The Pink & The Blue

Yesterday at lunch, a friend was shopping for a birthday card for her son who’s going to be 12. The selection she handed me to choose from were all of the jokey/insulting variety. That made me sad.

My daughter would be heartbroken if I gave her a birthday card like that – not that I don’t joke around and insult her once in a while, but she sure wouldn’t like it as her special birthday message.

So, I tried to find a nice, sweet, loving birthday card suitable for a 12-year-old boy, but there weren’t any. And my friend couldn’t imagine giving him one if there were. And he’d be grossed out or something apparently, if he were to receive a “mushy” card.

Do we really treat our sons and daughters so differently still, I thought to myself. Of course when I was growing up there was one very clear set of expectations for the boys and another for the girls. But in 2008?

I think maybe yes. As a single parent, I don’t know how many people said to me, “it’s a good thing you had a girl!” Because, I guess it would have been impossible for me to raise a boy on my own without turning him gay or something (And, yes, more than one person actually said that to me).

Are we still raising boys and girls so differently?

  • People call their daughters, “sweetie” or “honey” or “pumpkin” or any number of variations thereof. They call their sons by their names or they call them “bud” or “buddy”. Or how about: “sport”?  (I heard a guy call his son that the other day. It made me smile and feel like I was in the 1950s)
  • There’s a lot more cuddling, hugging, kissing and stuff of girl children by both parents. Boys get a pat on the back or their hair mussed up.
  • There are still some pretty huge differences between toys/clothes/cards/school supplies for boys and  for girls. Vibrant pink assaults you in the girls’ aisles. Camouflage is the colour du jour in the boys’ aisles.
  • Schools and summer day camps, especially, are a good place to observe the great divide. Arts, dance, theatre are predominantly attended by girls while sports, science, technology are mostly populated by boys – unless there is a specific “girls’ science camp” or something. (To emphasize the point the other hand, I’ve never seen a specific “boys’ dance camp”.  My daughter attended an arts leadership camp for a month this summer. There were 3 boys in a class of 32.
  • Boys are released into the wild a lot sooner than girls. They get to roam around freely while girls are kept on a much tighter rein. From the playground where the boys are left to perform feats of derring-do high atop the play structures and the girls are hovered over in the sandpile by anxious parents; to the teen years where almost all my daughter’s female friends are driven around by their parents, are checked up on regularly and are expected to be home at a certain time. The male friends all just seem to be able to come and go on their own; whenever and wherever they wish.

Am I imagining things or do you notice these differences, too? Of course there are exceptions and probably you’re all going to tell me I’m nuts and you treat your sons and daughters exactly the same. I suspect, however, you really don’t and probably can’t.  Are boys and girls maybe so different naturally that we, as parents end up treating them differently because, in part, we are reacting to their cues?

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36 responses to “The Pink & The Blue

  1. I’d love to wade in with an biased opinion, but I have no kids of either sex.
    Let me just say that the pink and blue thing drives me insane. I was never a girly-girl and would probably scowl and privately throw a tantrum if given some of the girl’s toys that are out there still.

  2. You’re not imagining things, but of course there are exceptions to the norm. Regarding playgrounds, you’re spot-on with my kids, but I think it’s more of a nature, not nurture. I push and shove and cajole my daughter to try the equipment (I get on myself and try to drag her with me) but she’s very timid; my son on the other hand, is all over it and is hauling me up to the heights. She’s 5 and he’s 3. I generally call her “sweetheart” and him “cutiepie” or “baby,” but that has a lot to do with their personalities.

    In terms of cues, today my son is dressed head-to-toe in black and white gingham, unmatched top and pants, because they look like daddy-clothes (my DH bought himself some chef-pants). I need to take a photo!

  3. Proudly bringing up “soft boys” and a daredevil girl (who loves her girlie girlie stuff too)

    I hate the toy store divisions so much I became a toymaker.

