She pulled at the packaging, slightly uncoordinated, but that is to be expected of a two year old. As small amounts of wrapping began to peel away from the present, more and more became exposed. First a tiny plastic hand, then part of a pink dress was revealed. Finally with some help, the present was unwrapped, a beautiful little princess doll! Immediately Danika grabbed it and with the care of a woman years past her age, cradled it in her arms! Amazing! In that moment as I looked on all I could do was wonder, “How does a girl not much older than a baby herself, know how to hold a baby?” Were it to have been a young boy he probably would have grabbed the small toy and turned it into a small weapon, or possibly just gnawed on its appendages! I stood there for a moment in wonder, then the party went on.
Pink vs Blue Defined
That memory has been with me for the last 12 years or so. It was one of those ‘AHA!’ moments where I realized that, from the beginning of their lives, girls and boys are very different. Those differences from early on formulate how we see the world. How we communicate and react to situations. In the book, “Love and Repect” by Dr Emerson Eggerich, this very phenomenon is addressed by using a simple analogy. Pink sunglasses vs blue sunglasses. What Dr Emerson states is “Men and women can look at precisely the same situation and see life very differently.” He also says the same about hearing, using pink hearing aids vs blue. “When a wife says, ‘I’ve got nothing to wear,’ what does she mean? ‘I’ve got nothing new.’ When her husband says the same thing, he means, ‘I’ve got nothing clean.’”. The funny part of it is, they are both right! They are saying the exact same thing, but have two totally different meanings.
Our Pink vs Blue Moment
The other day while my brother in law was in town. We both decided to take the children over to the neighbors to play. The plan was for our wives to have some quiet time to talk and for the kids to get some time to run around outside the house. A total of 5 children under the age of 6 were in the care of 3 adult men. Should be no problem. As they ran around the house, darting from inside to outback, things seemed to be going just fine. Then another neighbor knocked on the door with his son. He had never been over so to be cordial I decided to give him a tour. Before I did, I located my 3 year old daughter Everly and gave her specific instructions. “Stay inside or play outback” I told her. She said ok and then asked where mommy was. “She is at home across the street” I said. Then I repeated my previous instructions and commenced the tour. Not 5 minutes later there was a knock at the door. April had come over and from what I could tell she was upset. “What’s up?” I asked. “Everly walked across the street unsupervised to our house” She said. Then she looked around, saw all the children playing and said. “Maybe you should just bring our kids back over to the house so they can play in the back yard.”
Already feeling like an incompetent father, that phrase immediately touched a chord in me. “I am perfectly capable of watching the children!” I replied in an irritated tone. She left shortly after that and a “heated discussion” ensued that lasted until midway through the next day. Once we finally got some time alone to really discuss things, which can be difficult when family is in town. We talked over the issue. “Maybe you should just bring our kids back over to the house so they can play in the back yard.” I told her she had said. I expressed to her how I felt insulted because she was suggesting in anger, that I cannot keep an eye on our littles in a public setting. That was not what she meant at all. “Honestly I was scared not angry, I was trying to suggest a safer place for all the children to be so you could see them all at once.” April said.
Here is what we learned
I wanted to take a little time today to write about Pink Vs Blue because April and I are familiar with it firsthand. When it happens and confrontation emerges try not to jump to conclusions. Take a break from each other if needed, sometimes this will help calm things down. Then when you do have time alone, listen. Do your best to take the hearing aids out and put the other sides in. Quite often you will find that what was said, was not intended to be heard the way it was.
- Take 20 minutes from the heated discussion and do something that calms you down. Research shows that when you take a break for 20 minutes, it relaxes the “fight or flight” responses.
- Have a code word for when you need to take a break. When you start to get to the “fight or flight” stage, say “your word here”. Ours is “Monopoly!” 😉
- Learn to love your partners’ differences. Accept that they are there to help you, not hurt you.
- It is OK to go to bed angry. Nothing good can come of tired minds and trying to force a solution. A good night’s rest and time to think will help resolve issues faster and with less irritation.
Pink vs Blue, not wrong, just different.
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