By Barbara Falconer Newhall, The Oakland Tribune, June 1, 1987
Little girls are superior to little boys.
This fact is not written down in black and white anywhere. The popular baby books talk warily around the topic of sex differences. And researchers will make only minor, technical concessions to the superiority of girls.
Girls, they report, cry less as babies than boys. They talk better, their bones grow faster, their baby teeth fall out sooner, their brains specialize earlier and their fingers work better.
Girls are less likely than boys to die in utero, and they are more likely to survive the rigors of childhood. Consult any parent, however, and you will find out that girls also are more civilized than boys.
The experts may decline to comment on this touchy topic, but we know. We know that, as an infant, a girl already possesses a measure of respect for other people’s belongings.
Unlike her brother at this stage, she does not pull the tablecloth off Aunt Nancy’s dining room table – not until the hand-built porcelainware has been cleared away, at least.
She might chew on the toaster cord, but she does it daintily. She does not electrocute herself.
At 2 1/2, unlike her friend Timmy, she does not drop her toys, one by one, off the deck and into the oblivion of poison oak below.
She gets in the way in the kitchen, but that is only because she wants to help slice the tofu.
Nor does she bite the smallest baby in day care. If she abuses him, it is with a surfeit of wettish kisses.
She enters kindergarten knowing how to raise her hand, write the alphabet and put eyebrows on her portrait of Mommy.
Her male classmates, meanwhile, are busy being active boys. They fall out of their chairs to get attention. They greet one another with karate kicks.
They are still uncertain of the location of the lavatory and use it only in an emergency. In the average school day, a kindergarten boy has two to four emergencies.
I had better stop at this point to mention that there are some areas in which little boys are clearly superior to little girls.
Any nursery school teacher will tell you that boys love to play with blocks – a precursor of superior math abilities.
What’s more, if you spend some time with young boys, you will find they are honest. If a 4-year-old boy says, “I don’t like you,” it’s because he genuinely doesn’t like you.
He does not lie and, therefore, does not suspect that other people – including little girls – lie.
When little Virginia, half a year younger, asserts that the adults have put her in charge of dishing out the tortilla chips, he believes her.
When his share proves to be half the size of hers, he knows something is wrong, but can’t put it into words. He opts for a blow to the side of her dainty head.
And finally, anatomically, little boys have something that little girls might well covet.
Freud would smile and assume that I am about to talk p—–s. [Note to readers: I’m deleting the P-word to avoid attracting the search engines.]
But Freud was a man, a man who ultimately had to confess that he didn’t rightly know what women want. The feeling is mutual. Freud doesn’t understand me, and I don’t understand him – and his bizzare notion of p—– envy.
After all, what little girl who knows the first thing about her own body would want to trade in her uterus for a p—-? Without a uterus, she would not be able to have babies and having babies is power.
No, what most every little boy has in enviable abundance is – muscle mass.
At 2 1/2, he can lift his baby sister off the floor and carry her across the room. He can grab her toys and hold them over her head until she shrieks.
He can shove her off the tire swing. He can insinuate his muscle mass between her and the cookie plate.
Eventually, he learns not to use physical force on his sister. Mom, Dad and the babysitter don’t like it. Besides, he adores his little sister.
But he knows, and she knows – and they both remember long after the tire swing has been taken down – that he can throw her off it any time he wants.
Understandably, little boys love their muscles. They like the way they feel when they move. They like the power that their muscles bestow upon them.
After hearing the waiter recite the evening’s specials the other night, our 6-year-old was decisive. He ordered the mussels.
A boy can’t have too many muscles, sautéed or otherwise.
Our son will enter the first grade in the fall and I am wondering what happens next.
Just when it is, exactly, that the male half of the species stops dropping its toys in the poison oak – and starts taking over the world?
© 1987 The Oakland Tribune. Reprinted by permission.
If you enjoyed this post, you might like “Confessions of a Nintendo Mom: The Day I Unplugged My Eight-Year-Old,” “Scrubbing the Floor With My Daughter Cinderella” or “When Your Kids Don’t Fight — Enough.”