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The Real Difference Between Men and Women

May 27, 2009

Forget anatomy.  It’s all about maternal vs. paternal instincts.

True story:  I once found my daughter (age three) playing with an open container of motor oil.  Why was she playing with an open container of motor oil, you ask?  Because we were at a barbecue and my husband was “watching” her.  Problem was, he became engaged in conversation and momentarily forgot not only that he had procreated, but also that said progeny was toddling around a strange, non-childproof home with no supervision because he who was supposed to be supervising was engaged in conversation.  Boggles the mind, does it not?

Fortunately my maternal radar kicked in despite the fact that, number one, I wasn’t supposed to be the one keeping track of her, and number two, I was engrossed in my own conversation.  After realizing she was nowhere to be seen I quickly located her around the corner exploring with great interest the aforementioned non-Consumer Product Safety Commission-approved “play” item.

A friend of mine, father of three (all currently hale and hearty despite what you are about to read) once told me several hair-raising stories about near disasters with his kids…all on his watch. 

Prior to the incidents he was always a bit irritated by his wife’s tediously detailed and obvious instructions.  “Hold his hand when you cross the street.”  “Make sure the buckles on the car seat are latched.”  “Keep an eye on them at the park.”  “Don’t forget the baby’s in the back seat and leave her there.”   Clearly, he felt, she visualized a big neon “vote of no confidence”  sign over his head every time he took any of the kids somewhere on his own.  

Then he actually did forget the baby was in the backseat and left her alone in the car at the grocery store not ten minutes after his wife saw them off at home with what he thought was a rather condescending, “Don’t forget you have Susie with you!”  It didn’t take him long to realize his mistake, abandon the shopping cart in the middle of the aisle and race back out to the parking lot.  His daughter was sleeping peacefully and neither she – nor his wife – ever knew what had happened.  He, however, swears he aged about twenty years in the minute it took to run out to the car.

The good news, besides the fact that his daughter was fine, was that he finally had an epiphany.  He really did need an extra reminder or two, and his wife really was better tuned in to keeping an eye on the kids. 

Now let me be clear:  this isn’t about man-bashing.  I just think it’s pretty obvious that women have a sixth sense when it comes to their kids.  So guys, don’t be offended by our micromanaging.  Just appreciate it for what it is.

And vive la difference!

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