Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spiders and puppy tails

I have been asked by mothers expecting their first child in the past: Is there really a difference between little girls and little boys? I remember being at a baby shower once, full of intellectual, professional and gentile women. When that question was directed at me, I forgot the company I was with and blurted out: "Why yes! Boys are generally louder, more active, and girls don't go around pretending to pee on the dog!" The last part of my response was accompanied by the full on Elvis Presley pelvis wiggle as I imitated boys pretending to pee on a dog. Of course it totally depends on the child. Sometimes there is no difference. Most children are somewhere in between.

Both my daughters are girly-girls who like to do boy things. Sarah has always had more male friends than girl friends. She was a femme fatale from the get go, picking out leopard print skirts before she was 12 months old. I started to really worry when she started preschool at Montessori and her two best friends were twin boys! My mom said she was super easy to babysit because she just carried an old purse around and filled it with things. But she played dentist instead of doctor. When she was in high school, she wanted to be a marine biologist. I could imagine her, the only marine biologist marching around the research vessel in high heels and a mini skirt. I feel guilty telling her that most marine biologist end up categorizing plankton, not swimming with dolphins. But maybe the real reason she went into psychology was because high heels are not practical on a marine vessel.

On Tuesday Maya had playdate with her new friend E. They are both high energy girls so I was prepared to be on full duty. After feeding our neighbor's horses carrots and broccoli, running through the woods and swinging on our playset for 30 minutes, we came inside to play where it was warm. E. asked if we had any dress-ups. I pulled out our little chest of poorly stocked dress ups: several Chinese and Vietnamese outfits, an old lion costume and an old dalmatian costume. None of them fit E. but she managed to squeeze into the dalmatian outfit which barely covered her tummy, her tights and panties visible underneath. Maya changed into a pink Vietnamese outfit, not the au dai but the pajama style. I carefully hid the fairy costume knowing no amount of diplomacy would save the playdate if E. spied Maya's only girly costume. They started to play doctor.

I was strict about leaving the bedroom door open. They told me they didn't want me to see what they were doing. I said that's why we have to leave the door open. I was agreeable to them practicing any kind of medicine except gynecology. Maya lay down on the bed while E. pretend to cut her tummy open with a plastic knife from the play kitchen set. I reminded them to leave their clothes on and no surgery on private parts. They assured me they were not going to do any such thing. Then they fed each other medicine from wooden spoons. This went on for some time.

Then Maya pulled out her favorite dress ups: sports gear. She put on the boys' old elbow pads and knee pads for skateboarding. I helped E. to do the same. They both wanted the fingerless gloves and they each had one on. I talked Maya into wearing the wrist guards and letting E. have the other fingerless glove. I told her, you can wear the gloves when E. goes home. In classic 3 year old fashion she said what we as adults have learned to keep to ourselves: "I want her to go home right now." But we got past the glove incident and that is when E. father arrived to pick her up.

He could not stifle a chuckle as he asked "My, what are you wearing?" I told him we were seriously lacking in the dress up department so she had to settle for a dalmatian costume 3 sizes too small and skateboarding gear. Like a true doting father he whipped out his cell phone and snapped a photo. He suggested next time maybe E. could bring over some of her own dress ups. Maya can't wait for E. to come over today and give her more medicine.

This picture sums up the spectrum of our boys and our girls.

Chris is into making animals out of construction paper. Here he is attaching the tail to paper Trevor.

Here's Chris' tarantula. I helped with the legs. Note the articulating knees (even slacker moms occasionally overachieve).

I helped Maya with this black widow for her bedroom door.
Riley is finally discovering the joy of reading. Having completed his first book report without any bribing, coercing or threatening from me on "The BFG" , he is now reading "Ruby Holler" with gusto. I complained loudly and frequently last year about our struggles with him being in the "college prep 4th grade". This year it's all paying off as he does his homework with very little help and few reminders!

1 comment:

thecurryseven said...

That is an excellent tarantulla!

I have a girl who doesn't do 'girly'. M. received (and loved, btw) a bucketful of preserved animals (specimens) to dissect. A. is a girly girl and P. is somewhere in between.