Friday, 2 September 2011

Girls are usually so placid

We rediscover last year's ways of living in Hong Kong, i.e. a four-hour stay in the library, then a stopover at I Scream.

This is a benefit with girls. I am maternally grateful for it everyday, no matter what fresh emotional torture they dream up. I know I can never have it as bad as Mothers of Boys.

I think this because, although I have no sons, I know what it is to have a brother. They settle scores swiftly and violently and throw themselves about - and their sisters too - with no sense of danger.

I still bear the scar where Big Bro made a trolley out of a 1950s television cabinet. To test his new design, he stood his five-year old sister in the back, then gave both a shove from the top of a hill. The only means of stopping was to slam into a wall. When I saw the blood, I retaliated in the brotherly manner in which I had been raised by swinging a wooden plank at his head.

But most girls I know (except Alex) shy away from this oblivious-to-danger point, like home-made bungee ropes cut from mother's bra elastic. I believe girls would, sooner or later, pause to reflect on the consequences of the plan to suspend the rope from an upstairs bedroom window and get their little brother to jump out first.

Of course, if you home educate, you can draw out this tendency of girls and engage them in quieter activities for hours. Angry impulses and violent frustrations you can help them control, and lead them towards calm rationality, gentle expression, and thoughtful discussion.

Indeed, I have known four-year old home educated girls who think an afternoon's discussion about emotional relationships while bent over the Hama beading is the most rewarding and delightful activity. Possibly after knitting, or drawing careful pictures of the teapot. (If you do not know what Hama beading is, congratulations. Please do not depress yourself by finding out.)

Well, I guess I have encouraged similar. The quiet occupation of reading. My daughters 1,2,3, all late readers, were not really that capable or interested until the age of eight or so, but they now choose to sit for hours with books, often written for readers well above their age. As they read, they like to be surrounded by books too, so libraries are places of quiet intellectual inquiry and stimulation.

So it's a gentle day, driven by girl interests.

Tiger has flown into Hong Kong with some determination to compose life as she likes it, such as four-hour library visits, followed by the best gelato. Shark is happy, because she finds the fun-with-fish section augmented, and Squirrel is coming to terms with growing up.

I am coming to terms with Squirrel growing up as well. As of yesterday, thanks to her new mastery of excoriating sarcasm, she is on a different pocket-money rota. Each day I give her seven dollars if she can make it through to bedtime without me wanting to punch her in the face.

A library visit and a rewarding gelato suit us all.


Nora said...
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Nora said...

Ha! That's costing you an awful lot of money. Does she treat at I Scream?

sharon said...

If the daily $7 doesn't work there must be a nunnery somewhere . . . :-)

Gweipo said...

I like this idea. I think I'll give my son some money for every day I don't end up screaming at him at some point or another ... is that sound parenting practice, or who the f cares ...