March 1, 2012

Zomberella

Posted in Parenthood tagged , , , , , at 2:21 am by openendedcomment

They are strange, gross and highly entertaining creatures.    They kick up their “baby testosterone” during football and hockey games…grunt, growl (I’ve heard it) and spit…only to get into the car (away from all team-mates) to shove their lower lip aaaalllll the way out and sniff to me “Mommy, that mean #27 elbowed me and it hurts a LOT and he called me a jerk.” With big puppy dog eyes…delivered in the saddest, most pathetic voice you’ve ever heard or imagined.   Tough in public, big babies at home.

They are boys. And despite all of the equality speak; they are different.

Take my 10-year-old for example.  He was given a perfectly good name.  A saint’s name; an apostle’s name.  A boring, stoic and respectable name.  In Kindergarten, he began to refer to himself as “Dog.”  I declined and dismissed this.  He wrote on his papers.  In the upper right-hand corner.  I corrected him.  He persisted.  I came to class to volunteer to teach art.  Twenty-Four short people had not received my message, which became clear as they stated “Ummm..Dog’s Mom?  Would you look at this?”  and “Can Dog and I have a play-date Friday after school?”   I spoke to his teacher.  Apparently, Hamster and Cat’s glue-eating were more pressing than my son’s new moniker.

After a year of this, I gave up.  He now goes by his first initial-Dog.  As in D-Dog or G-Dog….you get the point.

The point IS that Dog does whatever Dog feels is the manliest thing to do.  He is not alone in this.  Dog has a brother, Captain America.  Captain is 9.  Captain, unlike Dog, hates all organized sports but instead idolizes all things military.  He knows the name of every tank and plane ever in any battle in most countries.  Captain and Dog share a room that reeks of baby-testosterone.  And of said boys…because no matter what anyone else tells you, boys don’t like to shower.  At least not with soap.  My daughter thinks they are the height of rudeness and points this out at every opportunity.  She also sprays them with Febreeze.  Sometimes, I thank her.

Boys will be boys is a saying we hear in my house daily.  It’s not said to dismiss poor behavior, rather to calm my daughter down when they do things like glue their butt shut with gum while attempting to blow a fart bubble (yes, you read that right.) Or when they take every. Single. Cabinet.Down in the kitchen at 5AM because Wonder-Dad taught a 5-year-old how to use a power tool.  We say these things so that when they are who they are…we don’t feel the need to commit them…or at least seriously consider an evaluation.

We need to understand in our home (and in our world) that boys and girls, men and women, though not better than each other are very, very far apart in what we feel/think/do on an instinctive level.

Name a woman who, at any point in her life, would think to eat a blow-pop with the express purpose of getting to the gum as “it’s the stickiest” in order to place it…ahem…and then pass gas in an attempt to make a bubble.  Beuller?  Beuller?  Thought so.

Sometimes, in order to preserve my marriage, I need to remember that.  Sometimes, as a wife, I need to remind myself that just as boys will be boys, men will be men and sometimes I have to let it go when he watches Speed channel in bed…or when he misses the fact that I am not, in fact, the laundry/dish/cooking fairy.  Sometimes he needs a little reminder….and sometimes I have to remember that reminders do not equate to nagging.  It’s all in the delivery.

It starts at birth.  My daughter potty-trained with little issues and sat like an angel to “do her business”.  Not my sons.  1) They wouldn’t sit.  They had seen Dad and Dad didn’t sit.  2) Dad would not sit as an example to them…he was actually pretty amused that I even brought it up.  So 3) I had to make it a game.  Super fun to explain to guests for about 2 years (they are 18 months apart) why there was a bowl of Cheerios in every bathroom.  “No, it’s not gross…it’s how they pee”  insert shocked look from everyone that entered my home during that time “I drop it in the toilet and they have to try to sink them.  It’s the only way they have any aim at this age”  Yes, I resorted to teaching my sons how to “sink” the cereal and basically tuned “it” into their first joystick.  Whatever.  It worked.

As they grow older, nothing changes.  You have to break it down to their level and actually think at their male level… if you don’t, bad things happen.

When I say “please find somewhere to put that frog that isn’t in your room or any common living area” I have to be more precise.  Or it ends up glued to my daughter’s pillow (yes, true story…apparently it wouldn’t “stay there”…don’t worry, frog lived) or when Dog is told to write a “modern fairy tale” for school…and I am called about it…because he wrote a book called “Zomberella” in which the title character is bitten by flesh-eating monsters and at the end of the gruesome tale bites her prince so he can enjoy the wedding feast with her.  That was today’s reminder…think like a boy if you don’t want to deal with the boy.

There are wonderful things about these little males.  Aside from entertainment value.

Instinctively, my boys are protective of me and of their sister. When they aren’t trying to ruin her life.  They know how to love but they don’t wear their emotions on their sleeve.  Except with me.  Which I hope never changes.  They burp and they fart but they also have an amazing work ethic.  They would rather pee on a tree (we are past the Cheerios phase); but they know how to take care of their home.  They are good with their hands and quick on their feet.  They can not dance but they do sing.  Loudly.  Off-key. They are men’s men in training and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  They are, come to think of it, exactly like their fathers.

Boys will be boys. And I for one am damn glad.

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