Thursday, May 8, 2014

Boy Crazy?

I have to admit, this post is pure speculation on my part.  It's me thinking on the page more than me presenting any scientifically proven information.

However, as I've watched my daughters grow up--not that they are done with that yet; at least not DD2 who is still 'just' 16--I have noticed a few things.  Things about them, and things about their female friends, through the years.

My daughters have always had friends of both genders.  Even from a young age, they played just as well with little boys as with little girls.  Sometimes better with the boys, in fact.  I still remember one conversation with DD2's first grade teacher in which the teacher relayed to me a playground disagreement between DD2 and one of her female classmates.  The teacher summed it up by saying "Well, J wanted to be the queen bee, and DD2 just wasn't going along with any of that, and that's when noses got bent out of shape."

Other mothers, however, have told me that their daughters didn't want anything to do with boys until suddenly, they got boy crazy.  And then what they wanted from boys wasn't what the moms wanted them to do.

My girls were never like that.  Boy crazy.  I don't know if it stems from growing up with two older brothers whom they viewed as somewhat dorky but equals, or if it is because both of my girls are tomboys, or if it is because I never raised them to be girly-girls who need a man to give them self-worth.  If I needed something done, and their father wasn't home to help, I learned to do it myself.  Dad away on a business trip in the summer and kids want grilled hamburgers for dinner?  Well, Mom is gonna fire up the grill and give it her best shot. Flat tire on the minivan?  Hey kids, somebody get Mom the jack and the four-way, I got a tire to change.  Doesn't have to be a 'women can't do that' kind of thing.  Around here the only thing that men can do that women can't is pee standing up; and don't think I haven't attempted it at some point in time (best I have come up with, short of disrobing, is a squat in the woods).  Amusing side note on that subject:  DD1 was shocked to find out, at age 17, just how many of her female peers had never peed outdoors before.  Even more shocked to find out that there are boys/men who have never done this either!

Maybe I don't actually have anything to do with my daughters' lack of boy craziness.  Maybe it is really because they have a father who has always been involved in their lives.  He isn't around 24/7 because of the intermittent traveling his job has required, but he is there for them.  And he has done many things with them while they were growing up, including taking them along for things that are stereotypically 'manly': to major league baseball games, to college football games, on rustic camping trips, on canoe and kayaking trips that are mostly his buddies and their sons and not so much wives and daughters (hmmm, now that I think about it, for a long time, we had the only daughters).

Then again, maybe I did have something to do with that.  You see, before we even had any daughters, when I was pregnant for DD1 and really praying for a daughter instead of a third son, DH admitted to me he wasn't sure he wanted to have girls.  He said he didn't know how to raise a daughter.

I told him, matter of factly, "Just like we are raising our sons.  Girls, boys, it doesn't matter.  I want them all to be capable, responsible, and have good manners."

So, when we made a campfire, the girls were shown how to build and light it, just like the boys.  And they got just as many opportunities as the boys to do so.

When they got old enough to be curious about hunting, the girls got to go sit with DH (or me), just like the boys did.  And they took hunter safety, just like the boys did.

If DH was working on a car repair, or a house repair and needed a hand, the girls got drafted just as many times as the boys did.  We have a picture from when we were building the house at this little place here; it is of 5 year old DD2 with a hammer in her hand.

Likewise, the boys were expected to help out with household tasks, like laundry, cooking, vacuuming, etc.  There were only jobs that needed to be done, not "male" jobs and "female" jobs.  And if there is a job to be done, by golly you better be hopping to it!

My girls are also innately talented in the areas of science and math.  In school, they often had classes in those two subjects with higher male than female student counts.  Group work meant collaborating and communicating with boys in order to maintain their good grades. And some of the teachers have admitted to me they often assigned my girls to the same group as some of the slacker boys, in an attempt to get those boys to toe the line and do the assignment.

It has been kind of funny to note, now in retrospect, that while DH and I made a rule, a long, long time ago that none of our children could date (as in without a parental chaperone, to a non-school event, as a pair rather than part of a large group) until age 16, once our daughters turned 16, they weren't all that interested in dating.  They had many male friends, but they saw them as that:  friends, versus subjects of love interest.  In fact, my girls have often said "Well, I like to hang out with him, but he's really dorky and kind of stupid.  I'm not in love with him," when questioned about this male friend or that one that they went to the school dance with, or studied via text with, or went to see the latest superhero film with.

Whatever the reason my daughters have made it thus far in life (two years of college for one, and three years of high school for the younger) without becoming boy crazy, I am glad.  I've seen their boy crazy peers.  I've heard tales of woe from the mothers of the boy crazy ones.  The stories usually aren't pretty.  I'll take my "boys-are-dorky-sometimes-annoying-beings-that-we-put-up-with" daughters over the "she-idolizes-every-boy-in-sight-and-can't-concentrate-on-anything-else" kind of girl any day.  Besides, having daughters who aren't afraid to toss hay bales, or change the oil on the car, or throw something raw and bloody on the grill, or even teach their male friends how to drive a stick shift are much more fun and useful than having the helpless kind of girl who only wants to look good and attract boys.

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