  4. i cant speak for boys cause i dont have one.

    speedy is a bit boyish. she doesnt really climb but that is because of her disability, i know that if she could, she definitely would. she likes to get dirty and pick snails out of the pond. she plays with worms and loves fishing. but at the same time she loves pink and gets excited to wear dresses.

  5. No Kids (that I know of) so I can’t comment… Personally though, and again maybe my comments should be discounted because, again… kidless… but I personally find the level of safety meted out to kids in general – male and female – is way beyond reason. And I’m sure many would agree with me…

    I won’t disagree that there are a few more dangers in the world, but come on. We grew up WITHOUT seatbelts til we were in our teens. Deep fried was a food group and bumps, bruises, cuts, scrapes, burns, the odd broken bone were all par for the course, made your stronger, helped you learn life lessons. And we were spanked when we were bad and unruly, in the home or out in public. We were to BEHAVE ourselves or pay the consequences. And when we were grounded we didn’t have colour satellite TV, video games, cell phones or the internet to help us through the unjust incarceration.

    What I see today for the most part are rather disrespectful, unruly, ignorant teens and the age keeps dropping… I don’t have kids but I can tell you if I did they’d be treated and raised the same way I was, boy or girl. People need to let their kids make mistakes, take chances, but more importantly be accountable for those that they make.

    – – –

    As for the cards, I actually prefer to send and receive the humorous if not slightly insulting cards. My Grandmother on my Mother’s side ONLY sent these types of cards and that’s what I sent her as well. We both knew how much we were loved by the other, the cards were a chance to have a little laugh, share a joyous moment even if 1000 kms away. And I can tell you this, they were selected with more care and attention than any sentimental ones. I received my last of these types of cards only 2 days before she passed, and it’s in a frame on my computer desk at home.

  6. I’d like to think that Claire really is growing up to be a Renaissance Woman. She naturally gravitates toward the pink and sparkly when it comes to outfits and dress up, but she also loves to rough-and-tumble on the playground.

    She loves dolls and cars and creepy crawlies and princess things.

    I will say this, though. In my experience (and there are always exceptions), the boys and girls play so differently…all on their own. Claire is very gentle when she plays. She talks to her toys and creates voices for them and they have relationships and become part of an intricate theatrical production. Her boy-friends or nephews pretend to blow them up, or crash them together, or knock them down.

    Stereotypical? Yes. Oddly true-to-life? Yes.

    Personally, I think it would be harder to bring up a boy in this society, but that’s just me. Claire can be whatever she wants when she grows up, but a boy would have to deal with all kinds of backlash.

    All of this reminds me of what my friend told me. He and his wife found out that their first pregnancy was going to result in twins. “Oh, I hope they’re boys!!” he shouted.

    “Why? Aren’t little girls awesome?” I asked.

    “Well, of course they are, but here’s the deal. If you have a boy, you only have to worry about one penis. If you have a girl, you have to worry about all of them.”

    😉

  7. Well I don’t have kids so what do I know….

    However, I do think that even though boys and girls are inherently different, the double standard is alive and well and thriving in 2008…

    Unfortunately.

  8. Violetsky – People are still very much into the pink and blue stuff. And there’s still a big line down the middle of the girls toys and boys toys. I gave each of my nephews baby dolls when they were very young. One brother tossed them right in the garbage and said no son of his was going to play with dolls. One brother reluctantly let his boys keep them. One of the boys wasn’t interested, but the other on still loves his baby as his favorite toy (but secretly). He’s 9!

    Nylonthread – Oh ya, let’s see them with their matching outfits! I was really amazed as mine was growing up at how boys and girls start to divide themselves by gender around 3 years of age. Before that they all played the same sort of stuff together, then at 3 they suddenly diverged into guns & fighting on one side and barbies and dollies on the other — with no prompting from parents. Weird.

    Anonymous – Why are you posting anonymously? I’m sure lots of us would like to take a look at your toys. Do you sell them? Feel free to shill here.

