Sunday, October 17, 2010

The difference between boys and girls, age 4ish edition

When Jon and I were kidless in Chicago, my friend Kaylyn came to visit with her twin four year old girls. They were unbelievably sweet the entire trip, playing dress up and barbies and sharing everything. We got a good taste of life with twin four year old girls after SEVEN DAYS living with them. After that experience, Jon and I thought it would be so much fun to have twins, particularly four year old twins.

Our experience with four year old twin boys has been VASTLY different than that week. So very different. I'm an insanely opinionated feminist but there is a difference between boys and girls at this age. 4 year old boys are WILD and CRAZY with boundless energy!!!

When I put out my call for help with my photography, my friend Michele volunteered her identical twin girls. They *just* turned 5 so they're fairly close in age to Nate and Alex. In extremely sharp contrast to my boys, it was SO FREAKING EASY to photograph them (prepare to die of cuteness):


You want us to hug? Okay we'll do it cutely:


Close ups? You got it!


Family shot? Ba bam.


Then there are my boys. A picture is worth a thousand words, yes?


Also in sharp contrast was the energy. The girls walked along with us through the park as we looked for place to take photos. My family went on a nature hike at Hemlock Bluffs Sunday afternoon to see if the leaves had started to change (not much). Rather than a leisurely hike, my boys RAN TWO MILES through the forest. This was after they had played from 7AM to 3:30PM with no nap. There was no walking, only running and super fast walking. And lots of yelling, effectively scaring any and all wildlife.

Photographing Michele's family was great in reminding me that it's not my photography, it's my subjects that sometimes make things difficult.

Fortunately I still have the good old "walk away from the camera" trick up my sleeve. I'm totally screwed when they stop wanting to play Simon Says. Simon says hold hands, Simon says take 10 steps:


And something tells me they will never get tired of the tackle daddy trick:


I've got so many more thoughts on this I will share over the next few weeks. We're hitting the tipping point where my babies are BOY BOY BOYS. Here's a sneak preview - Alex spit on A TREE (?!) for no apparent reason while walking to the car after a trip to a park. BOY!


Joanna said...

I'm still undecided on how much of the difference between 4 year old girls and 4 year old boys is "real" and how much is what is culturally allowed, but either way, it sure is an obvious difference, isn't it? The energy is crazy! So is the spitting.

Michele said...

I want to add as a disclaimer my girls RAN through the whole park after you left. They couldn't wait to get to the climbing rock where they could show me how they could climb to the top themselves with no help now.

Beth said...

My girls, who turned 5 in July, love to run and climb rocks, and they can scream and be crazy, but I have to say that I agree with you. Just from reading your descriptions of your boys, I can tell that there is a difference in energy level and interests. It's really fascinating!

On a totally unrelated note, we were in DC, on the Mall, the same time as you guys. How I wish we had run into you! I'm sure I'd have spotted your family and recognized you right away!

Julia said...

I am far from a feminist and I do believe in innate differences between boys and girls. That said, I do ponder with Joanna how much of it just what we culturally allow. Because i grew with two sisters and we were wild. And my babies? "Monkeys" is the softest term we use to describe them here.

Shari said...

All my friends with (single) boys wish they had our twin girls. One always says that our two girls are easier to take care of than her one boy.

Ginger said...

I am glad you wrote this. My boys are 2 now but OH.MY.WORD. they never stop. I cannot imagine what 4 will be like. Sometimes I see people with single children and I envy them. But then my boys run at me and crash me at the same time with huge hugs and giggles and I wouldn't trade them for anything!

Joanna said...

1) "...effectively scaring any and all wildlife" had me laughing aloud. I love your writing style.

2) Just read an article "Thorns among roses: The struggle of young boys in early education" that discusses the sometimes "non-fit" of boys in our school system, this school system that expects students to be quiet, cooperative, and compliant. It shared some interesting insights about boys. If I can figure out how to email to you, I will. Feel free to share.

Goddess in Progress said...

I LOVE that face-smooshing picture. Totally laughed at the contrast after all of the sweet girl pictures.

There's totally a difference. Obviously there are personality/temperament varations, as well as social/cultural influences. But OH MY GOD. My son CANNOT sit still, has to touch EVERYTHING. Rebecca? She can hang out and finger-paint forever.

Yeah, she can be a little nutter, too, and run all over the place. But there's definitely a difference.

erinlaughs said...

I have four friends who have twin boys and when we talk, my eyes get big and I just shake my head. Even at one and two, boys and girls are so different. So much more energy, so much more destruction.

Allyson said...

Oh Laura, I'm sorry, your blog made me laugh so much! I loved the pictures you took of the girls and the boys! All are awesome!

Becky @ Our Sweet Peas said...

So funny. I notice this at story time and music class. The girls follow along with every movement while Eli is laying on the floor playing with a car he brought or they are trying to wrestle in music class. It's interesting. Sometimes they do decide to follow along and they are perfectly capable but there is just way too many other fun things that they could be doing so why sit still and listen. :)

Claroux said...

First things first...your photos - AMAZING. Your talents keep getting better and better with each shot you post! JEALOUS!

Now that we got that out of the way...I could go on and on about the differences between boys and girls. Especially since I've had the pleasure of having both in QUICK succession! However - three (almost four) year old girls are HORRID. H.O.R.R.I.D. I'm sure Sadia can confirm this sentiment. They are SO FREAKING OPINIONATED. And SO FREAKING MOODY. god help me when the hormones hit. They fight ALL.THE.TIME. Not physically...but the constant whining and yelling and crying and the "she said someone not nice to me" and the "she won't play with me" and the all time favorite "Maddie said she doesn't like my hair." I guess the grass is always greener right? But right now I would take the physicality and the energy in exchange for the whiny and oppositional princesses that current inhabit my home.

Oh - and I haven't gotten a good shot of the two of them together in, I don't know....FOREVER! It's usually Chloe who just decides that she will not be taking part in the photograph and cannot be swayed. Sorry - this is long for a comment! Maybe I should get off my ass and write a post about this!!!

Lisa said...

Honestly, being around little kids has made me much, much more aware of the differences between boys and girls and how they just come that way. Lately though I've been trying to incorporate more comments about how strong/fast/clever S&J are and not just commenting on their cute pigtails.