Thursday, 2 April 2015

Dora the Explorer: A New Experience for Me

For the past twenty-eight years, I have been the only female in the house. With the brief exception of a beagle puppy named Heidi, every pet and person in our household has been male except me. I've enjoyed this. I revel in the sound of teenage boys laughing and rough-and-tumbling, the satisfying feeling of loading the table with food and having it disappear in ten seconds, the feeling of being surrounded by tall males as I walk through a mall. I like watching martial arts movies and I have become accustomed to seeing only blacks and blues in the laundry. Not once in twenty-eight years have I wistfully wondered what it would be like to have a daughter. A houseful of males is like having a litter of puppies, all enthusiasm and energy.

So I wondered, admittedly, if I would survive having two more females in the house when my daughter-in-law and granddaughter joined the group. At first it was completely unfamiliar territory -- "Frozen" dolls, pink clothes, princess dresses with toile tutus, and sequins and glitter (this granddaughter is a girlie sort of kid). Dora the Explorer on TV. My Little Pony. It's a whole universe of stuff I wasn't familiar with.

I needn't have worried. They have slipped into the household without much of a ripple, and it has become familiar and comfortable. The other night all the males went to band practice, and the daughter-in-law (DIL)and I watched Into the Woods -- a musical my husband wouldn't sit down and watch -- and it was absolutely fun. When I jumped up at a break to do the dishes, DIL came and helped me, and the two of us sped through it like clockwork, making it fast and efficient. I couldn't help remarking, "You can see the advantage of polygamy..." We laughed about it, but really, there's truth in it. Having another woman around to help change wet sheets at 2 a.m., to remember to switch the laundry, to empty the dishwasher, and to watch chick flicks with is a new and pleasant experience. When one is too tired to get up and do something, the other jumps in to do it. But it goes beyond the practicalities. I mean, my husband can fill that role and does so very neatly. But there's something different about having another female around. A sense of there being an inside joke, when our eyes will meet over the toddler's head and we both totally understand each other.

I wasn't aware of what I was missing.

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