While Moms cleared the lunch dishes, the little girls in their party dresses and Mary Janes arranged the gifts for formal presentation to the day’s birthday girl.

“Where did the boys go?” asked the Moms. “They went outside.” The Moms looked through the window. Sure enough, the carefully-dressed little boys were outside all right — having hose fights in the mud.

True, there are such special messy moments in the lives of raising boys. But according to a new Gallup Poll, most parents wouldn’t have it any other way.

By a two-to-one margin, Americans now say raising little boys into young men is much easier than raising little girls to become young women.

Despite years of talk about equality, in telephone interviews of a random sample of 1,520 adults last month, Americans said boys were easier to raise than girls, 54 percent to 27 percent. Which may contribute to the ongoing national preference for having baby boys.

When Gallup first asked the question in 1947, 42 percent of Americans thought boys were easier to shepherd into young adulthood, while 24 percent said girls.

Those numbers remained unchanged (actually, unasked) until 1990, when little boys started pulling ahead, way ahead. While those saying boys are easier has steadily increased since then, the percentage saying there’s “No Difference” has dropped sharply from 24 percent in 1947 (same as little girls) to today’s No Difference of 14 percent.

Men and younger Americans strongly agree that boys are easier. For men, 58 percent boys and 24 percent girls. Perhaps indicating males also perceive difficulty understanding females, young and old. And the understandable abiding age-old concern about the safety of females of all ages.

For young people of both genders, it’s 62 percent boys are easier and 22 percent girls.

From age 30 onward, however, the preference remains steady for boys with little difference among age cohorts: 52 percent boys to 28 percent girls from age 30 to 49, 53-25 from 50 to 64,  and 52-30 for those 65 and older.

For the same groups, No Difference also varied little from 12 percent to 15 percent to 16 percent and back to 12 percent.

The belief that raising boys is easier spreads across both genders. Gallup (not me, folks, Gallup) speculates that’s tied to a belief that girls are more emotional, especially in teen years. Whereas, it has occurred to many of us that teen boys are merely insufferably sullen.