You see, I was "the girl" in my crowd when I was little. I've always been a bit of a tomboy (or, as we call girls in Montana who like to play sports, climb trees, traipse around in fields, creeks and mountains and find dresses delightful but too impractical to wear on a daily basis, "normal") and I loved spending so much time with the boys. My sisters are 5 1/2 years and 7 1/2 years older than me, so in they weren't a big part of my life when I was growing up in the same way that my brothers were. With a twin brother and another three years older than me, there was never any shortage of boys around. All the kids who lived close (my cousin, Adam; the next door neighbor, Brian; and neighbor Trent--and his four brothers) were boys. So that's who my playmates were. My days consisted of playing machine guns in the haystacks and building forts in the lilac trees outside Grandma's house and the willows and cottonwoods by the creek (if you don't think lilac trees are strong enough for forts, you underestimate the ingenuity of determined five year olds). I remember one time when I was about Keilana's age, Brian's older sister (a year older than me) invited me over to play Barbies. After about 10 minutes of holding the doll, I finally asked what we do. She responded that we put different outfits on them and fix their hair. "That's it?" After my days with the boys, this seemed somewhat pointless and silly to me. I loved my boys, all of them (still do).
But sometimes I watch girls who grew up with all these sisters, or with at least one sister they were close to, and envy a little what I missed. When I got to high school, I learned to enjoy being one of the girls (though I never did get accustomed to the drama that tends to accompany female relationships) and started to wish I'd had more female playmates all along. As much as I loved my days filled with male-oriented activities, the fact is that I am a girl, and sometimes those boys could be a little overwhelming. I should be grateful for that, though, I guess. When the boys just got to be a little much and I needed some time that didn't involve hitting things (or each other), pretending to shoot things or (as we got older) blowing things up, I would retreat to the company of my books, notebooks and pens, which have proved to be some of my best companions.
I delight in all the girliness of my little girls, so I may have to steal Alexa now and then to make sure she gets some tea parties and stuffed animal safaris mixed in with the wars and broken windows. Just to make sure she knows that sometimes her brothers may tease her for being weird or silly, but she is in fact quite normal--boys just have a tendency, when they're young, to think all things feminine are silly or weird.