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James R. Stout

Gender Snaps

            Yesterday I had the pleasure of “babysitting” my daughter’s three girls. The girls are ages 1, 7, and 11. I made some observations as we all sat in the den and watched some cartoons. Girls and boys are different. No kidding, Sherlock! Well, let me explain a little better. When my son was a little boy and he would get together with his two cousins, both of which were also boys, the dynamic between them was far different than what I witnessed yesterday. There was rough-housing and alpha-posturing going on for the most part. Toys were ripped from one boy’s hands by another, competition was fierce, and in general there was much more aggression than what I saw yesterday.

            My daughter needed to go to a meeting for a couple of hours and there just wasn’t anyone who could watch the three girls. Trust me when I say that I didn’t mind at all driving 120 miles, round-trip, and spending some time with the girls. Ziva is thirteen months old now. She is smart as a whip and moves light greased lightning. Laney is 7 years old and is also very bright. She has 7 times as much energy as Ziva at this point. She also may end up in a circus sideshow as a contortionist. I think I’ll start calling her “Elastic Girl”. She truly is made to be a gymnast. I got aches and pains just watching her do some of the things she does. Finally, Sofia is the oldest at 11. She is at that in-between age. She is still a little girl, but morphs into a teenager at the blink of an eye. Having the opportunity to observe these three beautiful girls without their parents being around was indeed eye-opening.

            There was no rough-housing (other than Laney laying on the floor on her stomach and arching her back allowing her feet to touch the back of her head!) or power posturing. Well, I guess there was a little bit of power exertion by Sofia, but it was like watching and hearing her mother when she is there. They all got along wonderfully. The two older girls were full of genuine love for their baby sister. Ziva was happy just to bounce back and forth between her big sisters and allow them to love on her. The older girls would pick up Ziva and hold her, love on her, and show great affection for their little sister. Remember my son and his cousins? The only way those kinds of things would have happened with them is if they had been body-snatched by aliens from another planet.

            At one point, Ziva needed a diaper change. Sofia didn’t blink an eye. Paw-Paw was spared the chore when Sofia simply picked up Ziva and took her into Ziva’s room and changed her diaper. If my older nephew had been faced with the same situation when his little brother and my son were still in diapers he couldn’t have gotten far enough away. Here’s a little secret. All men and boys feel that way. As a father, I changed many diapers. The first time that I did wasn’t so bad. A newborn doesn’t produce much in the way of waste. But when they were two years old and still in diapers on the threshold of a dream called “being potty trained”, those diapers could be fully loaded. The truth is a good father changes his children’s diapers. But there is a definite difference between how he does it and how the mother does it. Dear old Dad holds his breath for the duration and tries very hard to be a quick-change artist. If it weren’t so expensive and time consuming, Dad would wear a bio-hazard suit with filtered A/C and there would be a decontamination chamber for removing even the smallest of possible bio-waste products. But Mom is different. I’ve observed mothers during the chore. They nonchalantly remove any bio-waste that might jump off the diaper and onto their hand. They sing and coo and love on the “BWB” (Bio-waste being). There’s always a big hug when it’s over and more than a few sweet kisses. The BWB morphs back into a beautiful baby and giggles at Mama’s affection.

            The takeaway yesterday for me was that girls possess a mothering instinct. They were designed that way. I believe firmly that God created man and woman with specific male and female instincts. I know this is politically incorrect in the society that we live in now. I don’t care if somebody gets upset over this statement. If they had their heads on straight, then they would see it and embrace it with thanks. Let’s face facts. A woman carries a baby inside of her body for 9 months. Both the baby and the mother need each other once the baby is born. The baby has up until then only known her mother. Have you ever noticed the peaceful sleep a newborn baby has sleeping on his/her mother’s stomach? The baby comes to know and love the father over time and a good father will show plenty of affection for his child. But for the first few years of a child’s life the mother is the most important being in its life. That’s the way God made us.

            I enjoyed the afternoon yesterday with my granddaughters very much. They were very sweet to each other and to their Paw-Paw. I thank God for them every day and for the miracle of their loving parents. My son-in-law is a loving father and it shows. Those girls are growing up in a home with a lot of love and they are learning what a good mother and a good father looks like. I hope that I live long enough to meet a great-grand-child. I’m positive that those granddaughters of mine will turn out to be fantastic mothers. Hey, the scary part is how quick that could come about. They really do grow-up fast. I’m going to do my part though too. I’ll be telling them to wait to fall in love and get married. To wait until after they are ready and most importantly to marry the right kind of man that the two of them together will be equal partners in the rearing of children, but each with their own set of skills and God-given instincts.

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