Friday, July 3, 2009

Boys and Girls

Nearly overnight I've watched my oldest, Isaac, turn from baby/toddler into little boy. He always says things like, "When I get big I'll get married..." or "When I'm 29 I'll..." which is the age of his Daddy and currently everything associated with getting big will occur when he's 29. There have been so many things going on lately that have pointed out the obvious but where I've really seen it is in how he's relating to other children. Here's an example.

He has a little friend named Perle who lives next door and she is a year older than him. Her elusive older brother comes by to play at times and when he does Isaac stares at him in boyish wonder and delight. Any chance he gets to play with him is simply amazing and he talks about it for hours afterward. But most afternoons, when he's not running errands with his Dad, he's outside playing with Perle. They have the most imaginative play (initiated mostly by Perle) and they've caught numerous frogs, played for hours with cars in the mud and when Lucan, the older brother, shows up, there are some water gun fights. The reason I've gotten a kick out of watching them is that Isaac's budding social skills, or lack thereof, have seriously cracked me up.

I'm telling you, little boys are really just little men. Even Isaac knows this. He told his Daddy this the other night by the way, when Steve was on his way out to a church meeting..."But can't I go too Daddy? I'm a man!". Surely he thinks he is since he can carry a gun now. Nevermind it's a nerf gun. But anyway, back to the story. Nearly every afternoon Isaac stands at the gate and watches for Perle. He doesn't go over to her house, even though I urge him to do so to see if she's home. Nope...he just watches. And then after awhile he starts calling out her name almost in chant..."Perle. Perle." The chant then gets progressively louder. "Perle! Perle!" As if she can hear him from inside. At this point I usually tell him to just go see if she's home. But time slips by and he's still waiting. Some afternoons he doesn't get to play with her because he just can't get the courage up to go and ask if she's around. As much as I want to help him, I've decided to let him figure it out and not do it for him.

Watching him has given me time to ponder. Does this boy/girl dance ever end? I don't think so. I believe it starts now and keeps on going right into matrimony (not necessarily Isaac and Perle...but boys and girls in general). How adorable is it when a man is so awestruck by a woman that all he can do is just wait to get a little glimpse of her. I'm not saying Isaac's in love with Perle, he's too young for that, it's just that he knows she's different from him. He knows she's a girl and it intrigues him even at his little age of nearly four. Any expert who truly believes that boys and girls are conditioned by their parents to be certain ways are just plain crazy. They must not have children of their own because if they did, they'd see the obvious right in front of them. Plain and simple, boys and girls are different and they know it themselves all the way down to their toes. It's just innate.

I seem to recall one instance last autumn where Perle was frolicking around like a princess picking beautiful fall leaves. She bunched them quite nicely and even though they were dead, they shone radiantly orange and yellow. She laid them skillfully on my porch with a sigh and went on her way. Isaac tried to present me with some leaves and I must say, his effort was good but the leaves he found were simply dead. No sprightly beauty. They were deader than a doornail all shriveled and torn. I laughed aloud when he handed them to me and I kissed him hard upon his cheek. But what is he to know? He's a boy. To him they were the most beautiful leaves he'd ever seen. You see my point. Boys and girls are quite different.

Caleb still hasn't reached this point yet where he's starting to notice that boys are different than girls. To him Perle is really "Girl" both the noun and pronoun. He doesn't even have her name right yet. Isaac constantly corrects him like a good, honest, older brother should. Even though it's painful to watch my children figure out the world sometimes amidst the owies and various hurt feelings, the sweetness of watching Isaac learn to relate to others, especially little girls (he doesn't have any sisters) has been totally priceless for me. I'm just glad that they've been in my front yard and that I've been able to eavesdrop a bit. I'm sure later, when Isaac's older, I won't get the chance to do so. And at that age, Mom eavesdropping simply will be horrible. But for now, it's all music to my ears.


  1. From the other house that's all boys: if you ask Leif and Ryle the difference between boys and girls they say, "Girls are beautiful."

  2. What a fantastic boy mom you are :) Yay for boys!!