What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice. That’s what little girls are made of. What are little boys made of? Snips and snails and puppy dogs tails. That’s what little boys are made of.
The funny thing about this nursery rhyme is that I still want to believe it. My parents and grandparents would say it to me over and over… my formative …learning about the world years. I definitely got the message that girls and boys were different. I understood that I was supposed to be sweet and nice. I also knew that boys liked snails and little creatures that would make a girl squirm. How funny that short rhyme would be at the core of my thinking.
When I was in high school and belonged to the future teachers of America I decided I needed to plan for those little rascal boys. I didn’t want to flip out when one pulled a frog out of his pocket. That was the actual image I had.
So I started by learning to hold snakes and in fact I eventually owned several … had a pet tarantula, hatched baby chicks, pet iguana, mice, rabbits. I was comfortable around all of them. Now I was ready for classes with those boys …bring them on.
The funny thing was not one ever surprised me with a frog in his pocket. One did pull out a baby prairie dog for his sharing and it bit me when I grabbed it to protect the kids. The principal sent me immediately to the hospital to get a tetanus shot. The truth was the tables were turned I was the one that taught the boys to hold snakes, tarantula etc.
Then as the world turned my image of girls being made of sugar and spice and everything nice had to change. I still remember being so crushed the first time I heard a girl use the f-word. Obviously I was in a protected life…. I remember a friend say she couldn’t get over how nice my family talked with each other…I saw a canvas zipper bag with the modern updated version. “Not all girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. Some girls are made of coffee and cuss words, adventure and laughter, smarts and strength.” I confess I have changed with the times and some of those words apply to me. However, not once in my whole life has the f-word left my lips. I hope that stays true to the end of my days. In my old fashioned thinking that’s just not lady like. How funny it is what shapes who we are…So hard to shake those early days. Almost didn’t share this because it seems so childish…hmm it is however true … so the virtues I still cling to.