Little Boys 101
I have four kids — three girls and one lonely little boy. Coincidentally, I grew up in a house with three sisters and one lonely little brother. What these two things basically mean is that I have a very limited knowledge and understanding of little boys. As an older sister, I basically let my brother exist in his Inspector Gadget world while I existed far far away in my Young and the Restless one. I can’t do that with my son if I want him to, you know, not sniff paint, beg for food or abuse small helpless animals someday. It’s kinda my job as his MOM to be an active member in the Inspector Gadget world… or Chowder and Flapjack, as it were.
I don’t always relate to my own kind. In fact, I’m confounded by the behavior of the members of my gender, myself included, on a regular basis. But some things generally remain the same. For example, we don’t get thrills out of finding an innocent-looking woman and throwing her purse into the Men’s Bathroom and then lifting her by the scruff of her neck and tossing her in there to go retrieve it. Not even in the second grade do I remember that kind of bizarre torture occurring. If we didn’t like a particular girl, we usually addressed the issue by not inviting her to our slumber party. And yet this bathroom thing occurred to my son just this past week, except that it was a backpack instead of a purse. Sure, he was upset for a day, but he did what most GIRLS I know could never do… he dusted himself off and immediately got over it. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t involved, and I’M still not over it. But when I demanded that we talk to the supervising adults, he stoically insisted that it wasn’t necessary. He could handle it, he said, while lying on my couch with his foot propped up on a pillow, his swollen ankle being iced.
“Boys will be boys,” a co-worker of mine says. “Parental involvement makes it worse with boys. You’re gonna label him a wuss for life. Let him handle it. Those boys that threw him in the bathroom are probably his friends. They were PLAYING AROUND. That’s how we do it. We throw each other into the Girl’s Bathroom to get a good look around.”
I don’t want to encourage my kid to fight. But I want him to be able to defend himself so, call me reactionary, but I’ve enrolled him in taekwondo. In the meantime, we invited his best-good friend-Andres-from-way-back to come over. Jonah showed off his mad cooking skillz by frying an egg for Andres. Andres showed him an easier way using the microwave. They had farting and burping contests. They wrestled. They took turns trying to break their necks by flailing themselves down my stairs. When I took them to rent a movie, they walked the aisles and squealed “EWWWW!!” in unison every time they passed a DVD cover with a scantily-clad woman on the cover. Or kissing. Heaven forbid they saw any kissing.
I still haven’t memorized the User’s Manual for little boys. I disagree with three-quarters of what’s in there. But this much I do know… grossing out over sex on a DVD cover will be one of the first things to change.
As mothers, do you find raising little boys more challenging than little girls?