Most children Paolo's age have figured out that there are two genders. If you were to ask a 4-year-old what makes a boy different from a girl, he or she would probably reference a difference in...equipment. At least that's what I assume. I'm not about to ask a 4-year-old that particular question, or any question at all if I can help it. It's not that I can't take the answer; I can't stand having to repeat the question at ever-increasing volume until I get the kid's attention just so I can ASK THE QUESTION AGAIN.
Thankfully, Paolo presented me with his understanding of the difference in sexes without my having to inquire. Girls are sweet and boys are awesome. That's it. That's the difference. While "sweet" is a little pink and ruffly for my taste, it's not like he's saying little girls stink or are in some way inferior to boys. Girls just have their own thing going on, they're over there in the sweet club baking cupcakes. Since I can't put my finger on exactly what it is that disturbs me about these classifications, I have to let them go. Besides, it makes for some good anecdotes. Once I called Paolo sweetheart and had to endure a lecture on his awesomeness. Also, there are colorful stick figures painted on the set of glass doors at Paolo's school, a girl on one and a boy on the other, and Paolo will only go through the awesome door. Amusing, yes? Well, it makes me smile. I figure if your kid doesn't put a smile on your face as least as often as he puts a frown on your face, your kid probably sucks. (On second thought: More likely, you're not paying attention. Hang up and parent.)
I asked Sam the other night if he knew about the sweet/awesome thing. He replied that he did, and he sounded so familiar with the concept that I then asked if he had taught it to Paolo. Without missing a beat, or even looking up from the paper, he answered, "Oh no, I would never say girls are sweet."