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pediatrician said it's a Y chromosome thing. He was very reassuring and told me
not to worry. I wasn't exactly worried, just baffled. How did it happen that my
18-month-old son, Phineas, already had an obsession?
Here was a
little boy greeted at birth with a nursery full of non-gender specific toys:
rattles and ducks and black and white squeaky things. As he grew, for every toy
train, we made sure there was a teapot; for every baseball, a baby doll.
Eventually his shelves were crammed with Duplo blocks and crayons and, oh, who
If they weren't his toy trucks, they were books
about trucks. And if they weren't the books, then it was the real thing roaring
and chugging by our living room window. At least five per hour. We had the
garbage truck, the mail truck, the recycling truck, the UPS truck and SUVs
that may as well have been trucks. As they passed, Phineas would sit on the back of
the couch and greet each one like a beloved, diesel-spewing friend.
take long for me to realize the doctor was right. It's a boy thing.
Phineas' friends Gabe and Max and Patrick had the same predilection. Ali,
Phoebe and Chloe did not. Here's how I know. You can try this test in your own
playgroup. Casually ask the other mothers to explain the difference between,
say, a backhoe and a bulldozer, or a platform loader and a grapple. Watch the
mothers of the girls go blank when you mention a grader. Watch the boys'
mothers nod and say things like, "Ah, yes, graders. If it weren't them,
how could anyone scrape away the dirt to make a smooth path for the paver."
After years of raising both a son and daughter, I have to conclude that trucks are in the DNA. They are loud and big and dirty, and most boys have no power to resist them.
I am sure
there are exceptions. There has to be. But I live right next door to a busy
playground where I have yet to see any girl embrace trucks with the same vigor
that I have witnessed in almost every toddler boy. Phineas not only fell asleep
hugging his favorite wooden fire truck (a ladder, not a pumper, for those in
the know). But he often woke us in the night with the plaintive wail of
"Big, big truck!" In the morning, he would pounce on his giant dump
truck as if he missed it while in slumberland. And his only playground battles
involved sharing his flatbed trailer with, of course, other
Once when I had
to scold Phin for climbing onto the dining room table and playing demolition
derby with the books and candlesticks and everything else, he lowered his head
and softly, blamefully muttered "Trwuck." Like the truck made him do
it. Like what choice did he have?
So what does
this mean? How to explain truck mania?
Of course he
would, but not me. I pictured five little boys drooling as 65,000 horsepower
worth of diesel-burnin' steel clashed and collided in a muddy field. When I
proposed that I would rather host 50 sugar-high tykes in our home than be
dragged to such an event, my husband got this sheepish look, and said,
"Well, I don't mind taking them. I've always wondered what those rallies
What could I
do but shake my head? Perhaps genetic engineering is my only hope.