Mountain View Mommy: Sand, Trucks and Testosterone

March 18, 2007

Boys vs. Girls – the comparison

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 1:41 pm

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After all the highlights, you might be wondering… well….. what happened with the science experiment. Testosterone vs. Estrogen?

I think that the kids weren’t as dissimilar as I thought they might be. My boys definitely toned it down with the girls there. And the girls definitely had no problem roughing it up with my boys. There were marked differences. But there were also surprising similarities.

For example, both sexes apparently like to bang when they are done sleeping. I thought it was just Andrew who sounded like a jackhammer coming through my wall. But when Clara didn’t want to take her nap, she was a little less aggressive about being caged up, but had the prisoner escape tactics down well. There is also a universal need to dump things in buckets. We have a pretend grocery cart filled with millions of plastic grocery items. Three of the four kids seemed to want to dump that every-time the food was put back into the cart (thanks Kate for not participating). All kids were equally interested in sports. Clara & Andrew dueled with baseball bats and tennis rackets. And Clara even took the soccer ball with us to the grocery store. Sand seems to be a universal crowd pleaser & the throwing of it is not limited to the testosterone filled children. Coloring is also widely accepted by both sexes, though the pictures have a marked different tone to them (more on that later).

In the end, I found that the Bittle girls (maybe not all girls) kept up very nicely with my boys. They fell and didn’t cry. They weren’t afraid of the bike ramming or sand throwing and often joined right in. They didn’t run to their dad every two minutes for some tiny infraction. They didn’t mind the dirt, and definitely weren’t shrinking violets. At the same time, I found that my boys (maybe not all boys) could tone it down when necessary. They didn’t wrestle, they didn’t push, they held hands with each other. Dare I say they were the whiny kids in the group? Andrew actually cried when he fell down after running with Clara hand in hand. Clara likewise flipped over him and fell, but just got back up and wanted to start running again. And Kate would go to anyone, whereas Justin wanted to stay next to Mommy all the time. So whose tougher now?

To that same thought, there were a number of differences in the kids. Many of them were more subtle than I thought they would be.

First, the not-so-subtle differences. Clara definitely liked the puzzles. She kept taking out the pieces and checking them out – whereas Andrew just used them as Frisbee’s. Andrew cannot pass a truck or tractor or any utility vehicle without making notice of it and wanting to stop. Clara couldn’t have cared less when we passed an entire job site full of workers with shovels and backhoes and forklifts. And of course where would we be without the banging? Both sexes did it. But only thethe boys did it in order to destroy whatever it was that they were banging on; the girls did it for the sound effects.

Onto the more subtle differences, starting with volume. I would say the volume on my boys definitely topped the charts. I don’t know what it is about talking and yelling. But apparently girls can talk, and boys can only yell. There are the girlie shrieks, but Andrew actually can pull that off amazingly well. So they equalled each other out on that point. Another difference was their ability to walk. The girls definitely had a strut to their walk. Clara looked like a mini version of her mother with that wiggle (that is a compliment Meg), all she needed was the purse. Whereas my boys don’t have a ‘walk’, they seem to only have a run. Every-time I turned around Andrew was darting off in some direction, and Clara was walking nicely next to her dad.

The girls attention to detail seemed to be a bit better as well. Or maybe it was their ability to focus ‘gently’ on the topic at hand. For example, coloring was a noticeable difference. Clara could make a perfect circle and really was working hard at it… whereas Andrew just wanted to pound the crayons into oblivion and demolish anything that was being drawn. Or another example on that same theme, there were differences in their sand throwing techniques. Yes, they both were maniacs out there throwing it all over. But Clara was more about doing it the old fashioned way, with her hands. Andrew would attempt new and improved methods that involved using sticks as levers to catapult it out of the sandbox.. or using rakes to show Clara how to sweep the sand out. In the end, they both had the knack down.

Which leads me to the most important difference… the boys were definitely the instigators. Often I would see the kids start off doing something fairly harmless… and then have it end up in a mess. Like the sandbox example above. Andrew definitely started that. I am sure Clara didn’t climb in there with the broom. And even Justin would play peekaboo nicely for a bit – then resort to poking eyes for fun. I saw Andrew once try to show Clara how to ride the bikes and ram them into other bikes. And he was the one trying to dump water over her head in the bathtub… not the other way around. This is not to say that the girls didn’t follow suit immediately afterwards. They definitely did. However, they weren’t the ones starting it.

After the all the comparisons were made. I am not sure that it’s testosterone vs. estrogen. Or one parenting style vs. another. Or one child’s personality vs. another child’s personality. I think it’s a little of all of it. (Let’s hope that parenting style isn’t the biggest influence, or I am raising hellions.)

In the end, when we all said good-bye…. Clara climbed into Andrew’s truck bed and declared that she wanted a truck bed too. I think some testosterone may have rubbed off on her during the visit. Likewise, the fact that my children are even sitting in the picture above is a miracle that only estrogen could have accomplished. I think we can consider the visit a success.

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1 Comment »

  1. I love that picture. The older ones are clearly not ready for their close ups but the little ones are as happy as clams. I’m just happy that I finally got a picture of Kate where her shirt covers her whole belly. Clara’s been talking about Andrew as if they’re still around each other: “Andrew sits there.” “I’m going to give this to Andrew.”

    I’ve been loving reading your posts and have been trying to write my own but these two girls got home and immediately began bouncing off the walls from all the stimulation on their vacation. Now I need a vacation. Thank you for the two awesome days – I love your family. We can’t wait to spend more time with you guys.

    Comment by Joel Bittle — March 20, 2007 @ 6:34 am |Reply


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