“how are girls and boys different?”

asks my son today.

Coffee shop, students.  Answer:

“What do you think, son?”

———————————-

Sitting at Beantraders today while little e. dances away upstairs, w. asks me how boys and girls are different.  Fair enough question, I suppose, from a child who informs me daily who he is going to marry at school.  I look around and see 15 disaffected Duke students plugged into their laptops, some with earbuds in, many without.  We have already been interrupting their public study hall with our “Book in a Bag” reading and backpack cleaning out.  I don’t feel like being their dinner time conversational fodder.  “You’ll never believe what I heard this mom saying to her kid today.  She was, like, explaining the anatomical differences between males and females RIGHT THERE IN THE COFFEE SHOP!  EWWWW!”

So I opted for the fall back parenting question technique, the tactic that has served me so well in the past in many stickier situations than this one.

“Well, sweetie, what differences have you noticed?”  Bear in mind, dear reader, that my son regularly takes baths with his sister.  Anything could have popped out.  His reply?  “Well, girls usually have longer heads like yours. (Thanks, sweetie).  And their hair must grow faster; that’s why it’s usually longer.”

Public conversation over.  Dignity intact.  Question answered.  We returned to our respective drinks and discussed how much more mud would have to be on his pants before we would call them “brown” instead of “gray.”

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