Never a fan of too much testosterone, Paul Chai wonders if it’s time to man up and allow his two boys to be boys.
I won at eating yoghurt, didn’t I, Dad?” asked my four-year-old boy the other morning at breakfast. This was a big claim from a kid who takes 45 minutes to eat a sandwich, and was even more impressive considering he was the only person who was eating yoghurt. But right now winning is everything to him; he wants to win at being pushed on the swing and he wants to be number one in dairy consumption.
He has also started grunting at inanimate objects when they will not do his bidding, he is at least twice as loud as he was last year, and he can craft a gun out of Blu-Tack. I put all this down to testosterone, which I have made a convenient fall guy for his behaviour for some time.
My early years were spent being raised by a single mum and my maternal grandmother. Later, Mum went through a feminist phase where the various pitfalls of male behaviour were outlined to me early and often, boot-camp style: think The Biggest Loser if they were trying to create metrosexuals instead of skinny people.
The result was a keen eye for male stupidity – “Such a boy thing to do” was an insult in our house – and I came to view it not so much as a Y chromosome, but a “Why?” chromosome: Why scream at the TV remote? Why light your farts? Testosterone, I thought, was overrated.
When it came to having kids, there was little question in my mind that I would have girls – so nature’s hilarious prank of delivering me two boys was a shock.
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