Fatherhood Adventures

As the father of two young boys, I often wonder what girls are like to raise.< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office">

Generally speaking, I have to believe there are major differences between raising little girls and raising little boys. I have no idea which is tougher because I don’t have any girls, but I do know my boys come with challenges unique to their sex.

That’s why I am so intrigued observing little girls. It’s foreign to me so I’m interested to see their unique dispositions and how they interact with other kids and adults. From what I can tell, again generally, little girls seem more laidback and less inclined to wreak havoc as their male counterparts.

Experienced parents assure me most boys come with unique challenges in the early years because they possess high energy and a strong will that can oftentimes overwhelm. However, they also advise taking comfort because the early teen years are when the roles typically reverse, and the girls become generally more defiant and prone to question authority, while the boys tend to adopt the laidback approach.

Until those days come, I marvel over the present age differences and find myself curious if girls act like my boys.

I wonder if little girls run around the house screaming the “f” word like Beckett does. I’m not talking about the terrible word here, but the one that involves a body function that boys particularly find hilarious and make a huge deal over.

I wonder if girls get a kick out of it the way boys do. I am curious whether big sisters do what my oldest son has been known to do to his little brother when he has to pass gas. For instance, I find it hard to believe sisters would do what played out in my house the other evening.

I noticed Beckett leaning on Carson while they were watching television and wondered what he was doing. It only took a few seconds to find out, as he ran away laughing and dropping the ‘f’ word, leaving Carson behind wiping it off his shorts as if it left a mark and shaking his head furiously as if to say, ‘no you didn’t.” Carson then chased after Beckett, with an arm cocked ready to land a blow, laughing and continuing to wipe off his jeans.

Additionally, I wonder if girls are as rough and careless as boys.

On the roughness front, I know Pam and I at the end of a weekend day are sore from parenting because our boys demand a lot of physical exertion particularly when it comes to playing outside.

On the careless front, this is what usually sends Pam into hyperventilation mode, particularly since she has watched numerous cherished items be destroyed by her boys. Everything from picture frames, vases and couch pillows to photo albums, paintings and hardwood floors have been wrecked by our sons over the years.

All of these damaged goods are basically a result of the boys getting carried away and not listening, and I have from time to time wondered whether these items would be still around if there were two little girls in the house.

The difference between boys and girls was on full display during Beckett’s pre-kindergarten field trip this week to the Kite Loft. At the end of their visit to this wonderful Boardwalk store, the kids were given free rein to do some shopping with their parent chaperones and teachers (insert heaving breathing here).

While the boys went directly and with gusto for the smaller sort of action figures, the toy gun display and the Lego toys, which they mashed together with vigor, the girls were mostly found playing with dolls, cheerfully brushing their hair, and the educational items. I couldn’t help but watch the girls play so delicately while standing in between Beckett and his classmate, who were crawling between my legs to shoot each other with the toy guns. When the guns were deemed off limits, they then went to using their imagination and sword fighting with their action figures.

Another example of my marveling over girls came from a neighborhood playing session.

We have a little girl on our block, named Opal, who fascinates me. She is a dainty little thing who mesmerizing me with her laidback, quiet and seemingly easy way. While she will certainly speak up, particularly if she is not included in a snack, I find her to be incredibly mature, composed and independent, and she impresses me to no end with her gentle and loving disposition.

I was particularly distracted by her recently while my sons played in her parents’ back yard. While the boys jumped all over each other and atop various pieces of kid playground equipment, there was Opal sitting under a tree playing with grass and occasionally pointing out the crazy antics of her big brother and his friends.

When I remarked later to my wife about this, she reminded me of something I once said to her prior to us having kids. Apparently, and I don’t remember this now, I mentioned I hope our kids are among the rough and silly types who accidentally run into a wall and quickly shake it off and go about their business.

She then grabbed my hand and walked me over to a dent in our wall from that very thing happening to confirm I got exactly what I always wanted.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.