Sugar & Spice & Snips & Snails.

August 12, 2009

(fuzzy photo of Playmobil gender warriors from my iPhone)

It’s pretty interesting going from taking care of two girls to working in Boyland.  As much as this opinion has been challenged, there is a huge inherent difference from little boys to little girls. Of course, depending on the boy and the girl, the “gendered behavior” will vary and blah blah blah – but I’m just saying. I knew up front that two boys is a different ballgame from two girls – the fact that these girls liked Barbie Princesses and my hunch is that the boys probably have not watched Dora & The Snow Princess more than once is not the point.

In the first three days in Boyland, the differences have been quite noticeable. The boys’ parents are much more fluid about gender expression than the girls’ parents were, but that’s not really all that hard. The girls genuinely liked pink and purple and dresses and sparkles, which is fine, and their parents totally indulged that – also fine. But certainly, it’s not hard at all to find households with less stereotyped gender models. I was pretty psyched when I offered Thing 1 a toy from my car (my mom compulsively saves Happy Meal toys for me – the weird part is probably that my mom buys the Happy Meals in the first place) and he chose a sparkly bracelet with Belle on it instead of the plush dog. I’m also really psyched when he wears the bracelet.

Still, the Things are 100% boy, and it’s just their nature. When I sat down to draw with Thing 1, I asked him what he wanted me to draw. His first response: “A spider!” Oh boy. It’s been so long since I drew a spider, I could have almost forgotten how many legs they have! A few hours later, he got out some Play-Doh and made me a snake. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I really, really hate snakes.

The BIG differences though are in energy levels and where the energy gets directed. Boys get distracted easily and aren’t terribly emotional… but man, do they ever run circles around you all day long. If you could bottle the energy of a four year old boy, you could solve peak oil. Girls on the other hand, are much more person-focused. Schmoopelina and Thing 1 are both great artists and draw all day long. One of them draws monsters and train tracks. The other draws pictures of her family, specifically to give TO her family. Thing 1 has oodles and oodles of sketchbooks, but the drawings don’t hold meaning past his creating them – they’re not sentimental to him the way that the object of the drawing was as an object of Schmoopelina’s affection.

Anyhow, these are just some initial observations. I see that my Hampshire education is leading me down the path of Subject v. Object, so I’m going to go and try and rot a few brain cells with some quality programming. (The Wire really is pretty high quality, I must say.)

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