Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Growing Boys

Boys are strange creatures.

I thought that when I was 6, then when I was 16, and now at 36, the thought is STILL the same!

Boys delight in flatulence, burping as obnoxiously as possible, laughing like hyenas, and dirt. Well, most do. My oldest was never that fond of dirt, actually. The Young Adult was one when we bought our first home. We were so excited to take him to the new, big backyard and let him root around. After a few minutes playing under the tree, he held up his little chubby hands covered with dirt and said, "Eeeuw".

Well, everyone is different!

Sometimes the job of raising children completely overwhelms me. I am on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I usually cannot even leave my motherhood at the bathroom door. I cannot tell you how many times I have been "occupied" in the bathroom, finding myself yelling, "Leave your brother alone!", or "Will you please just give me 2 minutes to pee in peace!"
At other times, I am so in love with what I do. I love knowing about their lives. Watching them grow. Seeing them make new discoveries.
And at other times, I am awed into contemplative silence. Those are the moments when it hits me - really hits me - that I am not just a "mommy". I am raising men. MEN! I have the awesome privilege and terrifying task of taking small beings who think a dirty clothes bin is wherever they drop their sweaty socks, and who have a running contest to spot as many bio-waste words as possible in the ordinary English language (the day I asked them if they wanted a hot dog wiener for lunch was quite memorable) and turn them into productive members of society who will not make a grown woman blush! Not only is this difficult in and of itself, but it is incredible.

Who am I to think that I have the skills it takes to do this? Well, I will tell you - I don't! I am learning as I go. I sometimes make a huge mess of it all. Sometimes, through grace, I manage to hit it just right. 

One day we went to church. This was pre-Mad Toddler. So it was me with four males - all healthy, intelligent, physically capable people. We reached the front doors, and I stopped. I am an old-fashioned kind of girl who likes old-fashioned kind of things.  I do not insist (usually) on a gentleman holding a door open for me, but dang it if these four males were going to wait for me to do it! And that is what they did!!! They all stood there for a moment, looking at each other in confusion. There was no sign of a light-bulb moment coming, so I had to come out and say it (another thing you have to do with men) - "You are four healthy males with one female. One of you will open the door for me!". They did, and on we went.

On the other hand, a few years ago I was griping at the Young Adult for doing such a shoddy job cleaning the bathroom. I quickly learned that while it is a good thing for the boys to have their own bathroom, it is not something I ever want to touch - ever! Eeeuuuww! Anyway, I said to the Young Adult, "Who do you think is supposed to clean this?"
"You!" he answered with heat.
"Why should I clean your bathroom?" I asked him.
"Because cleaning things is woman's work!"

It silenced me for a moment. While I am an old-fashioned kind of girl, it only goes for the opening doors and polite manners kinds of things. Otherwise, I like my men modern!

"Where did you come up with that notion?" I asked my eldest child, in horror.

"Little House on the Prairie and Little Women - the women did all the housework," he replied with confusion.
 "Well, that was over 100 years ago, son. Times change. Grab a toilet brush."
I decided then and there I had to make sure that boy read something a little more modern! Classical education is great, but a modern sensibility is, too!

1 comment:

Patty said...

LOL My mom had five boys. The oldest three were to sleep in the basement bedroom to leave the girls alone upstairs. We named that basement bedroom the cave. Who knows what things murked in those dark shadows!

A come back for the Little House/Women thing...you can tell them that they have to go kill their food before you prep it! That's what Charles did :)