| Musings |

Firetrucks and Frills

“Okay, let’s start. At what point did you remove the scissor ban?”


t’s come to my attention that as the lucky mom of only sons, I’m experiencing a completely different type of parenthood than mothers who have either only daughters, or mostly daughters — or at least one daughter.

I’ve been told that if a couple of boys suggest a dangerous game or activity, their sister or sisters will immediately weigh in, refusing to participate in said dangerous game and possibly even alerting an adult before anyone starts to bleed on the furniture.

How interesting. When one of my children comes up with a particularly dangerous idea, his brothers enthusiastically suggest additional ways in which to make this activity even more life-threatening.

In the interest of journalistic integrity and also blatant curiosity, I’ve decided to sit down with a friend who has only daughters and ask her a few questions about her parenting experiences.

Me: Okay, let’s start. At what point did you remove the scissor ban?

Friend: When did I do what?

Me: You know, when did you finally allow your kids to use scissors? After my kids went through a phase where they cut their own peyos, cut their brothers’ peyos, and one time cut the shower curtain into shreds, I banned scissors from the house for a year or so. I just didn’t have the actual physical ability to glue my eyeballs to my children as they crafted.

No worries, though! It’s all good now, and we’ve incorporated scissors back into our home. I was just wondering how you handled it.

Friend: Right. Okay. So… that wasn’t really a thing we needed to do. We just kept the scissors in the craft bin, and it wasn’t an issue.

Me: (jotting down notes, lifting eyebrows) Wasn’t… an… issue… got it!

Next question, all right? Approximately how long did it take to toilet train your kids? Are we talking about three to six weeks, or three to six months?

Friend: (looking slightly green) When my child… wow. So. I hate to tell you this, but at two and a half years old my daughter toilet trained herself.

Me: You know? The traffic must be super loud outside, and I’m not hearing you clearly. It sounded like you said that your daughter… (I check notes) toilet trained herself. Hahaha, how crazy is that! What did you mean to say?

Friend: (nodding weakly) Yes. Exactly that. She did actually toilet train herself. So did my three other girls. Um, should we take a break? You look like you could use a break.

Me: Not at all. I’m fine. Let’s continue, shall we?

You know when I think about raising a bunch of boys, my mind always jumps back to 2020 when we were all in lockdown for weeks upon weeks and the various things I needed to do to occupy and entertain my kids. I remember how we divided the living room and dining room into sections with colored tape and set up a bustling city, complete with a police station, fire station, hospital, school with cars, trucks, and buses.

We also occasionally exploded a volcano on the porch, things like that. How did you keep your girls busy?

Friend: There was a lot of coloring time… and I remember one time we had a tea party — that was great!

Me: A tea party? What does that involve?

Friend: Well, first the girls baked cookies all morning, then they set the table beautifully, and then they got all dressed up, made tea, set out the cookies, and we had a tea party!

Me: Is this a true story?

Friend: Of course!

Me: This is not something you only read about in a magazine and wished happened in real life?

Friend: No, this actually happened in our house!

Me: And no children were harmed during the baking portion of that story? And no plates or cutlery were destroyed during the table decorating part of that story?

Friend: Um… no. It was really great. I have adorable pictures of it. I can send them to you.

Me: Pictures of the tea party? Great idea. I would love that. Super relatable.

Now, if you don’t mind, I think I just need a moment to process this information.

Friend: (kindly) Sure. Take your time.

Me: I’m realizing now that asking you how you prevent your children from destroying a shoe store when shopping for school shoes is probably not something you worry about.

Friend: Not particularly.

Me: And I don’t suppose you’ve ever had to call your husband at work to let him know that you’ve interrupted yet another impromptu wrestling match, and you were concerned that there might be broken or dislocated limbs? Also, you weren’t sure whether a cut needed stitches or just a Band-Aid.

And you probably never needed to call your husband to let him know that the kids were racing around the dining room table, and one tripped and crashed headfirst into the glass door of the breakfront. There was glass everywhere and you needed to know if this child required stitches? And then you quietly thanked Hashem for having had the unwitting foresight to have married a paramedic?

Friend: I can’t say that I’ve ever been in a position even remotely similar to the ones you’ve just described.

Me: Yeah, me neither. They were totally hypothetical. The fact that my husband is a paramedic like the husband in the previous examples is pure coincidence.

Friend: (nods, looks uncomfortable)

Me: Well, thank you so much for your time, this conversation has been most enlightening.

Friend: For both of us.

Me: We should totally do this again. It was such fun. I mean, I think I need to recover a bit from this fun time before I can make plans to do it again, but we definitely should. One day.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 869)

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