Competitive Girls

I had the pleasure of being on Radio 4’s Womans Hour last week in order to talk about my favourite complaint; too many women in a house with only one bathroom.

The subject turned towards the competitiveness difference between male and female offspring.

Another guest, who had a house full of boys, told of how they turn even the simplest of tasks into a measure of who is the best.

I can’t say that the Molineaux females have ever been that competitive; preferring to gang together to discuss nails, makeup, clothes, and TV.

There are, however, odd occasions where they are quite happy to move in to fight mode. The one that springs to mind is when we organised family Easter Egg hunts for them when they were children.

As parents we tried to set the rules of the game such that each of the four girls would end up with an equal amount of chocolate.

Our intentions were rarely realised as the girls dashed around the house fighting their way towards their Easter reward.

Our girls are now grown up, with the youngest approaching nineteen, so such events are part of our collective folklore. Last year however we managed to perform a minor miracle and get all the girls, plus husbands, together for the Easter break.

The conversation soon turned to recollections of the fun they had all had during their earlier years, when my Mrs Molineaux’s eldest suggested they organised one now.

What you need to understand is that when she suggested that ‘they’ organised it what she actually meant was that I did it. The collective shout of ‘Daaaaaaaad!’ drew me from the kitchen to hear about their plans.

I dashed to the supermarket to see if there were any Easter eggs left at such short notice and managed to collect together enough items to make it a true competition.

As in earlier years the family were sent out for thirty minutes so that I could run around the house like a mad man with handfuls of melting chocolate.

When they returned I explained the rules not least so that our new son-in-laws could join in too. They looked slightly bemused and for a moment I worried about their safety but I figured they were old enough to deal with what ever trauma might come their way through this new experience.

I signalled the start of the race and too our amazement, and parental delight, the girls reverted to young children again and assumed their earlier roles. Daughter number one screamed her way from room to room. Daughter number two failed to see even the most obvious of hidden treasure. Offspring number three quietly collected a hoard of quality chocolate, and Mrs Molineaux’s youngest happily took chocolate from her sister’s collections.

It was like going back in time except that is for the presence of two rather bemused lads who didn’t quite know what had hit them.

Are males more competitive than females; probably yes but not when it comes to Easter egg hunts.