Let me tell you about my kids, very quickly, not like that over-enthusiastic parent in the playground who spouts gush and nonsense about their little cherubs.
I have three children: two boys and a girl. One likes to play with Spider-Man, and bounces around the house kicking a football. One yells whenever anyone goes near their things and loves nothing more than bouncing on the bed and wrestling with me. And one enjoys dancing, singing and dressing up.
The first is my son, Noah. That boy just won't keep still. The second is my daughter, Jemima, who won't hesitate to yell at her older brothers if she feels they're picking on her. And the third is my eldest son, Isaac.
Allow me to explain why I'm telling you all this. When I first had an idea for this article it was originally going to be all about the differences between raising girls and boys, that boys are boisterous and smelly, and girls only care about dancing and acting out scenes from Frozen.
But then I looked at my daughter, who was beating her older brother over the head with a Batman figurine whilst bellowing in his ear, and then across at Isaac, who was wrapping himself in a blanket and pretending to be a Greek goddess, and I realised I was being an idiot.
There are no differences between raising boys and girls. What boys traditionally enjoy are also enjoyed by girls, and vice versa.
There's no such thing as a boy's toy and a girl's toy any more, despite the packaging they're in and the way they're advertised. The reason there's no such thing as a boy's toy and a girl's toy is because we're not raising boys and girls, we're raising individuals.
Our job as parents is to find our child's strengths and build on them, as well as identifying their weaknesses and supporting them. It's defending them from the pressures of society, which tell them how they should act, and letting them do what makes them happy. It's about keeping the excitement and enthusiasm of childhood inside their hearts for as long as possible, before the stresses and strains of life snuff it out.
If you went by society's rules for how to raise a son and a daughter then my two sons would be exactly the same, but they're polar opposites. We're raising individuals, not genders, and as a parent you change your approach to each of your children no matter what's between their legs, because they're their own person, their own character, the collection of their own strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes.
That's not to say there aren't parental worries which are gender-specific: I worry that Noah's tendency to be a joker will lead to him falling in with the wrong crowd at school, and picking up bad habits. I worry that when my daughter's a teenager she's going to walk down the street and possibly attract the attention of some unsavoury men who are stronger than she is and too thick to comprehend social boundaries.
But these are worries, and don't affect how I raise my children. And so, if you absolutely pressed me, and made me write a list of the differences between raising boys and girls, these are the only two answers I could come up with.
1. When you're changing your daughter's nappy, the worst you have to worry about is a puddle of wee on the mat. When you're changing your son's nappy, the worst you worry about is a vertical jet of pee which covers EVERYTHING.
2. If you have a son, you only need to worry about the actions of one willy. If you have a daughter, you need to worry about EVERY WILLY IN THE WORLD.
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