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Where the Boys Are

I have a friend who has two kids under the age of four and a baby on the way. Some afternoons she sits in front of the nursery school — the same one that her son and my daughter attends — while her youngest naps. I am slightly envious, especially since she gets a whole block of uninterrupted quiet time. She also gets to watch our kids when they play on the playground. She gives us updates when we all stand outside waiting for pickup. My report is always the same: Little Girl ran around with the boys the entire time while the other girls played in the house or in the sandbox.

At first, this really bothered me. Why isn’t she making any little girlfriends, I wondered. What does this mean about her and her personality? Then I realized I was over-thinking things. Little Girl is an active, athletic child who loves running around and would rather play monster than sit in a dirty sandbox. How could I have anything bad to say about that? Really, what’s the big deal? So she’s a tomboy, something that’s increasingly being found to be genetic, according to one study.

I think it will serve her well as she gets older and enters what will probably still be a male-dominated world. My little girl, well, she already doesn’t take any crap from anyone. (My proof: The scar above her eyebrow and the fact that she lost Blanka last night for biting her sister.) I also think it’s a byproduct of spending a lot of time with her Daddy when she was little. Big Girl was almost exclusively with me in her very early years. My husband worked a lot, so I got to take her to music class, mommy-and-me, cooking classes, gymnastics, and playdates. My husband was out of work and sick when Little Girl was born, so he was the one charged with her care during the day. His activity of choice: Bringing Little Girl to the park and letting her run wild. There were few, if any, music classes on his agenda.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is that I think it’s important for us as parents to accept and embrace the people our children become. Because if we can’t accept them, how can they accept themselves? Right?

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