I think my head just exploded.
OK, first I’ll set aside the scolding re: entertaining boys is limited to sitting them down in front of video games and ignoring them for “hours on end.” OR “Endlessly entertaining” your todler via Elmo on TV. Insert your own diatribe here.
But there is an interesting point here. [Please insert general “in my experience” disclaimer here and apply it to the whole post so I can be free to paint with a broad brush and not deal with a lot of individual exceptions that will inevitably follow.] Girls tend to be more verbal and more interested in building relationships with their caregivers through talk and experimenting with process. Boys tend to be more locomotive, and build relationships through final results and showing what they can accomplish. What this means in the real world is that if you have two similarly aged children and you give them both paints and paper, the girl will generally want you to sit next to her and talk about what she’s doing before and as she’s doing it, while the boy will be happy to paint on his own and show you his work when he’s done. They both want feedback, but the girl will want it during the process, and the boy wants it for the final result.
OR, say they’re both playing with a ball in the yard. The girl is more likely to hold onto the ball and talk for a bit, or to try kicking it, then throwing it, then bouncing it, and to keep a running commentary and ask for feedback about how her different techniques work and if she’s doing it “right”. She will measure success based on your catching the ball - if you can catch it, she’s done it “right”. A boy is more likely to keep kicking or keep throwing or keep bouncing (whatever he started with), but doing it harder, faster and higher, making it more intense until there’s no way you can catch it off him. He’s succeeded when the game is no longer two-player, in effect.
OR, say they’re playing with a kitchen set. Again, the girl is more likely to want you to sit and listen to her talk about cooking and what she’s doing, the boy just as happy if you’re sitting off in another area of the room so he can bring you your “meal” when it’s done.
So I’d say even with real interaction activities (as opposed to passive entertainment or video games), girls generally demand a bit more of their caregiver’s ongoing attention and interaction, simply because they’re interested in sharing process, where boys are interested in sharing product.
Even with video games, girls want me to sit with them and watch them progress through the game. Boys want me to check out their final score.
There are also very few video games that are designed and marketed for girls (and most of those geared at shudder shopping), and most girls I know may play a few rounds of Mario Kart or Halo, but just aren’t held in thrall as long as boys. This goes for preschoolers all the way to college and beyond. I have male friends who will literally play video games all day long, not even pausing to eat. I have no female friends with that level of dedication.