What’s the difference, besides a chromosome and a few body parts, between a boy and a girl?
Is it sugar and spice and everything nice? Toads and snails and puppy dog tails?
Is it just physiology?
Is it hormones?
Are our brains different?
Do we think differently?
Is it socialization?
Do we raise them differently
Are there different expectations and assumptions?
Are we just different species?
I have wrestled with these questions a lot as a woman and a feminist. For the most part, I have consistently denied all differences but physiology, mainly because I don’t like the consequences for women, historically, for assuming that men and women are different.
Generally, I don’t like some of the stereotypes that circle popular culture about how men and women are different (like the book referenced in the title). I realize that there is a wide spectrum of “girl” behavior and “boy” behavior and that there is a lot of overlap.
But I am ready to make a concession: after having a boy, I can say, almost for certain, that he is a different kind of beast altogether.
Let it be known, first, that G is not a girly-girl (much to my secret relief). I have tried not to influence her much as far as likes: I don’t encourage or discourage typically girl or typically boy things. I want her to like what SHE likes. And yet, she likes dinosaurs more than dolls. She likes sticks and bugs and frogs. She loves to run and jump and climb. She prefers to be buck-naked (underwear is usually our compromise) rather than don a pink sequined tutu. It is still early, she is only 3.5 and kids change so much, but for now, she is somewhat of a tom-boy.
So it is not that there is a HUGE contrast. I don’t think I am overly-willing to interpret Nico’s behavior as “all-boy” just because he is, in fact, a boy. He does a lot of the things that G used to do…
But he is all rough and tumble and cacophony. He hits. He bangs. He grunts. He climbs. He clangs. He whacks. He throws. He makes a raucous everywhere he goes. He routinely carries drumsticks, mallets, and sticks and beats and bangs everything that crosses his path. He loves to throw big toys on the floor to hear the satisfying crash and to see everyone’s startled reaction. He is mischievous beyond measure and makes sure you are watching as he creates the havoc he knows you are trying to avoid. He laughs with a sparkle in his eye when we are stern with him or tell him “no!”
He even walks with a cocky little man-swagger, holding on to his little pot-belly. He is a late-talker... as in, he doesn't talk yet--which might make one think he is getting an early start on that "real men don't talk" stereotype. He communicates all right: he points and grunts when he wants something and he bangs on the fridge with his little fists and runs to his high chair when he is hungry (about 8 times a day).
It is still early, he is still little and kids change so much. But if things continue on course, given his current behavior, here are some of my predictions, in no particular order, for the near-future:
*Finally succeed in eating a rock
*Eat a bug
*Get stung by a wasp
*Sit on a mound of fire ants
*Give me a black eye
*Head-butt hubby in the groin
*Or a cast
*Throw a rock through one of our windows
*Chip one of his two teeth
*Somehow manage to climb onto the roof and possibly fling himself off
I might be ready to concede that there is something different about a boy.