Wednesday, 26 October 2011

"Noise With Dirt On"

Isn't that what someone once referred to boys as?  That sums them up fairly accurately to me.  If you also add "obsessed with anything with wheels", you've just about got them covered.

I'm all for this gender neutral trend for allowing children to play with what they want, wear what they want and generally be how they want to be without enforcing gender stereotypes on them, but what has become apparent to me since having a boy of my own is how he seems genetically programmed to like doing boy things.  He has been boring us about cars and trains ever since he could first point.  He does occasionally give a baby doll a cuddle at playgroup, but that's usually shortly before throwing it on the floor and running it over with a tricycle.  He likes to seek and destroy and take things apart to find out how they work and create mess where you'd think mess couldn't possibly be made and generally be caked from head to foot in noxious substances.

I'd like to say that I don't know what I'd do with a girl, but I do.  I'd do a lot of nice colouring in and twirling and playing with dolls and dressing up and going for walks with a child who would willingly hold my hand and walk next to me and skipping and maybe occasionally go to Rhyme Time with a child who actually likes it - all the things that my friends do with their young girls.  It's a lot more civilised and there's less emphasis on having to spend the whole day exhausting them so that they'll sleep at night.  By contrast, Rory and I can often be found standing by the nearest dual carriageway making racing car noises as we watch the traffic and point out good lorries to each other.  It's a rubbish way to spend your day, but he loves it.

Yesterday, we went to the farm.  We go to the farm quite a lot because there's one just a 20 minute walk from our house.  Going to the farm is brilliant, yes?  You get to see the animals and feed them and stroke them and....sorry, no.  You're wrong.  You can do all those things with a girl.  Here's how it goes for us:

*Rory and I are walking along the road to the farm*

Me: "Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm he had a...."

Rory: "Tractor."

Me: "Well, yes, he probably does have a tractor, but this is a song about animals.  Think about the animals we're going to see at the farm.  Lets try again: And on that farm he had a...."

Rory: "Bat 'beel"

Me: "I'm almost certain that Old MacDonald doesn't have a Batmobile.  Can you think of an animal that he might have?"  And on that farm he had a..."

Rory: "Boogly woogly."

Me: "That's not even a word."

Rory: "I think of an animal."

Me: "OK then.  And on that farm he had a..."

Rory: "Gremlin."

Me: "Whatever."

And so it continues.

We get to the farm.

"Oh, Rory, look at the goats.  Would you like to feed the goats?" I say, hoping that by speaking in a ridiculously over enthusiastic tone of voice, some of it might rub off on him.  But no.  He tells the goats to go away then spots a fork lift truck in the distance and goes running over to stroke it, screeching with joy.  During the rest of our time at the farm, he spots a digger, several tractors, a combine harvester, two trailers and a "very funny pumpkin", all of which he has to inspect at close range.  He goes on the slides and the climbing frames in the adventure playground.  He makes me pay a fiver for an overpriced cake and a drink in the cafe.  He jumps into every available puddle, emerges like a bedraggled swamp monster, then rolls in the hay, creating a primitive wattle and daub effect all over his body that dries and starts to crack as we walk home.  At no point does he give any animal a cursory glance, and when Richard asks him what he did with his day, he looks blankly at him and replies "errrr, played cars?"

Boys are infuriating. I quite want a girl.  I don't think I'd laugh as much but I might at least have an appreciative audience for my animal songs.


  1. You should come to Devon and take him to Diggerworld. You might never leave but it might be fun (they have grown up things there too) :)

    Then I can make you cake and tea - I'd be worried about the cat but it seems Rory doesn't care for animals!

  2. Oh no, be worried about the cat. He does love a cat.

  3. Perhaps you need to start to sing the tractor song. Bouncing up and down in a big red tractor, bouncing up and down in a big red tractor, bouncing up and down in a big red tractor bringing in the hey! And so on with different colours... Ethan loves that! When we go to the farm its the same for us lise... All he wants to do is climb on jcbs. He did try to rid an escaped pig once though...

  4. There is a Diggerland near Durham too. I've always wanted to go but I think I may get funny looks going on my own as a grown up!

    I cried laughing at the 'old macdonald had a gremlin'!

  5. Thats hilarious, I have a wee boy who's toddling now and always seems to be dirty.
    Old mc donald had a gremlin?? must try that one