Wednesday, August 26, 2009

That Y Chromosome

I just love it when I hear parents of young children say something like, "Oh, we're only going to let Johnny play with gender-neutral toys. We want him to grow up to be a peace-loving, nurturing father." Uh-huh. Good luck with that.

And I'm going to put an apron on my dog so she'll be the next Julia Child. Lord knows, we need someone around here who will cook.

The fact is, boys and girls are just different. And I don't mean in the obvious, he-needs-PeePee TeePees-and-she-doesn't way.
For instance, let's say you give a boy and a girl a plastic straw and a gum wrapper and put them each in an completely empty room for thirty minutes.

When you open the door to the girl's room, you will find that she has spent the half-hour imagining an elaborate story about having been an princess imprisoned in a tower. She will have used the straw and the gum wrapper as props - a magic wand and a precious gem, respectively. She will be eager to have you transcribe the narrative so she can send it to Grandma.

When you open the door to the boy's room, you will first notice, scattered about the room, an assortment of hardware - nails, screws, bolts - that were not in the room earlier. The boy will have no recollection of their appearance. The straw will have become a gun. The gum wrapper will be firmly lodged in the boy's right nostril. His underwear and one sock will have mysteriously disappeared. There will be one muddy footprint on the ceiling, a tuft of cat hair near the electrical outlet, and the boy's other sock will be hanging from the light fixture. The room will smell vaguely of old cheese and motor oil. He will be ravenously hungry. He will not be able to tell you a single thing he did in the last 30 minutes.

And it doesn't change as they get older.

Recently, there was a large assortment of teenage personages at my house. I don't even know if any of them were mine. I'm losing track. Because of increasingly frequent teen invasions, lately I've taken to hiding in the pantry, trying to protect the last of the Ritz crackers and Can O' Squirt Cheese.

Anyway. The girls in the crowd decided it was time for a group makeover. Specifically, facial peels. They even offered an assortment of pink grapefruit, cucumber, and chocolate scented facial products, to be applied thickly and then peeled away ten minutes later. The boys were too besotted with the girls to say no. (I love blogging. Where else can you use a word like "besotted?") Either that, or the food-like smell of the stuff lured them into assent.

Well. I'm here to tell you, teenage boys do not need illegal substances, energy drinks, coffee, or Mountain Dew to jack them up. A smear of a cucumber facial peel will turn them into human pinballs. Sports teams, take note.

At precisely 9:59:59 minutes post-application, the boys were making for the bathroom to remove their beauty products. When they emerged, they didn't look any more attractive to me, but apparently they were feeling a little testosterone deprived, because I heard one of them say, "We need to do something manly. Let's go blow something up."

There was a thundering stampede out the back door as they went to go find some fireworks. From my sentry point in the pantry, I heard some loud explosions, a cow bawling, and possibly the whispered mention of boxer shorts and a fire extinguisher.

A few minutes later, the girls were calmly removing their own facial products. The boys burst back into the house, with one proclaiming triumphantly, "Yeah! Now I smell like roasted cucumber!" I found an empty Little Debbie Oatmeal Cookie box and pulled it over my head. I didn't want to hear the rest.

So, yeah, good luck with that gender-neutral plan. Let me know how that works out for you. We can discuss it in my pantry. I'll save a seat for you near the shelf where the fruit cocktail and party peanuts used to be.


Sue said...

LOL!!! Those "gender-neutral" folks are living in a dreamland, that's for sure. I can imagine a similar scene in our house in a few years as the testosterone levels spike. I think I'll go stock up on Ritz right now.

elaine said...

Ok move over there in the pantry will ya!!!! Make room for me!! I am embarrassed to say that I was one of "those" mothers, I know, I know, stupid me.....Well your observations are sooo spot on...I just never thought to hide in the pantry!!
Give a little boy child a doll of any description and he will rip it's head off after taking off all the dolls clothes first and then make an impressive missile out of said doll.
Give a girl a toy car & she will throw it back @ you if the colour doesn't match the one yellow sock or the one green sock they have on. They will ask if they can put a baby seat in it!!
Gender neutral toys, BAH!!!! boys will use their fingers to make guns & shoot ppl & girls will put a plastic ring on their fingers & look @ it admiring the glint of sunlight shining off the plastic.

Nancy said...

ROFLMAO! I've had one of those days and I needed a laugh. That was great!

Sue said...

I'm laughing soooo hard. With 3 sons now safely in their 30s I remember it all. Nine years ago #3 told his horrified girlfriend I was such a mean mother I locked the pantry while I was at work & they all starved after school. Now she is the mother of his two little daughters & she is on my side.

Keeley said...

Hahahahaa!!! Ain't that the truth!

Kathleen said...

"And it doesn't change as they get older."

No! No! Please don't tell me this!

I really may have to join you in the pantry if my little men don't change just a little bit!

Brant, Tasha, Ryan and Matthew said...

That was SO funny and SO true. Although the boys are only 4 years old I can see it now! Coming from a family of only girls my boys GROSS me out, make me gag and usually stun me by the things that come out of their mouth. Thanks for pointing out this will NOT change.
Love reading your blog :)

christy said... in y chromo land here...i almost cried yesterday when it sunk in that they'll all (three of them) be teenagers at the same time...
i had to look up the pee pee teepee. what on earth??? i'm not sure if it's brilliant or the dumbest thing ever.

carol said...

I didn't attempt to only let Trent play with gender neutral toys. But I did have a rule about playing with guns. I didn't have a rule about toy rifles or shotguns, just pistols for shooting people. I just couldn't justify pretending to kill people. However, Trent made sure he had them. He knew what they were from being at friends' houses. (at that point he'd never seen them on TV). He ate his sandwhiches into the shape of guns and shot them, he made legos into guns that could actually shoot out legos. It may have been a loosing battle, but he's probably more creative because of it!

mamajil said...

this is very funny!!I've enjoyed your blog I will be back!!

I Love Baby Quilts! said...

Enjoyed your post very much! I love the name of your blog. When my brother was little my mom tried to give him girl toys and us boy toys. He took a toy rabbit she gave him and in one minute had it turned around, holding it by its feet and making machine gun noises with its ears as barrels.

Mostly Sunny said...

Oh goodness. My life around here was NEVER like that, and we had 4 teenagers at once like you. Only one of our kids regularly brought friends home... I guess we're too strict, or maybe just too boring. :)

Early Modern Mom said...

Oh my goodness, I am sitting at my desk weeping with laughter. Awesome.

Racheal said...

So funny I can totally relate as the mother of 3 boys 2,6,17 and 1 girl 19. They are just so different and it is so true about the straw and gum. Thanks for the chuckle. I too have hid in the pantry or what I like to call "organizing"

Carla said...

Love it! As a mother of 2 boys and 2 girls...we have definitely noted the difference...and embrace it :)

Kristi said...

LOL my husband and I were cracking up. We have one girl and 4 boys and there is certainly a difference!!