Tag: boys and girls

Girls and boys are good for each other

Girls and boys are good for each other

H is intensely competitive, specially when it comes to N. He likes to think that anything she can do, he can do better. However, at the same time he has quite a dislike for all things he has labelled ‘girly’. So it was with a bit of surprise that I discovered him making loom bands the other day. Apparently his competitiveness won over his dislike for ‘girly’ stuff. 

ENGROSSED!!

Even at 8.5 years he is clumsy as ever and can do with some hand-eye coordination practice, as also with a hobby that involves him keeping quiet and sitting in one place for some amount of time (other than watching the telly). I was one happy mum :-).

Linking to Mel’s # Microblog Mondays . Do drop by to see how others are faring after the weekend.

Also, linking to ABC Wednesday for the letter E for Engrossed.

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On a somewhat related note I stumbled across this debate here on the Net about whether boys and girls learn best if they are segregated in single sex classrooms.

Research suggests children perform better in single-sex classrooms. Some maintain that the teaching pattern is skewed in favour of girls since sitting in organised classrooms works well for them while boys are better at hands on learning.

However as a mom to a pair of different sex twins I find myself disagreeing. Of course life would be much simpler with same sex kids, just as it would be easier with single sex children in a classroom. However the education we’re aiming at doesn’t have only to do with scores, is it? Boys and girls are different, that’s a fact. Their brains are wired differently, also a fact. Out of the classroom they have to live, love, compete and socialise with each other. The earlier they learn how to do that, the better.

H and N fight. A lot. Yet they have been teaching and learning from each other with no awareness of it. Without going into whether an ability is a ‘boy skill’ or a ‘girl skill, here’s how..

H might continue to be a Barbie destroyer but he has mastered plaiting their hair albeit shabbily, he knows how to make loom bands and, wonder of wonders, often remembers to put down the toilet seat! He makes an effort at drawing, crafting, singing and dancing again thanks to N.

As for N, she’s as girly as girls come but can throw a mean punch, enjoys computer games and is addicted to the outdoors perhaps even more than H.

Together they’re good!

When friendships change

When friendships change

Dear girls who play with my son,

Last time I found H in a scrambling match with one of you and took him to task. You remember that I’m sure. A few days back I found two of you again, walking away. One of you was in tears and the other, outraged on her behalf, for the same reason – a scuffle with a boy during a game, where her t-shirt got pulled.

Okay I’ll admit my first thought was, “No, not H again!” It wasn’t.

But that’s not the issue at all. The point is, there are some things you will need to understand when you play together. In a game that needs some amount of physicality, when one of the children is supposed to catch another (and count to ten while the other tries to free himself/herself), t-shirts will get pulled, dresses will fly, hands will be twisted, feet will be stepped upon.

You know the rules, right? You are the ones who put them in place along with the others. You cannot then, in all fairness, start to cry, or get angry or quit the game either. You will simply come across as a bad loser.

You’re growing up, I know. You’re becoming more conscious of yourself and the changes in you and that’s just how it should be. But don’t let it take away the fun from your playtime. Don’t let it take away from your friendships.

Soon you’ll all be grown up and out in the world – working, competing, playing and socialising with men, on an equal footing. Each time a situation like this crops up you cannot break into tears, you cannot get outraged and worse, you cannot withdraw. 

You cannot.

If you do, just like in the playground, be prepared to be laughed at, or what’s much much worse, patronised by the others. You’ll hate it, take my word for that. Just as you will be left out of the game now, you will be shut out from the more exciting challenging opportunities to learn and grow and prove yourself.

Most importantly you’ll miss out on many many good friendships. Men do make for wonderful companions – easy, uncomplicated, fun. I say that from experience. And that would be truly sad.

For now, I’ll repeat the five simple rules I keep telling H – 
1. Set the rules before the game – Make it clear what is acceptable and what is not. Do be reasonable and practical.
2. Dress for the playground – Wear sensible clothes: shorts, tights, jeans, running shoes.
3. Be prepared for some amount of rough play – It can be fun once you give up your ‘I’m a girl I shouldn’t do this’ self image.
4. Accept no nonsense – But don’t be over sensitive.
5. Assess the situation, the intention – An unintentional pull of the T shirt is NOT a bad touch.

