By KATE HUNTER
Why do boys get such a bad rap?
When I tell people we’re having ten of my son’s mates over for his twelfth birthday, why do they squeeze my arm and look at me with pitying eyes?
Why, when I say how much I enjoy our son and his friends do they reply, ‘Yes, they’re lovely now, but just you wait.’ As if they’re foreseeing the apocalypse?
I hate to say it (but I will) it’s often the mothers of all or only girls who express the most sympathy. They’re a teensy bit scared of boys.
They worry if boys outnumber girls in a class by even one, and stress if the playground’s a bit testosteroney. They’ll keep well away from a group of boys at the movies and hide breakables if a boy should visit their home.
When did ‘boys will be boys’ become shorthand for, ‘Behaving like rabid dogs’?
I want to shout, DON’T BE SCARED OF THE BOYS. They’re not all ill mannered, rough, foul-mouthed imbeciles. They may turn into them, sure, but so might our girls, so until they do, let’s treat them like they’re terrific. Because they are. The ones I know, at least.
When our daughter was born two years after our boy, people gushed, ‘Oooh, how lovely for you to have a little girl!’ The inference being she would be someone to drive me to the podiatrist when I’m eighty. Going on current form, I’d much rather my son cared for me in my dotage than our girls. They’d sign me into the cheapest nursing home available, sell my jewellery and party with the proceeds.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration (I’m hoping), but I often feel that although these days boys and girls are equally welcome, two girls would be preferable to two boys. Calmer, quieter, less aggressive, less messy.
I wouldn’t know. I have just the one boy – and who knows how different he’d be if he’d had a brother not two sisters? Or how different we’d be as parents.
All I know is that today, on his twelfth birthday, that although our beautiful son is obsessed by cricket, he’s also kind, clever, generous, funny. Long may it last. Except the cricket bit. No, even that.
Do you think boys get a bad rap as children? Do you have boys or girls?