Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sugar & Spice is Not Always So Nice!

Allie has a cute little buddy from Kindergarten that I adore just as much as she does and I look forward to having him over for a playdate just as much as Allie does. Yes, I said a "him" - let's call him MM for the purposes of this post.

Allie and MM had an instant connection from the beginning of school and both expressed an interest in playdates with each other pretty early on in the school year. Allie and MM are both physical in that they love to run, jump, play, and swim (and if you ask them they prefer PE to art and music in school) - but they also love to sit and play games together.

When they play together, it never ceases to amaze me how they bring both of their "gender" roles into whatever they are playing. For example, yesterday they were building train tracks and setting up the station and people around it. MM was focused on designing the track and where the lights would go and the direction of the train. Allie was most concerned about who was riding the train, where they were going and what their names were. Putting the two together made for a killer train track with lots of people that created lots of possibilities to play with. They were both able to focus on what they wanted to - yet play together beautifully.

Then they decided to play a bowling game -while they were setting it up, Allie decided they could "pretend" they were at someone birthday party and MM said "yeah, and then all those people on the train are coming to the party and crash into the bowling game" - at first Allie was devastated over that concept - but then she discovered how much fun it was to aim the train to the bowling pins and knock them over. Never something she would have thought about on her own or would have come up with while playing with her girlfriends.

There are many more examples that occurred during the playdate that I could share with you - but what I realized more than anything was that it was a really easy playdate - just as enjoyable for me as for her.

As much as I love all of Allie's girlfriends (and I do!) - and as much fun as she has with them (she will tell you she has much more fun with girls then boys!), there is no arguing, refereeing, negotiating, redirecting, whining or crying during playdates with MM. What is it about girls that always bring such drama to the situation?

Maybe its because MM never wants to be the mom or the baby or the kitty cat - he is always happy being the Dad or Brother or the Mailman and Allie isn't interested in those roles. Maybe its because boys buttons can't get pushed the way girls can and maybe boys don't know how (or have no interest) in pushing the girls' buttons. Maybe there is less competition between boys and girls.

No, I think its something else. I think I have figured it out. . .get ready for this. . .I think its because girls talk and boys don't.

Girls relate and connect by using their words. Boys tend to be more physical. That is why often (I know this is stereotypical - so I apologize in advance. . .), but you hear parents say that a playdate of boys is lots of running around and chasing each other or playing with their figurines in a physical format and when girls get together, they might jump rope or do a cartwheel - but mostly they play house, school or do crafts - something a little more relaxed and usually conversing more.

And when there is less physical playing and more talking, there is more room for girls to be hurtful when they talk to each other. And in the same vain, girls get their feelings hurt quite a bit easier than boys do. So, perhaps the same exchange between Allie and MM would have a different result than if Allie had that same conversation with a girl.

For example:

Allie: I want to play bowling
MM: I really want to play air hockey
Allie: But at your house we played what you wanted to first, and we are at my house so now its my turn to choose first
MM: okay

Now - if there was a girl this is what I can see happening:

Allie: I want to play bowling
Girl: I really want to play air hockey
Allie: But at your house we played what you wanted to first, and we are at my house so now its my turn to choose first
Girl: Why do you always have to be the boss? (immediately starting with the name calling)
Girl: You always have to have it your way
Girl: So? We don't have to do everything the same.

Now, I'm not saying Allie is an angel here because I'm sure her comment back would be in the same tone and then chances are after a while they would resolve the problem themselves or more often then not you would hear the "Mooooooooooooooooom" whine which by the tone you would know immediately you were needed to solve a problem.

Where am I going with this? I don't really know - I don't have a profound message or lesson to be learned. I can only tell you that I wouldn't trade having a daughter for anything in the world as afternoons of lunch and pedicures are much more appealing to me than building a rocket, but whomever came up with the saying that girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice didn't really experience very many playdates with girls. . .

post signature


My Vision said...

Interesting theory that it's because boys dont talk and girls do! I think it's great Allie has a little boy buddy who she gets along well with.

Lis Garrett said...

Hmm . . . interesting concept. My son, in the middle of two girls, is often the antagonizer and is able to provoke the worst responses from his sisters. Perhaps it's because they are siblings that they do so much bickering. Like right now, Jacob and Bridget are each looking at a flower. Jacob is shredding the petals, while Bridget is very calmly examining it. Of course the more that Bridget screams for Jacob to stop ruining the flower, the more he tears it up.

Sigh . . .

For the most part, Hannah has always got along with her girl friends. Growing up, I had quite a few neighborhood boy friends and I always got along with them better. The relationship was just different - a lot less stress and judgements, I think.