    Misster Kitty – You live in the world with the rest of us, young and old, so of course your opinion matters. And you’re very right that our kids are coddled too much — not so much the seat belt type stuff, because a lot of kids were killed and injured in car accidents back then – but emotionally. They have no sense of personal responsibilty, there are rarely meaningful consequences for their actions, and everything has to be FAIR, or else.

    CP – I think boys are harder when they’re little. It seems to take so much energy to keep up with them and they seem more disobedient and eager to be independent and they’re so damn loud. Girls are sweet when they’re young (generally). Then come the teen years when boys get really quiet and just kind of slip in and out unnoticed and girls become INSANE!!! Yes, those sweet little darlings that were cuddling their Pollys a few years ago, are suddenly screeching at you for no apparant reason. Something to look forward to.

    Jazz – Like Kitty & Violetsky, sometimes the ones without kids can see things a lot more clearly. The breeders are obviously going to be biased in favour of their offspring. And, I agree, as much as children divide themselves up by gender to a certain degree, there is also a lot still going on in society that relegates each to their place. Kids absorb like little sponges. They identify with the male and female characters they see on TV, on the street, in their own homes and mold themselves according to which one appeals more.

  9. i think it can happen with same sex siblings as well. grace is so different from her sister edie, much more rough and tumble and tomboy-ish. I suspect I get a little mushier with Edie than Grace, but only because Grace simply doesn’t tolerate mush (unless it’s 3:00 in the morning after another bad nightmare!)

    i love CP’s final quote.

  10. Just girls here too. Boys are something of a mystery to me, I must admit. I have no brothers, and lived with just my mom and sister for much of my growing up.

    My girls seem to be a nice mix of tomboy and girly-girl. Rae loves her dresses and pink, but is also queen of the mud pies and worm catcher extraodinaire. Leah also likes the creepy crawlies, but at her age (almost 9) is into the imaginary horse games. If you have girls that age, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

    Rae is much more rough and tumble, Leah is quieter and likes to read. I’m more physically affectionate to Rae, probably because she’s younger, and since we butt heads quite often, there’s the making-up cuddles that go on. Leah and I talk more, but again that’s probably an age thing. They both know I love them more than anything or anybody on Earth.

    The hardest thing to do is to deal with their expectations of fairness. Sometimes things aren’t fair, and they have a hard time accepting this.

  11. My 4-year-old granddaughter is a girly tomboy. She will wear her dresses with her sparkley shoes — to go off-road Jeeping with her daddy. I think some of that is nature but some of it is definitely nurture. Her parents try to get her involved in everything she shows interest in, whether it’s girly or not and I think it sends a good message to her.

    It’s going to be interesting to watch as she gets older because daddy will totally be keeping her on a tight leash and her mom will be allowing her a little more freedom.

  12. I loved CP’s comment! She’s right on about how girls and boys play differently. My son is all about people fighting and dying. My daughter (the older one — the younger one is really just about emptying cabinets) likes to play interactively, like, “You be this sheep, and I’ll be the sheep’s mommy.”

    Our older daughter idolizes her brother and as a result, plays almost exclusively with trucks, cars, trains, and the like. She also prefers to wear his hand-me-downs, and refuses most things that are pink or sparkly or dresses, because they are “girl clothes.” Sometimes I actually worry about her — she always wants to be on the boys’ team and says that boys are better than girls. I need to work on her positive girly image!

    Having a girl who likes boyish things is hard when it comes to toys and clothes. All the girls’ clothes are SO over-the-top girly — pink and frilly and sparkly. All the toys are pink and doll-centred. On the other hand, my son’s favourite colour is pink, and he always wanted pink stuff and asked to wear pink until we finally had to explain that he had no pink clothes because most people consider pink to be a “girl” colour. Just try finding something with Dora on it that isn’t pink or purple or covered in flowers — it’s hard!

    There is definitely some nature involved — my son likes trucks and our daughter asked for dolls before we ever had any, and that seems inborn somehow. But the clothing/toy industry is very boy/girl centric for sure. I wonder if they are just trying to emphasize gender identity. My son is definitely at an age where he thinks girls are yucky (except his sisters) and boys rule, apparently quite normal. Maybe the boy clothes and toys are just helping him feel part of the boys’ club, and vice versa.

