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The Insiders

The Insiders

Every parent of all girls or all boys has all kinds of ideas about why that particular arrangement is preferable to another.
That’s just what we do.

As the mother of three daughters, or a girl-maker as I have referred to myself in the past, I can reel off a host of reasons I’m thankful we did not produce the boy I thought I wanted for twenty minutes some thirteen years ago. Okay, I’ll admit it right now: There was a time when I thought it might be interesting to have at least one of each. That changed the very instant our third baby girl made her grand and spirited entrance, with her jet-black hair, reminiscent of Don King, and her first clenched and raised in support of the sisterhood. A true believer in the adage that good things come in threes, I knew there would not be a number four – so no chance for a boy! – not without divine intervention at least.

Girls_DressUpAnd so the case began to build. I heard myself saying things like, “We have all the girl stuff!” and “I know how girls work!” It’s not that I have anything against boys. There’s one in particular I have chosen to spend the rest of my life with. And my father and my brother? They’re pretty amazing, too. But like my cousin says about her own boy brood, I do believe God gave me daughters for a reason. During no other time of the year does this become more apparent than wintertime, when the days are shorter and your house can seem exponentially smaller – in direct correlation to the number of kids with which you have been blessed.

Like most parents, especially those who work from home or have chosen to stay at home full-time to manage a family, I know exactly where I stand on outside play: It rocks!

Over the years, I have developed many ways to get my children to go outside. There’s the errand approach (like returning library books or walking to the store for milk), the chore angle (like sweeping the driveway or washing the car), and one of the most effective strategies I’ve found thus far – locking all the doors.

For the most part, my daughters have come to appreciate the great outdoors. Much to my delight, I have witnessed them coordinate four-square tournaments, design scooter obstacle courses, and orchestrate pick-up basketball games with neighbor friends (after sweeping the driveway, of course.) My oldest is actually lobbying big-time for a class camping trip. But when conditions turn frosty in winter, there is no getting around it; I have to let them in. And sometimes, they have friends with them.

This is when I’m happiest we made girls. (Warning! You’re about to read some serious generalizing.) Girls, it seems, are just hard-wired for inside play. They love to paint, color, and draw. They love to read.They like crafts. Give a girl a pair of googly eyes, a little yarn, and some markers and she can turn a sock, lunch bag, or paper plate into a puppet that could kick Elmo’s butt. And again, this is just my experience, but when they’re younger, girls play house, school, store, and restaurant. They put on shows, with costumes, music, and choreography. When they’re older, they invite friends over to work on school projects or conduct science fair experiments. They bake brownies. And if you’re really lucky, they do all of these things with each other – in another room – and nobody ends up injured or crying.

I know there are completely tolerable, nay, wonderful, boys out there. And congratulations and many thanks to you for raising them. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want my daughters to date your sons one day. After they graduate from college.

So for me at least, having a house full of women children, as my husband sometimes calls them, makes surviving the winter months in the great indoors a lot easier. I’ve heard from many parents, of teenaged girls especially, that this will change.

But for now – it rocks!

Karen Schwartzkopf
Karen Schwartzkopf has her dream job as managing editor of RFM. Wife, mother, arts and sports lover, she lives and works in the West End with her family: husband Scott, who not coincidentally is RFM’s creative director, and their daughters – Sam, Robin, and Lindsey. You can read Karen’s take on parenting in the Editor’s Voice.

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