush of adrenaline causes him to sweat profusely, dampening his just-washed body and clean pajamas and making sleep nearly impossible to attain. We have noticed that this phenomenon is not limited solely to the Bean. While gorging on an afternoon feast of Mario Kart with a friend, both boys were unable to stop squirming while they played.

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Upon saying goodbye to his friend, the Bean in a surprisingly effective move swept the boy’s leg like a Cobra Kai and talked him. They continued to flop around on the floor with a ferocity that belied their friendship. The kid’s dad and I just looked at each other and shrugged. Off in the corner, Sprout played with her dolls, either unaffected or decidedly ignoring the rambunctiousness of brother.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your honesty (and for making me feel like my sons are just like everyone's!) I've known a lot of parents with only girls who insist that their daughters "like to play with trucks and trains." Yeah, okay. It's not quite the same....

Daddy Geek Boy said...

You're welcome.

It's not about what boys and girls play with, its how they play. No matter what, boys and girls are wired differently. And there's nothing wrong with that.

OneZenMom said...

As the parent of boy-children, I'm not sure I'm qualified to comment ... then again, I WAS A girl-child, so I'm gonna go for it. ;)

I think the "sterotype" of how boys and girls play and act differently from each other exists for a reason - it's largely true. Different genders have different ways - some learned and some biological - of thinking and acting. Viva la difference!

But I also know that there are some kids who instinctively defy the paradigm. So, I think it's good for parents to let their kids push the boundaries of the stereotypes - to let them know that there's not one "right" way to be a boy or a to be a girl.

Having said that ... I'm a little sad to report that my boys are not interested in tea parties. That kinda sounds like fun.

Also: THANK YOU!!!! My boys wiggle and bounce like coked-up squirrels when they play video games. I'm so glad to hear it's not just us!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

It's funny, I wrote this post as a snapshot of the way my boy and my girl are different, not as a commentary on gender roles. But it seems to have touched that nerve.

Yes Zen, you're totally right that all kids are individuals and its not fair to lump ALL boys and ALL girls together.

Surfer Jay said...

That sounds just like me when I play Mario Kart. Still one of the best games ever. The classic style version that is.

Since you're on the tpoic of gas. I now believe, sinceely believe, that sticking your butt out towards the nearest person to you, is, to a 4 year old boy, and inherent trait. As if they were born with that inate quality. My boy does it to me all the time now. And I never showed him that.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Jay...I have to remind my son to keep his underwear on when he does that. No person should have to endure that much naked.

Angela said...

I had to laugh at your description of the Bean. You pretty much described my daughter. In fact, just last week as my 24 year old son was throwing an excerise ball at his 6 year old sister and knocking her down with it (she's laughing her head off at this too), I looked at him and said, "I think you got that little brother you wanted anyway, she just doesn't look like a boy." However, she has her girly side too and I love that she's well rounded. I swear that she and her brother match farts! Oh, and don't get me started on Mario! I hate game! Obbsessed is an understatment and once again, you nailed the description. It's the one thing I threaten to take away if she misbehaves and so far, it's working.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Angela...It's all kinds of awesome that your 24 year old and your 6 year old have found common ground.