Saturday, March 24, 2007

Boys Will Be Boys; Girls Will Be Girls

As I sit here listening to my three-year-old twin boys wrestle with their older brother in the other room, I am reminded again of my amazement at how quickly boys become boys. It seems as if girls act like girls and boys act like boys pretty much from birth!

I recall my sister telling me that her little girl, at the age of three, flung all of her clothes from her dresser drawers, threw herself to the ground with them, and cried, “I have nothing to wear!” Can you imagine a little boy exhibiting such diva behavior?

And just the other day, I asked one of my twins to say, “I love you.” He shook his head continuously, pursed his lips, and refused to comply. Finally, in desperation, I pleaded, “Won’t you please just say, ‘I love you, Mommy’?” (which was, by the way, a very girlish thing for me to say!). My little boy looked at me with a sneaky look in his eye and proclaimed, “I love you . . . NO!” Even at such a young age, he was reluctant—as men often are—to express his softer emotions. Whenever I comment on how cute he is or what beautiful blue eyes he has, he pouts and hangs his head. He doesn’t want attention drawn to how gorgeous he is! He’s Mr. Macho even at age three.

I visited the twins’ preschool the other day. The teacher led the children in a round of songs and activities. Many of the girls were singing loudly and clearly at the top of their lungs, while most of the boys (including my own) recited a word here or there, but were easily distracted. The teacher said to me later, “Isn’t it amazing how different the girls and boys are, even at this age?” An audiologist confirmed these differences to me the next day when she told me that 1 in 10 boys have language delays. Girls, in general, just pick up language more quickly!

Boys and girls are just different. When I see my boys racing around the house, throwing things and taunting each other, I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like if they had been girls. Would my house have been quieter? Would my children be peacefully coloring in their books or putting their dolls to bed if they had been girls? Of course, all children are unique, and one can’t generalize, but I’m willing to bet that my household would have been entirely different if I’d had four girls instead of four boys! (And, alas, perhaps at least one of my children would have been willing to go clothes shopping with me!)

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