Remember these rules. They work in the grown up world too – Set the rules, dress sensibly, be prepared to fight rough, accept no nonsense and asses an intention fairly.

For now, stop being girls or boys – just be friends.

Love and hugs
Mom of H.
Linking to ABC Wednesday , after a long long time, for the letter C for Change. It’s good to be back here.

Girls and boys and a lesson in chivalry

Girls and boys and a lesson in chivalry

Dear H,

The other day as I was
taking my walk I saw you pulling a girl by her T-shirt. At least that’s what it seemed to me. She was yelling and struggling to free herself. I was appalled. I made you let go and
apologise too. Oh I did see those tears of anger, frustration and humiliation that sprang up in your eyes. I didn’t mean to humiliate you but this needed to be done.
Later, much later when
we’d both cooled down, you’d explained, “Ma we were playing Chor Police and I
was a Policeman. We have to hold the ‘thief’ to a count of 10 for him/her to be
declared out.”
“You cannot pull a
girl’s shirt,” I’d said.
“I wasn’t pulling, she
was. I was supposed to be holding her.”
“No matter what, you CANNOT pull a girl’s shirt,”
“Why,” you’d asked, ‘Why
can’t I ? That’s how she catches me too, that’s how I catch the boys and everyone is fine with it.”
You had a bit of a point. 
Here is my answer. Listen patiently for this is something that will stand you in good stead all your life.
The problem was not that you were holding that girl. The problem was that she didn’t like being held. That she was asking you to let go and you weren’t.

It’s simple, actually. If a girl doesn’t like you holding her T shirt, let go. If a boy doesn’t like it, let him go too. LISTEN to what the other person is saying.

Yes it’s tough. Yes it’s easy to get carried away by the game. Yes it’s easy to take people’s reactions for granted. But it’s crucial to remember that it’s a game only if all people playing it are enjoying it, or else it’s plain bullying. Sounds harsh, I know. You didn’t intend to bully, I know. But that’s what it was.

I hope that answers your ‘Why?’.

Here’s what you can do. ASK what everyone is comfortable with. Put the rules in place before you start a game. As you grow up you will realise, many times people don’t even speak out when something makes them uncomfortable. You have to learn to listen, even without words. This ‘watching out’ for the other person’s reaction is very very important. It’s called being ‘sensitive’.

And while we’re at it, here are a few more things for you to remember…

– Caring for other people’s
feelings is way more important than winning any game.

– Your responsibility
doesn’t end with good intentions. If the other person feels hurt, wronged or even uncomfortable by your behaviour, don’t do it. Take time to understand and explain.
– Open
doors, hold the lift, help with bags. Practise chivalry for no other reason but that you are a gentleman. 
– Respect not just girls,
not just people older to you, but everyone. You have an even greater
responsibility if the other person in not as strong as you.

– Never be an unintentional bully.

You might not always win the game but you’ll win over many many more people and that, dear H, is way more important and much more fun too. This is a BIG thing and needs plenty of practise, but you’ll get there. And like I always say ‘You are the best’. I know that.

Hugs and love,

Ma
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We’ve had our ‘big talk’. And I am hoping it made some impression. Have you handled similar queries from your son/nephew/friend’s son? So how do you teach a boy to be chivalrous without being sexist? How do you tell him he doesn’t need to do this because the other person (girl or not) is weaker but because he is stronger? Mothering, I tell you… is a hard hard task.

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Linking to Write Tribe’s super initiative ‘7 days of rediscovering your blogging grove’ where we blog seven days in a row according to a format. The idea is inspired by Darren Rowse. Today we had to ‘ANSWER A QUESTION’. 

Go find some more answers at the Write Tribe blog.

Of dread and hope

Of dread and hope

And so Nirbhaya’s gone… a sad sad end to the year.

