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Boys, Boys, Boys October 7, 2012

Filed under: boys,brothers,children,motherhood,parenting — ddl6 @ 11:57 am
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I consider myself a “boy mom.”  I have one awesome daughter whom I adore,  but I have had three boys in a row and I have been in” boy mode” for almost 9 years. I feel like I am part of a special “boy mom” club.  I always bond with moms of boys right away.  Most of my good friends are mothers of my sons’ friends.  I do have a couple of close friends who are mothers of my daughter’s friends, but most of them also have sons.  I feel like they “get” what it’s like to be a mom to boys.  I always feel better when my boys have teachers who are moms or dads to sons.

Boys really are, in my opinion, a whole different ball game, no pun intended.  As much as I told myself I was going to parent my girl and boys the same way, it just hasn’t worked out that way.  I had a lot of preconceived notions about boys before I had them and I have been proven wrong many times.  Raising my girl is not what I expected either, but that’s another blog post.

To be honest, I still can’t believe that I have three sons.  When I was younger and I pictured my life, it was always with two or three daughters.  Maybe that’s because I only had a sister and I wasn’t really around boys growing up.  I just never thought about being a mother to boys.

When I was pregnant with my first child, a girl, we didn’t find out what we were having.  I never said it out loud, but I REALLY wanted a girl.  I planned a girl nursery.  I had visions of ruffles, hair bows, dresses, pink, pink and more pink.  I would look at little girls and get so excited to have my own.  I just HAD to have a girl.

When I gave birth to my daughter, they had to take her quickly to make sure her lungs were clear because she had meconium (she pooped on the way out). For two or three minutes, we had no idea if I had a boy or girl.  My husband asked what it was and the mid-wife smiled, “You have a beautiful baby girl.” I sat straight up and screamed, yes, screamed “I GOT MY BABY GIRL!” To say I was excited would be an understatement.

I had my little girl and everything was going according to my “plan”.  I became pregnant with my second child and I thought ” Oh, another little girl…smile, sigh” Then we went in for the ultrasound and the technician asked us what names we had picked out. I told her ” Grace…………… oh, and Cooper.” As an afterthought.  She checked out all that she needed to and asked us if we wanted to know what we were having and we said, absolutely. She began to type in a name on the screen and she started with C. Hmm,I thought, that was weird, Grace doesn’t start with a C………wait……….Cooper? A boy?  I was having a……boy?  I immediately started to panic a bit.  What was I going to do with a little boy? Boys are wild and rambunctious.  Boys are loud and they wrestle. They pee everywhere.  They have a penis!  What if I had to start watching and liking football??? What would I talk about with a little boy?  How would we connect emotionally?  I was very naive and a bit sexist, if I’m being honest.

Our first little boy was born and he is beautiful and wonderful. He was followed by two other beautiful and wonderful little boys. Our home was quickly filled not with baby dolls, Barbies, princess dresses,but with trucks, cars, balls, blocks and so on.  But, those things were not purchased just for our sons, they were for our daughter as well.  My visions of baby dolls, frilly dresses, big bows and pink, quickly flew out the window when my daughter began voicing her opinion.  My girl is not now nor has she ever been, a girly girl.  No way.

I spent so much money on smocked dresses with matching bows for every holiday or event we had.  She would rip out the bow and hike up the dress so she could jump over couches , climb trees or wrestle. The dolls, baby cradles, purses, and shoes went untouched.  When she discovered her passion for reading, it wasn’t princess stories she wanted to hear and read, it was adventure and science fiction stories.

My boys are all, indeed, a bit wild and rambunctious.  They are loud and they do like to wrestle.  They jump off things that are too high.  They like to smash things just because.  They barrel down the stairs instead of walking.  They pee all over the toilet seat and the ding dang floor.  They love sports, especially football.  Yes, they are all “boy” and they are different from my girl in many ways,  but those differences make them wonderful.

I didn’t expect my boys to be tender-hearted or sensitive.  They are much more so than my daughter.  They love lovin’.  They love to cuddle and have “talks” with me.  They are caring, sweet and kind.  My daughter is all these things as well, but she has more of an edge than my boys do.  She has a much more independent attitude than the boys. She’s a tough cookie, and always has been.

My good friend and I have had many conversations about being mothers of boys.  We have talked at length about how having sons helps us understand men just a little better.  They really can’t help some of the things they do because it’s just who they are.  Being the mother of boys helps me understand how hard it is to be a boy today.  There’s a lot of pressure on boys to be strong, not to show too much emotion, to “suck it up” and be a” man.”  It’s not easy being a girl either, but I knew that.  I didn’t understand about being a boy until I had my sons.

As I mentioned earlier, I feel like I’m part of a special “boy mom” club.  I can’t tell you how many times, when I am out with my boys, women come up to me to make a comment.  Whether it’s, “Hey, I have 2 boys at home.” or ” You remind me of myself 20 years ago. I have three boys.” or “I have 8 grandsons.”  Women want to make a connection.  I don’t get that when I’m with my daughter.