  13. Honey – my ex’s family all called their sons honey, and trust me they are all manly hunting dudes.

    Kissing, hugs, etc – the Lion always hugs and kisses the little Lion, and I see a lot of dads drop their sons off at school and hug and kiss them

    Into the wild – trust me, if someone attempted to bother one of my girls they would be in much deeper trouble than if they bothered my son. Heck, he threatens people with his sisters!

    I found that my son set the boundaries. I am not allowed to say I love you to him, which I do to the girls all the time. I must say Peace Out. And he pulls back when I go to hug him, although I insist on hugging him.

    And I do give him mushy cards. Although he makes a face, I’m sure he appreciates it deep down.

  14. Lebowski – Ah well, thanks for coming out anyway.

    Meanie – Maybe one female has to take on the male child role in the family — up to a point? I’ve always noticed that the second child tries to be as unlike the first as possible

    Alison – Fairness as it what one has the other must have? I think it’s a much better lesson if each child is treated like an inidividual on their own merits rather than just spreading everything out equally.

    Mo – That’s what daddies and mommies are for — a nice balance. It’s hard when you have to be both, though.

    Lynn – The whole gender identity exploration kids go through is so interesting to watch. Until the age of seven my daughter only wanted to wear sparkles and ruffles and pink dresses. Then suddenly I couldn’t get her into a dress anymore — that phase lasted quite a while. I think she’s just now coming out of it.

    UP – Peace OUt – ha ha ha. That’s the thing…I’m sure boys crave/need/want the mushy stuff as much as the girls do, but are somehow conditioned to reject that sort of stuff for fear of looking girly. European men/boys (and French Canadian) are more comfortable with affection and mushiness I’ve found so that could explain the Lion’s unusually demonstrative tribe. Hope you’re feeling better, by the way.

  15. Childless poster here too. But I have a female cat does that count? 🙂

    I was raised surrounded by males and it infuriated me to be put in a separate place (well, not so much having my own room but my brothers teased me to no end making me totally afraid of the dark, maybe I should post on that lol), doing different duties and not being able to go out later “because I am a girl”. Argh!!!

    Now, I’m a girly girl but for a while as a teenager, I was as tom boyish as I could master it. Because I wanted to be part of the group.

    Boys and girls have fundamental differences. But it doesn’t mean that a boy in touch with his emotions is gay or if a girl likes to play hard sports is a lesbian! I really wish society, toy manufacturers, media, magazines would stop making them into what they’re not.

    As for cards, I’ve always bought cards based on what THEY, the recipient, would love. If a friend I know LOVE bathroom humour and would laugh and laugh at it, then I buy him one. I would never impose my own personal taste on a gift or a card to someone. But then that’s just me lol

  16. I would have liked to have had one of each, but I only had a boy. I was a feminist and a single parent, so I think he got raised in as non-sexist an environment as I could provide. Of course we all have our unconscious biases, despite our good intentions. And we also have our biology.

    He turned out just fine. He’s quite comfortably himself, with an interesting mix of qualities. He’s one of the least sexist men I know, and he doesn’t have to work at it or fake it.

    I gave him funny birthday cards. As for nicknames, I called him Bud and I called him Munch and I called him James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupuis.

  17. “…preferences for objects such as toys may indicate a biological preparedness for a “masculine” or “feminine” gender role-one that develops more fully as early perceptual preferences are coupled with object experiences imposed by contemporary gender socialization.”

    “The evolution and neurobiology of mammalian visual processing–and recent findings on sex-dimorphic toy preferences in nonhuman primates–suggest further that an innate bias for processing object movement or color/form may contribute to behaviors with differential adaptive significance for males and females. In this way, preferences for objects such as toys may indicate a biological preparedness for a “masculine” or “feminine” gender role-one…”

    “Preferences for toys typically preferred by boys are also increased in androgenized girls. Increased preferences for “masculine” toys may indicate an atypical gender socialization of androgenized girls. They also suggest that biological factors (i.e., prenatal levels of androgens) may influence sex-dimorphic toy preferences.”

