Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Butterfly Castles and Stick Swords

I really had no idea, until I had my own children and could see it with my own eyes, how much girlyness is born with a girl and how much boyishness is born with a boy. It is not just that girls are taught to play with toys like Barbies and Princesses. And it is not just that boys are taught Barbies are lame and stick swords are cool.

Naomi makes everything her baby. If she doesn't have a doll, stuffed animal, or other toy to make her baby - she'll make one up. Right now she is up in her room pretending that the castle I painted on her wall is filled with butterflies who are all her friends. They are having a tea party today I believe. But one of the butterflies "doesn't like tea, so she just has water". We often have a pack of pretend puppies with us when we leave the house. They all have to be strapped in to pretend seat belts in the car and we sometimes have to stop and wait for one of them to catch up when we are walking. Each one has a name and she knows them all.

Asher makes everything a truck or dinosaur. A plate, a graham cracker, his fist - it all vrooms by. I get a constant commentary of what vehicles are near us as we drive. "Truck! Truck!" then "Bus! Bus!" then "Uder truck! Uder truck" (Other Truck). He pushes them, he crashes them, the lines them up. He always has one in his fist when we go to get in the car.

Isaiah is already showing signs of following in his brother's footsteps. He loves to push the cars too. And yes, that's a serious problem sometimes since most of the cars are technically Asher's.

Today we were at the park with a bunch of friends from church. I was so excited when Naomi's friend Austin showed up because she just loves him. They've been best buds since we moved here. But within a minute of his arrival I saw Naomi off by herself. I pointed out to her where Austin was because sometimes she just looses track of her friends, but she said she didn't want to play with him because he was playing a different game. Sure enough, he had a stick sword and was playing with another boy. Star Wars. Naomi went and found a girl friend to play school with.

God definitely made boys and girls different from the start. That is not to say that a girl can't play with a stick sword or a boy with a doll, but those differences are there. And they're there for a reason. I also recently heard that men use 2 parts of their brain on a regular basis while women use like 12. As I thought about that I realized that was all part of God's plan. Men are supposed to be really good at one thing - their jobs. Women are supposed to be really good at everything else. So we may be good at different things - but we definitely compliment each other. At least that's my take on things.


Jessica said...

If I could teach behavior, I would teach Sterling to play like a girl (not in a bad way). Nice and quiet and lots of pretending. I guess I'm stuck with the wild crashing of horses/cars/other loud things.

Rebecca said...

Very clever post. I'm noticing that my son is very attracted to anything electronic (my phone, computer, anything that looks expensive)....but maybe that's just because it has lights....

But I disagree that men only need 2 parts brain to go to work. I don't envy them at all; it's hard work being a full-time employee and having the weight of financially supporting the family on their shoulders! I think they still have to deal with 12 things at a time at work every day. Just a different 12 things.

Nancy Sabina said...

I don't mean to dis on the men at all by saying they only need 2 parts of their brain. I just mean I think they are better at being specialized. Really, really, really good at one main thing. As a matter of fact, I admire them for that. It is amazing what my husband can do because he has such a strong grasp on the concepts behind what he does. He's not just a mindless worker - he is a seriously specialized employee.
I feel like I've never been really, really, really, good at anything because I've never worked hard enough. Men are good at that.

And yes, I know I'm making some seriously sweeping generalizations here.

Kelly said...

I think the specialists in the world, either male or female are the exception not the rule. Most people are not really, really, really good at one thing. I think the idea that men are just good at "working" is a label that society has placed on them, not necessarily something from Heavenly Father. Spiritual gifts and talents are many and the tasks that Heavenly Father asks of men in families and as priesthood holders are often outside of the "working" realm.
And the statement that women are good at everything else, well, if that's how it's suppose to be, shoot me now!

Kevin said...

I'm excited to weigh in on this because I feel I have some cool insight.

After taking an extensive aptitude test it was explained to me that you have "generalists" and "specialists." Now, the first thing to understand is that neither one is better than the other.

A generalist is one who likes to get the job done right, do it quickly, and not overthink the process. Tell 'em how to do it, they'll get started and do their best.

A specialist wants to make sure the job gets done in the "perfect" way. That includes every little detail imaginable. She/he will come up with several methods of getting the job done and evaluate. Which one is fastest, which one is easiest? Can I come up with one that is equally fast and easy, and therefore most efficient?

Now, if the job only needs to get done once, the generalist wins. They got started as soon as possible and finished while the specialist was still planning how to do it. But the specialist comes in handy when a job is going to be done repeatedly. He/she will lose in the short run, but come out ahead in the long run.

Here's a perfect example. My wife just read this(admittedly) long explanation and said, "Why don't you just say a specialist is the one who gets a PHD in his/her field and wants to know every last detail possible. The generalist likes to learn about lots of topics and tends not to dive quite as deep into them." (Guess which one of us is the specialist, and which one is the generalist)

So, the point is, Nancy you are a generalist. You like to be good at lots of things. You try not to overthink things. Your husband(and his brothers) can tend to overthink things, but that's because they hate to think, "Oh, shoot, it would have been better if..." But, again, neither one of these is better than the other. And it's not gender specific. There are many females who are the best at what they do - singers, gymnasts, etc. And there are plenty of men who are good at "everything else"!

Kelly said...

FYI, Kevin's testing results showed that he's neither a specialist or a generalist, he's somewhere in between.
I would say he's good at many things besides "working" much more so than I am.

angela michelle said...

As a proud feminist, I have to admit I see lots of innate differences between boys and girls.

And I do agree that one challenge of being a housewife is that you have to manage a million issues and details on top of each other. At work you can close the door, make a list, and follow it much more than you can when 5 kids are needing things at the same time. But that, I think, is a learned skill.

When Mark and I were in graduate school and he spent a lot of time home with the kids, he learned some good skills--which he has now totally lost. And I know I've lost some of my office edge as well.

Farmer Joe said...

Angela - though I work from home an dtechnically dont really have an office door to close to my co-workers, I only wish I could shut them out. I have to be available to hundreds of peers, customers, empployees, and subcontractors 24/7 not just to mention during business hours. Company policy is to respond within like 30 minutes or something. I find that it works best to work at night - that way there are no distractions and I actually can just focus on a task.

Not to pick a fight with you, but just wanted to let you know that the "real world" may not be just as peachy as you thought (and yes, I do realize I have somewhat of a unique job)