Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Demonstration on the Differences Between Boys and Girls

Mia is standing on the front sidewalk, ready to ride off into the almost-sunset on her pink and white scooter.  She's quite a good scooter-er, now.  Speedy and fearless with her hair flying backwards, a super-hero cape of many strands.  The boy from two houses down is on his new bike.  He is her neighborhood playmate, and a sweet, energetic boy.

Their conversation is definitely worthy of eavesdropped attention, but I make myself known, instead.  (This time.)  I park myself on the top step and listen to the way Mia's voice changes from dependent and questioning towards confident and knowing.  She holds her own with this second-grader.  I marvel at her assurance.  Was I ever so outgoing with kids at that age?  I must have been -- I did have friends and I remember being wildly silly -- but the overwhelming feeling I get when remembering childhood is one of personal insecurity. 

But Mia, she is strong and tall and straight.  The boy, I fancy, is in love.  How could he not be?  (Probably all kinds of ways, but when I see my girl, I fall in love, myself.  She is exquisite.  Even on this day, with tangled hair and a mouth stained red from too much Valentine's candy.)

He is telling her about his bike -- a truly wonderful story of generosity and hope: bikes were donated to every child who used to attend a now-demolished, tornado-destroyed elementary school.  I smile and shake my head.  The outpouring of gifts and time and love our community has seen is powerful to behold.  And we behold so much of it, every day.

He talks about his old scooters, his Valentine's Day party, his long-ago trip to the hospital for the flu.  Somewhere in the middle of medicine and overnight nurses, his eyes light on our pumpkin.  You remember, right?  The pumpkin I talked about doing away with a month ago?  The one that's been sitting on our front stoop since before Halloween? 

That pumpkin. 

Feel free to imagine its state of decay, because I'm not sharing a current photo.  Perhaps the shame from our laziness is a deterrent..  Anyway, you're welcome.  It's not a pretty sight, with its orange faded to a putrid, foggy yellow on top, just where a few slight snowfalls have dampened its crown.  It's begun to cave-in like the lip of a too-wide volcano. 

"What do you think of our pumpkin?" I ask.  There is a twinkle in my eye.  If I'd asked this question to my daughters, which I have, the response I'd receive, and have received, would be a mixture of dramatic, downturned faces and belligerent declarations of disgust.  Super fun to watch.

But this boy.  He is not a girl. 

He stares at the lump of softening, pulpy matter, eyes wide with appreciation, and then...

"Can I shoot it?"

I am left completely speechless at the pure, unabashed boy-ness of his response. 

I feel a great and pressing urge to brush up on my boy-survival skills now, if you'll excuse me.

Note: Said boy later proceeded to carry the rotting pumpkin to the woods beside our house as a valiant favor.  How should I thank him?  Fresh cookies?  A round of BBs for his gun*?  Free access to all future rotting organic matter?

*I have no idea if he does, in fact, own a pumpkin-slaying weapon.  Maybe he wanted to shoot it with a light-saber.**

**Do light sabers shoot?

NoteII: See above reference to brushing up on boy-survival skills.  I need help.


  1. So funny. I felt the same way when my girl came along after two boys . . . so different!

    As a kickstart to your study of boyology, I offer the following: When my boys were about 4 and 5, I put them on "weapons restriction." I was so annoyed with the constant accidental hurting of each other with a wayward toy sword or a too-hard swung light saber and the inevitable fighting that ensued. I blew a gasket and said, "NO WEAPONS!" I gathered the toy pistols, rifles, swords, light sabers, etc, and put them all way up high in mommy's closet.

    Now sooner had I shut the closet door than Joshua said, "At least we still have this," as he fashioned a age-old gun out of his thumb and forefinger. He was right; I could not cut off their hands.

  2. Hah! Oh Becky, that's HILARIOUS!! You just can't unmake a boy, I guess :)

  3. Ha! That was totally kind of him to rid you of that pumpkin, and I think most boys appreciate cookies. :)

  4. LOL...we don't do weapons in our fam either but the different response cracked me up. My boy would have been ITCHING to take it to the street, smash it open and examine it's rotting bits.
    You are in for one big adventure!

  5. Boys do so love to smash things! Cracks me up, and no, light sabers do not shoot. :)

  6. CM - THANK you! I didn't *think* so, but I couldn't be sure. You're a genius :)

  7. LOL - if my husband is any indication, boys DO NOT outgrow any natural proclivities towards demolition and destruction (they perhaps only learn to curb it in polite society)! But again, if T can provide an example, boys will always work for cookies. :)

  8. LOL, that just captures the differences perfectly! Boys are awesome!

  9. Hahaha! Yep...that's a boy alright. E probably would have wanted to kick it.

    And for the record boys love cookies, so a cookie reward is fine...although unlimited access to all rotting organic matter might make him happy too, but not his mom.

    Oh and light sabers don't shoot, they are like a laser sword.

    I'll give you quiz later on which super heroes are DC and which are Marvel along with their origins. :-)

    Ahhh, boys...


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?