Boys Vs Girls, Illustrated with Crappy Pictures


So my son says he wants to be a boxer now. He is four.

He runs around the house punching the air with his tiny fists.

This is not what I expected back when I had a baby.

You see, my best friend and I had our first babies roughly around the same time.

She had a girl. I had a boy.

I was fairly confident that I knew everything about everything when it came to raising children.

As new moms, we heard tons about “gender stereotyping” and how that was, like, bad and stuff. Saying things like “boys will be boys” was old-fashioned and frowned upon. We were modern! We would never say such a thing.

So to start with, we dressed them in neutral outfits until they could pick for themselves.

Her daughter picked out clothes with squeals of excitement.

She was attracted to pink, sparkles and rainbows. And ideally all three in the same outfit.

My son, on the other hand, could not care less.

It isn’t that he avoids pink. It isn’t that he avoids sparkles. He just doesn’t care either way.

But it wasn’t just their wardrobe. It was toys too.

She bought her daughter a toy truck.

She played with it sometimes.

Only rarely as a truck.

I bought my son a doll and a wooden doll cradle.

He played with the cradle sometimes.

Only rarely as a cradle.

And it wasn’t just the toys. It was everything.

We wanted to open the world up for them. We sheltered them from messages that put value on their interests or skills based on gender expectations.

And they do have skills.

Her daughter can turn anything into a baby.

My son can turn anything into a weapon.

Then we had more babies.

She had another girl. I had another boy.

I thought surely her second daughter will be into trucks and surely my second son will like dolls.


As they grew, I watched as her girls mostly played well together.

And how my boys mostly didn’t.

She reassured me that it wasn’t anything I did wrong. And I reassured myself by begrudgingly muttering “boys will be boys” when I was sure that nobody could hear me.

And then, two years ago, she had a third.

It was a boy this time.

I wondered what that little boy would be like growing up with two nurturing sisters and all the dolls and sparkles in the world.

I admit, despite my experience, I was a little afraid that he would tenderly burp dolls and share and always say please. I was afraid that he would never, ever turn a spoon into a catapult. Or throw sand. Or be aggressive in any way.

Then last week, there he was, running around the house, punching the air with his tiny fists.

And this is exactly as I expected.


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    • Cat says

      I think you are brilliantly entertaining & I love your crappy pictures. You make me laugh daily.

      As a Daycare provider of 24 years and a mom of 30 years I have seen the difference between boys and girls. My boys will make a gun out of anything, I give them Legos, they make a gun. I give them puzzle pieces, they make a gun. I give them books, they make a gun. You get the point. My girls love dolls and dress up, although my 2 yo grandbaby is dinosaur obsessed.

      Please never stop writing and drawing crappy pictures.

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  1. Johanna says

    I too remember the days of dressing my daughter in unisex clothes and not giving my son gender specific toys…until the day he announced he was, “going to shoot me with his camera.” There’s a whole lot of nature in who our children become. The best we can do is try to nudge it in the right direction.

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  2. Alison@Mama Wants This says

    Amber is awesome, love her crappy drawings and her funny tales. And yes, despite the political incorrectness of it all, boys WILL be boys (based on my limited experience with one boy).

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  3. wendy @ mama one to three says

    i just think you are brilliant. I have two girls and a boy– my little boy actually loves his sisters’ pink sparkly things, but at two years old just recently developed an obsession with all things “Thomas” related. They are fascinating beings these little boys!

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  4. saltwaterjenmm says

    You know, it’s all true. They just seem to naturally have different interests.. for the most part. I have two girls and a boy. In the early years my older of the two girls was so much easier than my rough-house of a boy. However, when my second daughter came around I got a girl who loves sequins and mirrors, but also does not hesitate to jump off of the highest point in the house that she can climb onto. What happened there?! As they get on into Upper Elementary and Middle School ages, however, I will say that I would now prefer those “anything is a weapon” days with my boy over the current state of our lives – consumed by my girls’ drama, constant cheering or crying, never-ceasing chatter, and ever-increasing volume. It’s exhausting.

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  5. Erin says

    This is hysterrical! I was laughing out loud, you are so dead on. Although in my household spatulas make great swords and lightsabers (they haven’t discovered cannons)

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