Each day we read about scores of rapes. We read them with anguish and dread then put away the papers and get on with our lives.. each day. Yet, what is it about Nirbhaya that I can’t get her out of my head? Why is it that the scene haunts me.. a happy 23-year-old boarding a bus with a friend, the ‘normal’ eve-teasing starting off, taking a scary turn and then turning into something horrific. Each night as I’ve gone to bed these last few days she’s been with me. Oh I’ve gone about my days.. playing with the kids, celebrating Christmas and birthdays but she has remained, a sad presence that refuses to go away.

A lot, of course, has to do with the media, the constant news coverage .. the papers, the television, updates, debates, views, news. And then there’s the gruesomeness of the crime and the fact that it happened in our Capital not in some tiny mofussil town.

Even as I bid her farewell I can find little place for hope in my heart.

All I find is dread.

Dread for my daughter…She’s growing up… fast. How will I ensure she’s safe? How will I ever let her walk the streets alone? How will I ever trust she’ll be safe when she’s out with her friends?

And an even greater dread for my son. He’s growing up too… from a baby to a boy. I see him change everyday. He likes hanging out with older boys. I’m not sure I like that. However no longer can I choose his friends. Besides, they aren’t bad boys.. just a few years older… and that makes a difference. There was a time he loved playing with kitchen sets. I saw him being teased, not just by the boys but the girls too. Soon, enough he gave it up. He likes chatting to me, hanging out in the kitchen.. will that go too, with time?

I’m scared.

Will I lose my connect with him? Will the stereotypes take over completely? In a few years time, will I not know him? How long will it be before the seemingly innocent “Girls can’t play cricket and boys don’t play with kitchen sets” changes to the ominous “girls are weak, boys are strong”? And how long before it turns into the truly evil, “If you don’t do what I tell you, I will make you”?


Pic Courtesy Google

Soon.. it’ll be very soon if I let the dread take over, if I let Nirbhaya signify ‘dread’ rather than ‘hope’.

If I want my children to remain mine, I have to keep the hope alive, along with her memory. I, only I can do that and I will.

I once dreamed about a safe country and I will have it. I will keep the connection alive with my children. I will not let them fall prey to stereotypes. I will teach them to value humans .. men and and women alike. I will not let men rule the roads. They belong to my daughter as to my son. She will walk out alone… at night, if she needs to,… and she will be safe because I taught my son well.

RIP, Nirbhaya.

The post is part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

I hate girls

I hate girls

.. that’s what Hrit’s been saying over and over and over again.

It started over a year back when he refused to talk to my mum, asking instead only for ‘nanu’ because apparently he didn’t like talking to girls. It’s just a phase, I told myself.

The other day I met a friend of mine walking her dog. “Is it a girl dog or a boy dog,” he wanted to know. “Girl dog,” said my friend. “I don’t like girls,” said he and thereafter refused to pet that friendly pom no matter how much she wagged her tail. Oh well he’s not into dogs, thought I.

Then he refused to go to dance class. “Too many girls,”said he. He’s not the dancing type (just like me) I thought as I pulled him out of the class.

Then he didn’t want to participate in the annual day because… “Teacher has given me a girl partner. I don’t like to dance with girls. I want a boy partner,” he complained. With about a week to go for the function his complaints have only increased. “Silly stupid girls,” mumbled he as he got off the bus today. “What happened?” queried I. “My dance partner, mama… I told you – she’s a girl na. I don’t like her.” Not again, I sighed. Thinking I should sort this out once and for all I asked him.. “Lazy girl.. sleeping all the time. I get shouted at because of her.” I’m sure at least some of that is not true.

Just as I was re-telling myself he’d outgrow this ‘phase’ soon enough, came the final straw.
Over dinner a few days back says he..
I am going to marry a boy.
Me (trying to play it cool): Why?
Hrit: I like only boys. We’ll have so much fun. We can play all the time.
Naisha (adding her bit as she licks the ketchup off her parantha): I know who I’m going to marry.
Me (Ready now for almost anything): Who is it?
Naisha: V (He’s a dear friend’s son, and that’s a story I’ll keep for another day).
Me: Speechless!
Then two days later Hrit says.. “Mama may I marry Y, please.”.. that’s his best pal.

So well both my kids are ‘settled’ now. Only Y is shifting next session and I’ve to prepare Hrit for his very first heartbreak. Wish me luck guys.