On Little Girls and Boys


What are little boys made of, made of?

What are little boys made of?

Snips and snails and puppy-dog tails;

That’s what little boys are made of.


What are little girls made of, made of?

What are little girls made of?

Sugar and spice and everything nice;

That’s what little girls are made of.


I remembered this rhyme when I put Niece and Nephew to bed last night, after reading the requisite four books (one of which must have been a translation of a French book because the rhymes and meter were so off; even with kids’ books one can’t help being a literary critic). Niece, who has a hair obsession, called me to her bed so she could play with and stroke my hair. Then Nephew called me over to his.

‘What for?’ I asked, bending close so I could hear him.

‘So I can fart in your face, Auntie.’

‘That’s disgusting,’ I told him, and promptly went back to Niece’s bed, while he laughed at his own joke.



On Feminist Jokes


At the dinner table the other evening, we started telling jokes. I only have two in my repertoire, the first one being thus: An English man, Irish man and Australian man are sitting around a table having afternoon tea with their wives. The English man says to his wife, ‘Pass the sugar, sugar.’ The Irish man says to his wife, ‘Pass the honey, honey.’ And the Australian says to his wife, ‘Pass the tea, bag.’

I know, it’s side-splitting stuff.

My sister wanted to know the only other joke in my keeping. ‘Oh, the children won’t get it,’ I said. On being assured this didn’t matter, I told my second joke:

A female brain cell was implanted into a male brain. She looked around and found it very empty.

‘Hello,’ she called out, ‘is anybody here?’ There was no response.

She tried again. ‘Helloooo? Is anybody in here?’

Again no response, so she shouted, ‘Hello! Is anybody in here?

Finally she heard a very tiny voice crying out, ‘We’re all down here!’

My sister started laughing and said, ‘Ah, that’s a very feminist joke.’  My niece, all of five, piped up, ‘What’s a feminist?’

‘Well,’ I began, exultant at being able to impart this vital piece of information so early on in Niece’s education, ‘a feminist is a person who believes in equal rights for men and women. That means both men and women should work, and men should help with the washing up, and bringing up the babies. But equality isn’t happening very fast, so we need feminists to help make change.’

Niece paused, then said, ‘Auntie Jess?’


‘Tell me another one.’

I just about wet myself laughing until Niece, who is frightened by excess, implored me to stop, and I duly did so.