Let me start off by warning the readers of this post that I am about to be sexist, and what’s more, that I will also engage in outdated, demonstrably untrue gender stereotypes. And yet I believe them and I’m trying to be funny, so being an archaic moron is okay, right? Nice thing about blogging: rhetorical questions.
So, all that said, let me jump in. Ellie, my sweet little girl, is approaching 17 months, the stage at which it is said that a “language explosion” takes place for most children. This is the point at which they progress from being moaning and grunting little beasts and start expressing themselves, sipping espressos, and declaiming the ethical shortcomings of Kantian philosophy.
Ellie seems ready for this to happen. She’s been saying a few words here and there for months now, and has built up a fairly large vocabulary, including a few two word phrases, not all of which are intelligible to people outside of her nuclear family, but I’m counting nonetheless.
Very, very cool stuff, even when she cries “No” and flings blackberries at me, or when she yells “Eew” and points at the crap she just made in her diaper. Cute is the word, and if she were yours I bet you’d agree.
Here’s the rub: JP, at this age, met none of these linguistic landmarks. In fact, he wasn’t talking at all, and didn’t for quite a while after that. Forget the notion of that at his current age silence would be a laughable impossibility–he wasn’t talking then and it was something of a concern.
No big deal, though. JP is, in my humble opinion, a bright boy, and talkative to a fault. My point is that there are ways in which I view children at that age dependent on gender. Many girls, not just Ellie, tend to develop earlier than boys, and not just verbally but physically as well. To me, it has always seemed that little boys at this stage are like wild little animals–like ferrets, perhaps, or foxes, or wombats, or anything small, furry, simple, and untrustworthy with your food and possessions. Girls, on the other hand, are, for better and worse, miniature human beings with all the foibles and grace notes of the species.
Now, please, I am well aware that this is statistically hogwash–boys and girls develop at their own pace, like the little unique snowflakes
gag that they are. And yet I still believe my son was a rabid wolverine and that my daughter is Diane Keaton! So there.