My husband has four older brothers. Unfortunately, his mother passed away when he was very young and I have never had a chance to talk to her about her experiences as a” boy mom.”   There are so many things I wish I could ask her and learn from her.  I will always remember what my husband’s grandmother (his mom’s mother) told me when I was pregnant with my first boy. She said ” People always asked Sharon if she wanted a girl.  She always answered, ” My boys love me so much.  I get to be the queen of the castle.””  I think that is the best description I have heard about being a “boy mom.” My boys do love me, they tell me how great I am and they do treat me like a queen…….it’s good to be queen.

 

Liar, Liar September 30, 2012

My kids are horrible liars.  Really, they try to follow through with a lie, but they always break at the last-minute.  Their conscience takes over and the truth comes tumbling out quickly and usually with a few tears.

Now, I am not saying this is a bad thing and I’m not saying that they never lie or will never lie in the future.  They are kids and they are growing and learning and they are going to make a few mistakes along the way.  I don’t want them to lie but sometimes their brutal honesty can also be annoying.

I make a lunch for the three older kids to take to school everyday.  They still have not clued in ,not even my 10-year-old daughter, that they could throw away everything at school and I would never know they didn’t eat their carrots or apple or all of their sandwich.  They come home and empty their lunch boxes and go over every last detail of what they ate and why.  While I appreciate the honesty, there are a million and one things to do in the afternoon and discussing lunch just adds to the work.

My 5-year-old son is especially truthful.  If he and his 3-year-old brother get into a fight, he will be the first one to come downstairs and say, “I punched him in the back because he took my toy.  Then, I called him a Dumbo.” Okay, now go work it out and let me make dinner.  He will come home from a friend’s house and say ” So and so wanted to take cookies up to his room but I said we shouldn’t and then I told his mom.” Oh, I’m sure his friend and friend’s mom LOVED that.  That’s not annoying at all.

My daughter is the same.  She will be snotty or talk back, whatever, and we will send her to her room.  When she comes out to apologize she will come to me and say ” I wrote down that you and dad are jerks and that I don’t like you.  I was just mad and I’m sorry.” Sigh, that’s why she has a journal, to write down her feelings and we don’t have to see it! She is allowed to read before bed at night and we tell her what time she needs to turn out her light.  Now, we are usually downstairs watching TV  and she is upstairs in her room.  We would never know if she read for an extra 10 minutes, but she will come downstairs to tell us she read until 8:06 when we told her to stop at 8. Good grief!

My three-year old son is too young to lie or worry about his lying, but I will say, he OWNS all the crazy crap he does. For instance, I will see a huge dent in the wall and ask who did it.  He will  come running in, look at wall and with pride say ” My did that!”  Or toothpaste will be all over the counter and he will say ” I fezeed(squeezed) the WHOLE thing out by myfelf (myself)! My like blue fo(so) much!” No fear whatsoever.

Now we come to my 8-year-old son.  Oh boy, this kid is a thinker.  I mean he thinks waaaay too much.  He is very sensitive and struggles with doing the right thing and just being an 8-year-old boy.  Bless his heart, he will try to lie but it will eat away at him until he breaks.  He has a reading record to fill out for class everyday and he has to write down the EXACT time he spent reading.  It can’t be a minute off or that bothers him.  He has to read for 80 minutes a week and he usually reads for  80 minutes a day.  I want to tell him “Oh for God sake, just fill it out on Thursday night!  You’re good.”  But my kid is obviously a more honest person than I am.

This past spring, we had a crazy a sports schedule.  Different kids had to be at different places at different times.  It was brutal, as usual.  One night, the day after my husband’s birthday, 2 of my boys had baseball practice.  I took my five-year old to his practice.  My mother was visiting so she came along as well as my daughter.  My 8-year-old had practice later so he stayed home with my husband and my three-year old son.  We had to hurry through dinner and I had to leave without cleaning the kitchen, which KILLS me.  I asked my husband to have it cleaned when I got back and he agreed.  I knew he would make the kids do it.

My five-year old finished practice and we headed home.  When we pulled into the driveway, my husband was sitting outside, shooting the breeze with the neighbors, as usual.  He looked at me and waved and I thought to myself, ” If that kitchen is still a mess, I’m going to kill him.”  I waved to my neighbors and to him and asked through clenched teeth, “Did you get to the kitchen?”  He smiled and answered ” Coop’s doing it.” It’s a good thing the neighbors were there because I would have flicked him off otherwise.

I walked in the kitchen door and my 8-year-old was at the sink with his back to me.  My eyes went straight to my husband’s birthday cake on the counter.  Oh. My.God. The thing was destroyed.  The icing was all scrapped off and there were chunks missing.  My mother exclaimed ” My God, it looks like the locusts got it! What in the world?” My daughter’s jaw dropped at the sight of it.  I assumed my three-year had gotten into it.  I asked my 8 year if he knew what happened.  He turned around slowly and looked at the cake, not in my eyes, and said in a very quiet voice ” No, I don’t know what happened.”  I looked at him and the kid had the nerve to stand there in front of me with blue icing ALL OVER his face!  My mother had to cover her mouth and go in the other room to keep from laughing.  My daughter busted out laughing right then and there and said ” Oh, really Coop?” He looked at her then back at me. I said ” Are you sure you have no idea what happened to the cake?” He shook his head and his eyes started filling up with tears.  I stared him down and said ” Son, you have icing all over your face.” He started bawling and apologizing and he was sent to his room.  As I was tidying up the kitchen,I found blue icing smeared all over the cups, plates and silverware he was supposed to be putting away.

