Two sons. Two daughters.
It might be a little easier to bond with my sons. Travis loves to play basketball and watch some of the same stuff as I do. Harrison clings to me more than Mara and seems to like everything I do and say everything I say (scary and awesome at the same time.)
But the daughters are different.
Mara will not give her daddy a hug or a kiss unless I act like I don’t want it. She pushes me away and shakes her head back and forth if I go in for either on my own.
When Harrison and I play candyland Mara is always busy.
“Mara you want to play?”
“Naw, I’m busy.”
Then she’ll come by throughout the game and reiterate that fact.
A couple times she’s started playing with us but after her second or third turn she announces she’s busy again and heads over to play with something else.
She doesn’t need me at all for anything. At least, she doesn’t seem to think so.
Travis talks like he doesn’t know I’m in the room (but he does) and says things all the time he thinks will impress me. His insecurities shine through his skin when it comes to his opinions on almost anything other than Marvel movies.
He doesn’t know how he really feels about much of anything yet. He’s ready to take anything anyone tells him, whether it’s his mother, father, friends, family, or anything he sees on the internet or TV and believe it. It’s scary.
When he plays soccer he spends all his time trying to do tricks rather than anything fundamental. Same thing with Basketball. We bought him a hoop. I taught him how to shoot, and anytime we play horse he’s shooting from a mile away. When he throws the ball back to me for my turn it’s almost always a behind the back, under the legs, or no-look pass.
Because that’s what he sees on TV, youtube, social media, etc.
I keep it about 15 feet and in and probably only shoot about 40%. Haven’t lost yet.
Chloe is almost 16 and Mara will be 3 in June. I look at them so much differently than I do the boys.
I’m very softhearted with those two females. In ways I’m sure they notice and feel.
If Chloe comes down stairs and asks me for something the answer 9 times out of 10 is yes. No questions asked.
If Travis does the same I’ll ask 3 or 4 questions and give him a yes maybe 5 out of 10 times.
Mara gets a lot of hugs and kisses while Harrison gets a lot of fist-pounds and high fives.
It might not be the best approach, but I tend to be more of a teacher to Travis and Harrison, and more of a listener to Chloe and Mara.
The reason(s) being it seems like the daughters are more independent and I’m constantly learning things from them.
They both amaze me every single day.
I literally just woke up Mara from her nap a few minutes ago and when I picked her up she said “Heeeey daddy! Are we gonna go downstairs and eat a snack? That sounds like a GREAT idea!” (Big emphasis on the word great from her on that one.)
She’s never said anything like that to me before. I’ve heard her ask for a snack a few times but it’s usually right after Harrison asks for one. And despite talking a lot every time she wakes up, she doesn’t usually ask questions during that period. Most of the time it’s simple commentary like, “I want my doggy,” “Daddy I slept in my bed and didn’t cry,” “Daddy I like laughing.” etc.
It’s crazy to think about what these kids must listen to and take in during the day that I’m completely unaware of. Then you gotta tack on all the stuff they hear from me because I’m constantly with them…
Results in me never knowing it’s coming until POOF…they hit me in the face with something like that I’ve never heard before.
Chloe was crying the other day because she felt Travis never wanted to hang out with her. I can’t ever remember a situation, nor can I even think of one, where my sister and I would have done that back when we were these kids’s age.
Not a chance.
Maybe if some of her friends were over I might pretend that I haven’t talked to her for awhile and take a sudden interest in my sister to get some bogus attention, but every other time I wouldn’t think twice about not hanging out with my only sibling.
My daughters are both so different.
Chloe is always looking out for everybody. There have been countless times where it’s just me and her talking about life where she’ll have a better perspective than I have and make me stop to do a deep dive on something I’ve never thought about.
She likes to keep me posted on how everyone in the house is doing and ask or tell me what we can do for them.
Everyone in the house eats meat. Chloe doesn’t. She makes her own dinner at least five nights a week. I don’t think there’s ever been a point in my life where I made myself dinner five nights a week.
Mara, being so much like her older sister, will often times say something like “we can’t leave Harry behind,” when I start to dress her up to go outside.
And she loves to laugh at herself, while doing something on her own in a corner somewhere.
I’m not like that, (at least I wasn’t as a child) and Harrison and Travis aren’t either. She must get that from her sister and her mom.
Again, I’m no parenting expert, but hit me up in the comments if you have multiple kids of the opposite sex and find yourselves treating them differently.
I stop short of saying there is any sort of gender bias here. I’m not looking at my sons like they’re better than my daughters and/or holding them to a higher standard. And Vice versa. I just think they are all different and need to be handled in their own unique ways.
I don’t believe there is a blueprint or playbook everyone should follow for every kid in the family. Harrison is obviously more sensitive than Mara, and Chloe is definitely more independent than Travis.
Open to advice, life experiences, and stories in the comments.
I’ll respond when prompted.