I was raised in a family of boys. I am one of 2 boys, my dad is one of 2, my dad’s dad is one of 5 or 6 boys, and so forth and so on. Family lore holds that there was once a woman born into the paternal side of my family, but I think that may be a fairy tale. So, now that I find myself stepfather to 2 girls, I am a little lost at times. Despite my feminist leanings throughout college and several papers written to the contrary, it seems that girls are different than boys. In fact, I would say that girls are much more difficult than boys. Bear with me.
Boys fight – my brother and I still bruise each other wresting or exchanging arm punches when we get together today. He is 32 and I am older. We called each other names, then hit each other until one of us (usually me) got hurt enough to stop fighting. Girls don’t fight that way – at least not ours. Girls have a whole different threshold for what constitutes insults. My brother and I weren’t (aren’t, I suppose) all that bright, so even though we share the same mother, we spent a lot of time insulting each other’s mom. ‘Your Momma’ jokes were big at the time. I don’t think we were ever upset by innocuous throw-away comments. That was then, this is now.
Flash forward to earlier this week. Our 9-year-old and our 14-year-old were warring over clean socks. Yes, clean socks. At one point the 9-year-old shook a clean sock at her sister and asserted her ownership of the garment. Mind you, we have beautiful and intelligent daughters, not house elves. So this single sock was not a ticket to freedom. This clean sock was, well, a sock. Following the shaking of the sock came a flow of tears from our eldest as she exclaimed, “Don’t shake that sock at me!” Give that a minute to sink in.
I have a degree in Child Development. I understand (as well as a man can) the emotional and hormonal changes that slam you during adolescence, but a sock? I could not have been more confused. How do you process that? I checked the books, sock-shaking is not in there. So, that was this week’s random tear event.
What do you think? Is it easier to raise boys or girls? What is your best random tear event? Seems like there should be some sort of giveaway for the best story. I don’t know how to do that, but I will ask Jaime.