Just last week, Coop went over to his friend’s house.  When he came home later, I could tell something was bothering him and I asked if he wanted to talk but he said he was fine.  We had 3 practices that night, so in the rush of everything I kind of forgot about it.  When he came home from his practice that night, he still seemed worried about something.  He was following me around like he wanted to talk but wouldn’t spill the beans.  I figured he would open up when he was ready.

He went to bed and got up the next day and still seemed out of sorts but we don’t have time in the mornings before school for heart to heart talks, so I sent him off on the bus.  He came home that afternoon and was very quiet and contemplative.  I knew from experience he was about to break so I waited.  I was sitting outside reading the mail when he came up and sat next to me.  I asked him if everything was okay.  His little lip began trembling and he looked at me with his big blue eyes and said, ” Jake and I looked at an inappropriate magazine at his house yesterday.”  That was not what I was expecting at all.  Mainly, because Jake and his family are Mormon and they don’t even have “inappropriate” drinks at their house.  I am way more inappropriate on a daily basis than Jake’s entire family.  I said ” Okay. Where did you find this magazine? What was the name of it?”  He wiped away his tears, ” We were playing hide and seek and we hid in Jenny’s room.” Now I was really confused. Jenny is Jake’s older sister and our babysitter.  She is so mature, sweet and responsible.  I was intrigued and I asked him to go on. ” She had stacks of them in her room and the name of the magazine was…….. Seventeen. There were girls in bikinis.” He put his head on his knees.  I had to take deep breaths to keep from laughing.  This poor child.  He was probably thinking about this all night and day.  I hugged him and explained that Seventeen is a fashion magazine for girls.  That it’s not “inappropriate” but they shouldn’t have been in Jenny’s room looking at Jenny’s things.  It was very hard to keep a straight face.

I know the decision to tell the truth will not always be easy for my kids.  I know they are human and they will be confronted many times with taking the easy way out or telling the truth when it’s difficult to do so.  For now, I will just enjoy their innocence and hope that they keep being as honest as possible.

 

Grow Up June 29, 2012

Last night my husband and I watched the movie Step Brothers. I’m not going to lie, I found it absolutely hilarious. It got me thinking about how my sense of humor has changed over the years. Instead of maturing, I find myself regressing. My humor is now that of a 12-year-old boy.

I have one sister and growing up, we didn’t have a lot of potty humor in our home. My parents weren’t into that sort of thing. We laughed a great deal, but not at stuff like burping and such. I have always loved slap stick comedy, but that was about as “low” as I went in terms of humor.

I met my husband when I was fourteen and to quote that anti-drug commercial from the 80’s, ” I learned it from watching you!” or him.

My husband is the youngest of 5 boys and there was no shortage of potty humor in his house. I think I was shocked by it at first but I soon grew to appreciate a well thought out, dirty joke. His brothers are all intelligent and witty men now and they make me laugh for many reasons, but when they do share a potty joke, I am delighted by it. Probably more than I should be.

We have a girl and three boys and we hear plenty of fart, burp and ,ahem, testicle jokes. I know I shouldn’t laugh at them but I just can’t help it. My husband will shake his head and say ” I know it’s funny, but you can’t encourage them to behave like that.” Riiiigggghhhttt, because he is SOOOOO mature. He does have a point though, but sometimes ignoring it can be…..challenging.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I took all those classes to “prepare” for childbirth and being parents. I don’t mean to be rude, but what a ding dang joke! The only things we took away from those classes were 1) the right “breathing” during childbirth doesn’t work 2) drugs DO work 3) we wouldn’t be taking those classes with our future children and 4) the story that I will now share.

During one of the childbirth preparation classes, we worked on breathing during birth process. We were in a class of about 20 couples. The instructor went over all the types of relaxation and breathing techniques and then asked all of us to join her on the floor to practice.

She asked that we sit in a semi-circle around her. She had us moms lean back against our partner’s chests with our knees up and our hands underneath our knees. She got down on the floor to demonstrate the correct position. When she had assumed the position, she closed her eyes, took a deep breath……….. and with all eyes on her, released a sudden, quick, but clearly audible fart. I looked around the room and there was no reaction. Even she didn’t blink an eye. Come on, were these people serious? Nobody even smiled! Well, nobody that is, except me and my husband.

I was shaking and turning red, trying not to laugh. I could feel my husband shaking behind me. I was even trying out some of the damn breathing exercises just to control my laughter. It was awful. Finally, in desperation I started fake coughing, but by then my husband was outright laughing. We had to excuse ourselves from the room. We made it down the hall before we lost it. I thought I was going to go into labor  from the sheer force of my laughter. It was an embarrassing display of our lack of self-control and our obviously immature sense of humor. We didn’t go back into class that night.

This happened over 10 years ago, but the thing is, if it happened again tonight, we would react the same way………