Monday, September 3, 2012

Boys and Girls

The Surgeon likes the morning.  He likes them especially when he is off call and has no obligations to drive in to the hospital.  On these mornings he enjoys being in the presence of his two children.  There is a girl and a boy.  The girl is older.  Of course there is an element of sibling jealousy/rivalry but nothing pathologic.  The Surgeon has always worried about his little girl.  He wants to protect her and shield her from harm.  He worries that she doesn't eat enough.  He worries that living in two separate households will affect her negatively.  He worries about her development.  When she runs on the driveway, he catches his breath, terrified she will fall.  When she scrapes her knees he feels the pain as his own.   He wants her to be happy, always.  As for the boy, the Surgeon finds that he wants to tackle him and wrestle him and toss him laughing into the air.  When he bumps his little head, the Surgeon is not wracked with terror.  He'll shake it off, he thinks.  The boy is a litttle rough neck and eats like a starving wild boar and the Surgeon wants him to be strong and resilient, for the world is a harsh and unforgiving place. 

The Surgeon is troubled by these two attitudes.  He feels sexist, or at least somewhat unequal, in his perceptions/behaviors toward the boy and the girl.  One must treat one's children all equally.  This is such an obvious, fundamental principle that to state it out loud is ludicrous.  The surgeon has two children.  The boy has turned one and is not so much a novelty, a lump of carbon, anymore.  The boy has a distinctive personality now.  He burrows his head into the carpet and wails when he is mad.  He smiles and reaches for the Surgeon when he comes home.  The girl is in preschool.  She can spell her own name.  Sometimes she doesn't want Dada (the Surgeon) to take her to the potty because "he is a boy and she is a girl".  She is unaware of the distinction between men and boys.  He has two children.  He loves them both, equally, but in different ways.  He loves them terribly.     


rlbates said...

Glad to see you posting again.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, I missed reading your writing.

Deborah said...

I have a boy and a girl too. Amazing, isn't it, that two kids in the same family can have such different needs? Loved the post.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, I apologize if this is too personal, but you said you worry about them living in two different homes? Did you get divorced?
I only ask because I'm a doc in Cleveland as well and maybe going through the same thing... would like to just know there's someone else out there who survived that.

Anonymous said...

Well, hey stranger.

Big changes. All the kids want is to have time with you doing things together. Remember this especially in the next few years - it's time over "things", it really is. Perfection means weakness and failure everywhere but in the OR. Let them fall. Best fall while you are there to catch them or guide them. If they don't fall they will never be confident.