Boys and girls, girls and boys

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 11:15 AM


Yesterday was my son's ninth birthday, and even though I haven't been blogging as frequently, I should really probably pop over here and say a little something about that.

He definitely deserves it.  He's a great kid.

But today, I'll write something about him, and something about my daughters, and something about my life.

Just a little something.

When Devlin was 3, I think, I discovered this amazing toy: the best kind, that keeps a child busy for long periods but isn't too loud, that is fun but really educational, that doesn't need batteries replaced or have tiny pieces to get lost, that won't be left behind the next time a new movie is released with a more compelling hero or villain.

They were his gears, and he adored them.  He played with them for years: the years he went to preschool wearing a red cape every single day, the years I spent nursing his sisters when they were little and he had to entertain himself.  He loved the way they fit together, experimenting with how to build ever taller and more elaborate structures, and I could see the gears turn in his mind too.

That child has a lot of gears in his mind.

Eventually Devlin moved on, and Eve got to be the age when the gears had first captivated him.  I tried to bring them out so she too could experience the wonder of understanding how two pieces fit together and act on each other - the marvels of the physical world - but she would have none of it.  She spent (and continues to spend) her early years constructing rich, verdant, incredibly detailed universes in her mind, and then bringing them to life with blocks, playsilks, ponies, barbies, lego minifigures, and stuffed animals.  

I can always tell at the end of the day when Eve has been playing in my room, because my deep soaking tub houses a complex diorama of animal, vegetable, and mineral at whose true meaning I can only guess.

But even though her splendid imagination meant she did not enjoy playing with the gears, she has nonetheless learned to do arithmetic very well, and Devlin is teaching her all about the periodic table.  Her mathematical and scientific education is proceeding right along, in spite of her strong inclination toward Disney figurines.

Today, days before her fourth birthday, Iris got out the gears.

I don't think any of my children are especially like one another, so I don't often have these moments, but when I saw her bent over the gears, practically drooling with concentration - even wearing a cape - I felt a flash of nostalgia and warmth for the days when her brother, 5 years older almost to the day, looked just like this.

(Except for the curls.)

My heart swelled as I patted myself on the back for providing opportunities for my girls to learn about math and science, and my boy to learn about cooking, sewing, and dolly care and keeping.

"See?" I thought.  "Eve wanted to play with dolls and figurines because that is her personality" (and I treasure her individuality very dearly, believe me).  

"Iris is not her sister.  She's another girl, but she is her own person and I need to remember to offer her all the choices we have available.  There's no earthly reason why a girl child shouldn't be absolutely infatuated with these gears!"

*   *   *   *   *

There's just one tiny difference.

Iris just called me in to have a look at her gear creation.

"Mom, come see all my flower decorations!"

*   *   *   *   *

The lessons continue.  For my children, and especially for me.

Comments (1)

Love this! Your such an awesome writer, I love reading your posts