    ‘An evolutionary perspective of sex-typed toy preferences: pink, blue, and the brain.’
    -Yale Child Study Center, published: 2003 Archives of Sexual Behavior, (US) National Library of Medicine
    .

    Most studies have found the toy preferences of girls and boys are determined before we are three years old.

    “…when 18-month-old boys and girls were shown pictures of a doll and a vehicle, for example, most of the girls opted for the doll, while the majority of the boys chose the vehicle. And while 18 months is old enough to have been influenced by stereotyped gifts, research suggests that many of the differences we see are evident from birth, and may even be hardwired.”

    — Parenting.com; August 20, 2008
    .

    Basically dolls, in the hands of boys, become action figures and going the other way action figures turn into dolls… it’s evolution baby.

  18. UA – Do you think male and female cats are different? Mine is such a boy or maybe I just impose boy qualities on him because I know he’s a boy? Could you see yours as either gender? I totally agree with you about the fundamental differences. If we had a girl child and raised her as a boy, she’d still exhibit girl qualities and preferences, i think.

    Zoom – welcome back!! I’ve never met your son, but from what I’ve heard he sounds like a fine young man. I can’t imagine you raising anything less, though. That’s an interesting nickname. You must tell me all about it some time. I always tell my daughter that she was given up at birth by Iola Fischbein and I was kind enough to adopt her. Sometimes I send her birthday or Valentine cards signed, Iola Fischbein

    Gabriel – Well, I guess you cleared that up once and for all. From my own experience I can tell you that’s pretty much bang on correct. Thanks for the info/link — I’m going to look into this further.

    Jobthingy – Thanks — will do!!

  19. You should come down to the belt to look for cards. All there is, is mush. If it’s not mush it’s religious!

    For the most part there is definitely different wiring. But we can work on stopping some of these gender issues. For example do you know if a toddler is introduced to the flute by both male and female they would not think of it as a girlie instrument.

    As for our son. I make sure he gets a little bit of everything. He’s an avid skateboarder who also takes gymnastics, loves hugging and kissing (both of us!) and right now I am looking into tap.

  20. I don’t know if it’s just me or my generation, but I can honestly say that I’m not really ‘into cards’. I would be just as happy with a piece of paper or cut piece of wrapping paper, written with something like ‘with love’. I’d be just as happy. Or a funny card, at least make it entertaining to read. If I do get a touchy feely card, I will not turn it away or make fun of it… sometimes it’s nice to receive something like that.

  21. No kids, but I have a Little Brother who was ten when we met, and I like to think I had some influence on his upbringing.

    I have always hugged him, although it’s only the past seven or eight years (he’s 26 now) that he hasn’t squirmed, and actually initiates some of them.

    I’ve also told him often that I love him whenever the opportunity arose and was appropriate. His grunt of acknowledgement has evolved into “I love you, too”.

    He’s a big tease and a joker, but extremely respectful of all people, especially women. That might come from being raised by his Mom (who has been an awesome Mom, widowed when Dan was 6), but I like to think he followed my example, too. He worships his fiancee (as he should) and has not been shy about expressing to her and others how special it has been, for her to follow his career, instead of vice versa. (By the way, she just got a job in her field, two years after getting a psych degree and working at menial, low-paying jobs).

    I guess I’m taking the long route to what my late Mom told me as a Big Brother, and told my brother and sister as parents: “Lead by example, teach your kids your morals and values, and hope for the best. God gave them free will, so what they do with your examples and teachings is ultimately up to them.”

  22. You are NOT imagining this at all! My hubby swears he saved my son from a tu-tu because he was 3 when we started dating. I was always a tomboy though, and never really into the “girlie” things, so it was fine by me that we had a boy.

    Definitely still a double standard. In High School I had a tough curfew, while my brother was having sleep-overs at his girlfriends’ house.

