Monday, 12 September 2011

What are little kids made of?

There goes a popular nursery ryhme from the early 19th century

What are little boys made of?
Frogs and snails
And puppy dog's tails
That's what little boys are made of

What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice
That's what little girls are made of

Being a mother of a 10 year old daughter and 4 year old son, I have often pondered at what my little kids are made of. Are they similar in their tastes and interests?Are they different because of being a girl or a boy? Or are they different because they are different people?

When my son was about 2 years old, I started taking him to the park in our housing complex. The first revelation of the difference hit me when I saw that he was more interested in the parking that I had to walk through, than in the park. My daughter had never bothered to look at the cars and the two wheelers in the parking . Her main interest was to go the park for the swing. She was not too keen on the slide, but it was hard to convince her to leave the swing to give turn to the next child. While he likes to swing too, he is equally happy with the slide. But what would give him a real high was to to sit on a motorcycle in the parking and pretend to ride.

My daughter loved picking leaves and flowers in the park. She was fascinated by the different colors and the textures of leaves. Another object, which never failed to catch her attention were the bird feathers. Even now, she has the eye to pick interesting feathers. In our trip to Goa, she picked some parrot feathers. When we visited Kufri zoo this year,outside the pheasantry, she found a feather of the Western Tragopan. These are precious objects of her treasure. My son, on the other hand, occasionally picks up stones and sticks.

At 3-4 years age, my daughter used to get completely bored in car journeys, but he has a great time looking at the road, the various cars, trucks, buses, autos, motorcycles and so on. He has a special fascination for the construction trucks.Thanks to his interest, I and my daughter have also got exposed to this new world of interesting vehicles. We also smile and comment when we see excavators, cranes, road rollers and tractors on the road. We now know that excavators and back-hoes are different, as the latter has a front loader basket.

At this age, my daughter loved collecting dolls. In every trip to the market, she would want to pick up a new one. At times, I found the new one identical to what she had at home, but she would quickly clarify the differences 'Mamma, look, her hair is brown and not black. And her dress is so different'. As soon as we would arrive home, she would sit with all her dolls and get started with a dress-exchanging session. I was amazed to see a similar trait in my son. Not with dolls, but with cars. As soon as a car would be home, he would take the tyres out. It hit me one day when he got me a truck and told me to fit a car tyre in that. Of course it won't fit and he was hard to console.

A common love they had while growing up, was for toy animal sets. But again while she would put them outside her doll houses, he would put them on the big trucks and take them for a ride.

Wait, there is a long list of similarities too. After having disposed off my daughter's old toys, which I thought would be irrelevant for him, very soon, I had to bring myself to buy a kitchen set for my son. Infact he already has two sets by now. He loves rolling chappatis as much as she did. Both of them love playing with clay, sand and water. The both have an inherent love for glue and scotch tapes. My son has been made to progress to a scotch tape fitted in a dispenser, so that I can be relieved of the job of cutting the tape for him all day long. My son spends a good amount of time, fixing things using the tapes. Today morning, when I picked my kurta hanging in the bathroom, down came the churidar too, attached to the kurta with a scotch tape! They both love stickers, the common interest being smileys, stars and other shapes. They love magnets, reading lights, torches, umbrellas. They both love messing around and creating an imaginary world of their own.

While the similarities might have made it easier for the siblings to understand each other, I think it is the differences which have made their little worlds so much richer and interesting.

Do you also sometimes stop and wonder at what your little kids are made of?


  1. Beautiful observations. They both love sketiching on newly painted walls and the human forms in their sketches evolve on similar lines as they grow.

    Happy parenting!

  2. Good observation!! Happy parenting and happy blogging! Keep us updated with their exploits :-)

  3. Thanks Anonymous!

    @Giribala - Thanks a lot for dropping by and giving comments

  4. Hey Bindu: Lovely observations and i think each kid is so different. I have seen samaira on her own graduate from scribbles to a flower telescope to chicken icecream and strawberries:)

  5. @Sonia - I am happy you enjoyed reading. Somehow I thought you would. As a woman, understanding a little girl came naturally to me but parenting a little boy added a few new dimensions (incl searching for videos and songs about excavators on youtube). 4-5 years is a very interesting age and sometimes I think it might be worth recording the observations in a diary.

    Loved reading about Samaira's progression (flower telescope and chicken ice-cream, great imagination and fun)

  6. I think the children's preferences also depend on what they see the parents and the rest of the world do and of course individual tastes.
    Boys' love for cars could be a result of seeing more men than women driving?

  7. @IHM - I was amazed to see how he naturally had an interest in anything on wheels - almost as if he was born programmed! We bought a few toy cars for our daughter too, when she was 3-4 years old. She didn't really play much with them. Recently, she showed interest in some cars when he got them - but they were the color-changing-cars. Now that I remember, she had some interest in trains and still does.


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