Tiring granny out, and dealing with a few stereotypes along the way

girls, playing, grandparents, independent play, rough play, rugby

Granny wasn’t quite prepared for my energetic daughters on this occasion. Perhaps she’d better prepare for more scenes like the one above? Pic credit below.

Last week I took my daughters back to my parents place for a few days. They had been told some weeks back that a visit to granny and grampy was planned. Both girls were very excited at this prospect, more so because granny had promised to take them lambing.

My stepfather wasn’t around all that much on this occasion so most of the time was spent with gran. I was struggling with a chest infection and so was very grateful to my mother for spending time with the kids and taking the pressure of me.

After day or so, however, I noticed granny seemed to be getting a little exasperated at times. My mother is in her late sixties but has always been naturally physically fit. She doesn’t tire easily. Unlike some other relatives, I have always felt comfortable leaving my offspring with mum as she has been quite capable of keeping up with her grandchildren.

After the umpteenth time of my kids sprinting get across the kitchen floor pretending to be dogs (a favourite game), mum made an interesting comment. She said; “They’re full of energy aren’t they? I thought little girls liked to draw and do crafts. Your brother’s liked to sit down and build things or play on the Nintendo or watch Star Wars.”

This remark has to be seen in context. Firstly, my mother has only raised boys (with the exception of my [half] sister who lived with us during her first marriage; it’s complicated, okay??). Second, she is of an older generation when people had different expectations of boys and girls. Third, my youngest child, Elizabeth, has reached a stage in her development where she is very capable of independent play with her older sister. This would have been the first time my mother had witnessed this to such a degree. It manifested itself in a desire to charge around energetically on all fours pretending to be a dog.

There is no point pretending boys and girls play the same way. They don’t; I think boys can be much rougher. Even so, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard parents who only have sons make some comment about how action-packed their life is, simply because they have male offspring. Girls, in my experience, play a little more gently but they’re equally energetic; climbing, cycling, running and playing in imaginary worlds of their own making as opposed to the team sports, wrestling and superhero games often preferred by boys.

Returning to my family, my daughters are my mother’s only grandchildren. Both my brother’s recently married. Had granny better prepare for many more energetic play sessions? It may be a good idea as I suspect further grandchildren could be on the horizon.

Pic credit; Pierre-Selim Huard. Reproeduced under Creative Commons agreement.

Mummuddlingthrough

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12 Comments

  1. February 25, 2016 / 9:41 am

    As a parent to two girls I have seen both sides of the fence here…certainly when boy friends are over to play they do play in a more ‘rough and tumble’ way to the girls…that said, our youngest is fast, a climber, and our eldest was given ‘time out’ at nursery yesterday for windmilling another child. Sigh.
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub.

    • John Adams
      Author
      February 25, 2016 / 9:44 am

      I’ve seen my eldest paly with boys and it all gets a bit edgy. But….when it comes to energetic activity, I really see no difference. Just as energetic as each other.

  2. February 25, 2016 / 3:04 pm

    To be honest I don’t think it’s a boy/girl thing, I have two boys – my eldest likes to sit and play games, draw, or generally be quiet. He doesn’t often run around the house, but given that he’s 11 that doesn’t surprise me. He never was a run-around-the-house sort and has always been happier to sit quietly. My youngest on the other hand is the complete opposite. He likes football, scooters, outdoors activities, anything where he can run around like a crazy thing. He’s a social boy who loves nothing more than running around with his friends. I’m sure girls are much the same (although I don’t have any) in that they can be vastly different. It’s all down to them, as a person.

    Poor granny, I’m sure she had a good nap once you’d gone home – That’s what my mum would’ve done! 😉

    • John Adams
      Author
      February 29, 2016 / 12:37 pm

      I’m not sure my mother naps to be honest! ANyway, I’m sure you’re right there are big differences within the genders, let alone between them.

  3. February 25, 2016 / 4:16 pm

    I have the same experience with my kids as Morgan does. My oldest was never the active type. He is much happier reading a book or playing video games and while my youngest certainly enjoys playing video games and watching Youtube videos on how to build things in Minecraft, he can only sit for 15 to 20 minutes at a time before he has to get up and run around the house, climbing on the back of my couch (something that he knows really irritates me) and the like. I also grew up with two younger brothers and a younger sister and they were all equally energetic. My sister was a tomboy so she did all of the things my brothers did. We all used to play cops and robbers and superheros when we were kids. It made no difference to us so I don’t know, there are differences in the way girls and boys play but as you said, the energy level seems to be the same.

    • John Adams
      Author
      February 29, 2016 / 12:36 pm

      I was quoting the experts when I said boys and girls play differently. I’ve seen my daughter’s friends at play and I think the boys are a little rougher but there is no difference in energy levels whatsoever. Girls and boys can be equally manic.

  4. February 25, 2016 / 9:40 pm

    We have this the other way round. I am one of 4 girls and on both sides of my family randomly there’s a lot more girls (I have around 30 cousins and only 7 are boys). So my two boys are a new exciting thing and whenever we whirlwind into anywhere, as we tend to, there’s lots of “oh, so this is how boys are!”. I find it strange since I was never into dolls or typically perceived “girls” toys; one of my sisters used to play on a boys’ football team and my youngest sister at the moment plays Gaelic football (which is not for the fainthearted!). I suppose people forget! #coolmumclub

    • John Adams
      Author
      February 29, 2016 / 12:34 pm

      Wow, Gaelic football. That’s pretty hardcore! Then again, so is hocky and that’s often perceived as a girl’s game.

  5. February 28, 2016 / 8:41 pm

    Fascinating, my boys love to sit and draw for hours as much as they like to run/ play. Neither are rough nor do they fight nor do many of my friends’ boys. I do worry kids are constantly pressured by stereotypes. Yes boys have testosterone and there are periods where this surges and they need to release the energy, that’s science but there’s many ways, as you wisely say of being a boy and a girl. My Mum said I had insane levels of energy, physical and mental as a child, much more than my brother. It’s character not gender, right. I hope your chest infection is better. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

    • John Adams
      Author
      February 29, 2016 / 12:31 pm

      Vicki, I think you are still blessed with insane levels of energy! I like you explanation about it being character and not gender. Very well put.

  6. April 29, 2016 / 12:35 pm

    My mother gets shattered by my son, who at five has just hit the superhero stage, before that he had a dolly and buggy. His best friend will come round and draw for hours, mine like to jump off things. I guess its all there little characters. I love your description of the pretending to be a dog…we had a phase of that but I had to copy…ruined my knees!#coolmumclub

    • John Adams
      Author
      April 30, 2016 / 6:27 am

      Oh the old ruined knees thing. Yeah, tends to be a bad back for me as my kids like to pretend I’m a horse.