  23. You made some great points. I only have a daughter and did call her all sorts of pet names, but I called her “Snoopy” a lot and that could go either way. My MIL always sends my husband mushy cards for his birthday and Christmas. Maybe she shops at a specialty store for them like The Mushy Cards for Sons Shoppe or something.

  24. Helen – Where is “the belt”? It’s good to see parents exposing their sons to arts. He might resist and maybe even quit eventually, but at least he’s had the exposure and who knows ?

    A&J – I’ll remember that if I’m ever in a position to send you a card. Personally, I hate getting cards. They seem like such a waste of paper. I would much rather people used that card money and bought me a chai tea or picked up the phone and called me with birthday wishes.

    Bob – Leading by example is excellent advice. Gender issues are tricky, though, because our generation was raised with some pretty sexist values and examples. We’ve cast some of those off, but some are still deeply ingrained. Over at Meanie’s blog for instance, she is feeling a bit uncomfortable because the new daycare teacher at her daughter’s school is a male. And in my mind, that seems like an odd thing, too. But, I don’t think we want to pass that sort of mindset on to the next generation. There’s no logical reason why a man can’t be an excellent daycare teacher, but he would be strongly discouraged by current societal thinking. Like I said, it’s not a simple black and white issue

    Mudmamma – So, we have to come to Wolfville? Do you sell them online? Do you have a website for the toys?

    Maggie – It’s difficult, for sure — like I was saying in the comment to Bob, above, there are things we know and things we feel. The way we were raised is not necessarily the way we want our childrent to be raised, yet we can’t help what is buried deep in our guts/psyches and we can’t help but pass some of that on. How many fathers would be thrilled that their sons have decided to take up ballet? Some perhaps; and quite a few would be as encouraging as they could be and try to overcome their own sexist upbringing; others would out and out forbid it and/or strongly discourage it

    Grandy – Ah see, my point above has been made by your hubby. My parents told us kids that they would pay to send the boys to university but not us girls, because we’d just get married and waste the education anyway. HAHAHAHAHA. They saved themselves a packet of dough since none of the boys went to university but the girls all did — on their own dime. Thanks mom and dad!!

    Geewits – I don’t think we have that chain in Canada. Maybe there are more mushy cards for grown-up sons. Girl cards are all about princesses and beautiful daughter poems; son cards are all about race cars and football and jungle animals and hilarious spunky boy verses.

  25. About the nickname: James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupuis

    It comes from a book of verse by A.A. Milne. I can’t remember which one. But I remember the verse:

    James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupuis
    Took good care of his mother, though he was only three
    James James said to his mother
    “Mother,” he said, said he, “You must never go down to the end of the town if you don’t go down with me.”

    There’s more. But you get the idea.

  26. Oh and I must tell you the most treasured thing in our dress up box is a pink and orange sequinned tube top that my 15 yr old son found at the Great Glebe Garage Sale. It has been required attire for boys and girls – dragon scale armour, princesswear, snakewear, fire demon/fairy/dragon/giant wear and right now as skeleton pirate wear.

    It came with a tutu but the tutu fell apart.

  27. Sorry, lady. I’m just way too busy these days, so thanks for your email prompt last night…
    I am/we (my wife and I) are different in our household with our twins (boy and girl) than what seems to be “the norm”.

    Liam is very tender-hearted, as is his sister, Morgan. Liam does, however, have a t-shirt we picked out for him proclaiming his “Little But Loud” status. He loves animals – mostly the big predatory ones – lions, tigers, bears, crocodiles, etc., …but also simply BIG ones like hippos – and he loves to imitate their sounds …rather loudly. However, he plays together with Morgan in a gentle way – until she starts to take his toys away, at which time he becomes …vocal – again. She strikes out at him just as often as he strikes out at her – which is not often in either case, but is handled with stern talk by either of their parents when it occurs. They love each other dearly, play with the same toys, and have their subtle differences in ‘playing style’, but nothing I would define along male/female lines. Don’t get me wrong about the ‘loud’ thing. Morgan also likes to scream at the top of her range, but surprisingly – Liam’s is a higher pitch, and if you’re close to him, he can temporarily deafen you.

