Once upon a time when I was living in the land of boy–before my girl was even a twinkle in my eye–I heard the same story from a variety of places: Girls are easier than boys when they’re little and become more challenging when they’re teenagers, while boys are more challenging when they’re little and easier when they’re older.
Today I’m here to declare, from the very scientific position of my very own personal experience, that this is simply not true.
At first, it did seem that’s the way it was going. My boy was a borderline colicky, challenging newborn that nearly caused me to lose my sanity. My daughter was easy peasy and would chill for hours on her play mat while my husband and I smiled at each other, sighing breaths of relief that we were not dealt the same ill fate the second time around.
Things changed once they were toddlers.
My son was an awesome toddler, especially around the age of two, which is partly what helped us decide to go for another one. My daughter, however, has been a terror pretty much ever since she started walking and talking. And screaming. Holy heck, the screaming.
The fact that they are completely the opposite difficulty of what they are supposed to be at this age is not the only way in which they don’t follow gender stereotypes, Even so, there are definitely strong aspects of their personalities that do fall right where you’d expect along gender lines. Here are the things that stand out the most.
1. Clothes – My girl has been interested in clothes since she first was able to attempt to put them on. Now at age 2.5, she sometimes tries to change her outfit five times a day and is much more interested in dress up than my boy ever was.
Case in point: when my boy was around 3ish, he was having a play date with a little girl friend of his who suggested they play dress up in fancy clothes. His response? “But we’re already dressed!”
2. Interests – Now, my girl didn’t have any “girl toys” until her first birthday, so she happily played with everything that was her brother’s. However, from the first moment she saw a ballerina on The Wiggles, she was hooked on ballet. Likewise, the moment my son saw a video of a monster truck, he was obsessed.
3. Physical Abilities – Many people tend to think of boys’ gross motor skills developing more quickly than girls’, but this was not the case for my kids. My girl was walking, jumping and balance biking with much greater skill at much younger ages than my son, not to mention that she is more daring with physical pursuits such as climbing.
However, watching her try to throw a ball is comical and something my son nailed down much younger than she did.
I would say they are equally skilled in fine motor skills, perhaps with a slight edge to my son who I was always impressed with in this area, especially since boys are supposed to be lacking here.
4. Focus and Concentration – Surprisingly to many, I’d actually give my son greater marks on this than my daughter. It doesn’t happen with all types of activities, but Play Doh was the first thing that could keep his attention for quite some time even as a toddler. These days it’s Legos. Both of my kids’ attention spans for TV and movies developed at about the same pace, with both of them being ready for their first theater movie at close to 2.5.
When looking at their ability to sit still in a restaurant, the advantage is decidedly with my son. He had a rough few months with this around when he started walking, but other than that he’s been a rockstar at restaurants. That is until his antsy sister came into the picture and started ruining him.
5. Communication – This is the area where I’ve noticed the most distinct difference. I don’t remember when my daughter uttered her first words, but it was quite early. From there she quickly built her vocabulary, moving on to impressive-sounding things like knowing all her animal noises and counting.
While my son is now quite the conversationalist at five years old, he got off to a slow start, not speaking any words until he was about 15 months old and from there taking his time to say much else.
You’d think that my daughter’s stellar speaking abilities would lend themselves to excellent communication skills, being able to verbalize her needs and all. However, that seems to be a different skill set, as her favorite way to communicate with us is screaming. “Use your words” we’re supposed to encourage. Well, she is using her words, they just exit her mouth in a scream.
This being my completely unscientific observation of my own family, I really have not much of a clue whether these things are gender related or just my kids’ different personalities. It almost makes me want to have another one just to see how that one turns out…almost. 🙂
Does your boy or girl fit the mold?