I sat around this weekend and watched my husband and my sons play what seemed to be the 57th round of some game on Playstation 2. Screams of "You're gonna die, man" and moans of "Oooohhhh, Nooooooo" filled the air.
This Sunday-afternoon ritual doesn't usually bother me since my children aren't allowed to play video games during the week (I've had to put on combat gear to enforce that one). But today was a little different. I just don't get video games. I've always thought it to be a truly testosterone driven passion (call me sexist if you want). This Sunday, however, not only was my 12-year-old DD playing along with the boys, but my 4-year-old DD had joined in, too.
"Niara," I heard my 8-year-old son say, "you are good. You're gonna beat the score and you don't even play that much."
I was floored.
My DH concurred. "Man, Niara. You are doing it."
Doing what? I wondered. Whatever it is, it's not something I can share with my girls.
I look at my boys and I think: That's kinda cool that my husband can bond with them at the video console. I know my sons thrive on the competition and enjoy the trash-talk (age-appropriate, of course: "Daddy, prepare for a long, merciless whooppin'" — a little SpongeBob reference... SpongeBob? Something else I don't get).
My boys are definitely men's men, but my girls? Is there such a thing as a woman's woman?
A good place to start this analysis is with me.
I grew up in a house with all girls, so my father was stuck with mall trips and Maxi Pad purchases. I shared a love of football and Scrabble with him, but once I got older (and got into boys), we didn't do much together. My mother loves to shop, and as you all know, I hate to shop. I also don't like girly-girl stuff: ruffles, makeup, pink clothes. On the other hand, I do love to cook — and my mother does not. She doesn't do any creative activities either, like art or photography. So again, I ask:
What's a woman's woman?
Let's take my girls.
My oldest daughter loves to sew and knit (got that from my mother-in-law). She loves to discount shop (got that from my mother), but she hates wearing dresses, skirts, and dress shoes (I love a funky skirt and some pumps). She's merciful, considerate, sensitive, but not too sheltered. She loves having fun, is a great friend, and I really like being around her. She prides herself on being an eternal optimist. She's starting to care more about her skin and hair, but she's not over-the-top with it like some of her peers.
Now, my youngest daughter...she's quite girly. Loves pink (if anyone buys her one more pink thing, I will scream) and playing dress-up as a princess or a mommy (me, I was playing dress-up as the President). She's so loving and so sensitive. Every baby she meets she tries to hug and kiss (whereas I ran from babies and had to be begged to babysit). She's pretty high maintenance but not quite at diva status. She's often underestimated. She's a protector, maybe even a warrior. When someone gets out of line with her or her siblings (and not just the baby), she's fearless. She tells them off or pushes them around — literally. She has been known to make a 10-year-old girl cry.
"Mommy, I had to teach that girl a lesson. She shouldn't have been picking on me." She likes Power Rangers and is always available for a wrestling match with her three brothers.
Both girls like to cook and to read (another one of my passions). And they like SpongeBob, video games and electronic gadgets (someone please tell me why iPods have generations...are they giving birth?).
So, I think I found the answer.
A real woman's woman doesn't fit in the box, doesn't prescribe to any stereotype. She's confident, relaxed, loves following her passion, and at the same time, she's fierce, loving and will protect her loved ones even when they're big enough to protect themselves.
Now, what's our bonding activity? Hot chocolate and yelling at the girls during the
America's Next Top Model marathon.