As I watched my boys play, I felt like an observer watching an alien society.
Please, do not try to tell me that little boys are just socially conditioned to behave in a different way than little girls. I loudly declare that, even as babies, little boys are intrinsically different from little girls and I celebrate that difference with joy.
Since I grew up with only one sister, my boys constantly surprised me. It was like I was an observer watching an alien society. As toddlers, my three sons would stare at wheels turning as they ran toy cars back and forth again and again, totally engaged in this repetitious action. It was an inborn obsession that developed into any machine that had wheels. Tricycles, bicycles, waggons, lawn tractors, cars and trucks were not only driven but also examined in minute detail. The boys turned bikes upside down to check wheels, fill tires and fiddle with the gears. Even more hours went by with my sons’ heads stuck under the hood of a car. My boys also seemed born with the ability to drive anything with an engine. While the girls struggled to learn how to drive cars (just ask their frustrated father), the boys learned effortlessly.
I did try to draw out the ‘feminine’ side of my boys. For example, one day Matthew was about four or five and he asked for his sister’s water proof doll. I was so pleased. I thought,
“Yes! I have raised a son with nurturing instincts!”
When I came back into the bathroom a few minutes later, the head was off the doll and he was holding the rubber tubing connecting the doll’s mouth to its bottom. Matthew was making loud machine noises as he lowered the head into the water , filled it, slowly lifted his self-made swinging bucket and then swung the head around like a crane, pouring water into a plastic pail. Matthew’s action startled me. I started to laugh at my son, my efforts to change him and this whole nature versus nurture controversy.
Of course, I tried to curb aggressive instincts in my three boys and I definitely didn’t want my first-born to have a toy gun.
What did this little boy do?
He found sticks with stumps to use as the triggers and later made guns out of Lego. I just threw my hands up in defeat after that.
I am proud to report that all three of my sons are not macho types but rather they are young men who have a heart for people, particularly babies. In fact they are just as crazy about babies as my six daughters yet they relate to infants in a distinctively masculine way. David, the first father of the group, tosses his baby up high up in the air. As Eva shrieks with delight, her socially conditioned? mum wrings her hands anxiously as she watches nearby. This scene is natural and normal in all cultures, throughout history and I celebrate this symbol of the glorious difference between men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers.
Vive la différence