I live in a house populated entirely by females. I co-habitate with a wife, four daughters, a female dog, a female rabbit, and six fish that I’m pretty certain are females (because they always look angry to see me). It’s not the worst thing in the world, though. I’m sure having a house full of girls is exponentially better than having a house full of boys. With girls, there is a major reduction in the chances of them peeing on the bathroom floor, tracking mud and/or reptiles into the house, and actual hand-to-hand combat between siblings. The only reason I know all of this about boys is– brace yourselves– I was one. And I had a brother. So, believe me. I am keenly aware of the trouble I’m avoiding by having only girls.
But there are definitely some things that are unique to most boys that our girls can’t deal with. Being the manly man that I am, I once went fishing for dinner. Because I consider myself the “provider” of the house, I set out with the goal of giving my family a feast of fresh catfish. After a full day of battling the sun, the mosquitoes, and other fishermen trying to encroach on “my spot”, I had caught enough for a small appetizer. Or a nice fish stick lunch. So, after I brought home McDonald’s for everybody, I still had 2 mediocre-sized catfish to clean. I set to the task in the kitchen sink, which my wife expressed her enthusiasm for with a hearty “are you f*cking kidding me?” My oldest, ever the supporter of her dear old dad, came into the kitchen to find out what I was in trouble for this time. She wasn’t yet tall enough to see over the counter top, so she asked what I was doing. I told her I was cleaning the fish I had caught. She then asked me why I was giving the fish a bath, and I realized that she had no idea what the hell I was talking about. Because she was 3. So I explained to her that I was removing the meat that we were going to eat from the rest of the fish. So she asked me if she could watch me. I explained to her that it was “yucky” and she probably didn’t want to see it. Then, she put her arms up in the air signaling that I was required, by law, to pick her up and show her what I was doing. So I did.
Have you ever tried to give a cat a bath? That moment they sense their impending doom and turn into a motorized death machine whose only objective is to get the hell away from you? That’s kind of how my 3-year-old reacted to seeing a gutted fish. I can’t help but imagine that a boy of the same age would have been ’bout it ’bout it when it came to getting a handful of fish guts. I know I was at that age. Now, I’m not implicitly saying this is a girl/boy issue. It may very well be a 3-year-old seeing a gutted fish for the first time issue. It was likely a traumatic experience, and understandably so. Not that it affected her appetite for catfish. On meal-catching expeditions where I am more successful, I can definitely say the #1 importer of the fish I catch is the mouth of our oldest. The child eats fish like she’s a bear getting ready for winter.
Then again, there’s definitely some traits specific to girls that I wouldn’t trade for all the mini-fishing buddies in the world. For example, our third child, Lucy, is one of the sweetest kids I’ve ever met. In the time it has taken me to write this article, she has busted into the room approximately six times demanding hugs and kisses. She kicks the door in, runs up to the desk, and says, “Daddy, I want to hold you!” I imagine if it were a boy he would kick the door open, run up to the desk, and show me the booger he just got out of his nose or the large, angry frog he just found outside. Some of you that are parents of boys can probably confirm my assumptions with tales of your own experiences.
Nevertheless, like I said earlier, this may not be a specific boy vs. girl thing. I’m operating with a major bias, in that I only have girls to base my theories on. Oh, and my own experience and fond memories of torturing my mom when my brother and I were younger.