    Liam also has an incredible memory. One of the things he uses it for is reciting things perfectly – whether from TV shows or songs – and the twins will create little ‘play scenes’ together with his prompting. Morgan is more creative, and will stray from the beaten path of recitation to include her own text in those play scenes, and Liam will sometimes log-jam the proceedings by exclaiming, “That’s not the way it goes!” …and they will start all over again. Sometimes Morgan gets her way, and they create from scratch, and sometimes she joins in on Liam’s recounting of the previously agreed-upon text.

    I call them both ‘sweetheart’, actually. Then, there are times when I’ll catch myself saying, “What do you want for breakfast, GUYS?”
    Liam prefers blue, all on his own. Morgan prefers pinks and purples, all on her own. As a matter of fact, both myself and my wife were very set against introducing pink, because neither of us are ‘pink people’, but we simply had no choice. Morgan gravitates to it. Eventually, when it became clear that she wanted to wear nothing BUT pink on most days, I found her a little t-shirt proclaiming “pink is the new black”. I see her holding little pink tea parties in the future, with little pink teapots and little pink teacups, and Liam will participate – but only as long as the lion (their HUGE stuffed lion) is allowed to come along, and roar very loudly while he’s at the table.
    They both love to run, they both love to roughhouse on the floor with their daddy (and can beat me up equally as well) and they both love a good hug and squeeze moment. Morgan likes to kiss us both, where Liam likes to be nuzzled. He’s not so much into the kiss thing.
    The sweetest moment of any day is when they hug each other at bedtime. It doesn’t happen every day, though, and it’s never been something we have asked them to do. Very rarely, they even give each other a kiss on the cheek. They’ve just taken to doing it on their own, and when it happens, it’s really quite special.
    Maybe our experience is different because they’re twins, or maybe it’s just different because my wife and I were both raised in the kind of environments where we were considered equals to our siblings, I don’t know. Liam and Morgan will eventually develop the basic chemical differences that will make them stand out from each other, but our goal as parents will be to have them see and respect those differences, and love each other the way they are. So far, so good.

  28. I don’t have a girl, so I don’t know. We are a very touchy feely huggy family. (Yes, the man too.) And well, he’s only 7 so I still get the snuggles and the kisses. Oddly, my BiL and his family aren’t and they have girls. So I think it’s jus a different style. The Boy likes his snuggles (and I do too.)

    But he’s a gentle giant, (he’s a big kid) more of an artsy he asked for art camp and cooking camp. Next year, he wants to do photography camp. Not so much about sports or balls … don’t know. Different kids like different things I suspect.

  29. I come from a family of all girls, so I guess I’m as poor a judge as you are in comparing. I will say that I alternate between calling my sisters “Sweetie” “honey” and “buddy”, and that I call all my nieces and nephews darling, regardless of which they are… Also that I hug them incessantly until they’re trying to slip out of my grasp, although, to be fair, the nephews are alwayst trying to escape first…

  30. Zoom – How is it I never, ever heard that before? It’s most awfully cute

    Mudmamma – seems like a long way to go for toys I’ve never seen and considering my kid’s too old for toys, but when you’ve got a website, let me know & I’ll definitely visit to shop for things for the nephews.

    JB – Thanks so very much for your input. You are in a unique postion with respects to this question. So you honestly don’t treat them any differently? They’re young still, too. I think at age 3 is when the gender distinctions really start to show themselves — when the children themselves begin to clearly define themselves as male and female and maybe then you will begin to deal with them more as a boy and a girl instead of “the twins”. Who knows. I’ll be interested to see.

    Nat – Oh good. My daughter goes to an arts school and some of the boys she brings home are sooo interesting and human compared to the run-of-the-mill teenage boys.

    Noha – Funny how little boys hate all that mushy stuff so much when they’re young and then spend the rest of their lives trying to “get” the mushy stuff, eh??

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