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I grew up in a family of three girls. My two sisters and I were the quintessential “good girls.” I’m not bragging. We were girls growing up in the fifties. It’s just how it was. We weren’t rowdy or rebellious, though a touch of that came later…

We followed rules, paid attention in school, and did what we were supposed to do.

I don’t remember our parents ever having a conversation with us, for example, about table manners.  We intuitively seemed to know not to put our elbows on the dinner table or talk with a mouth full of food. We said please and thank you.

Like I said – good girls.

Contrast that with the stories my husband tells of his experiences growing up in a household of three boys.

They were good boys, but boys all the same.

Apparently there was a lot of rough housing. You know how boys are: rabbit punching each other in the arm, wrestling, seeing who was the toughest fighter. With boys, even young boys, it seems to be all about position and power. I’m stronger, tougher, and meaner than you are so bow down before me.

You will do what I want, or pay the consequences.

When we compare the differences, we laugh.

Boys and girls are very different.

Big “duh” I know.

Last Sunday when we were out feeding our horses, we were quite entertained by a group of three horses who’d been turned out in an adjacent dry lot.

These three were demonstrating boy behavior in spades.

They were wound up and (I think) really glad to be out of their stalls and in the fresh air.

They would sidle up to each other and then give a nip to the hindquarters or neck. And then they’d run, with the victim in hot pursuit.

A few minutes later, someone else would get a nip and off they’d go.

They’d chase, and whinny and kick at each other.

And then, they’d be right back in a little knot of kicking, nipping, whinnying boys.

It had to be boys.

“Why don’t they just stay in separate parts of the pasture?” I am so naïve.

My husband just laughed.

“And miss all the fun?” he said.

“But if they don’t want to get bitten…”

“It’s all part of the game,” he said. “They’re having fun with each other.”

He went on to say that it reminded him of he and his brothers waiting to go to church.

“Didn’t you get your good clothes all messed up?”

“We didn’t care,” he said.

Foreign, completely foreign behavior to me.

Then I thought about the word horseplay and a big light bulb started flashing in my mind.

Boys and horses.

Now I understand.

So tell me, are you from a family of all girls, all boys or boys and girls? Or are you an only child?

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