Baby boys are adorable. They're full of life. I once overheard a toddler boy call his mommy a "queen" and have witnessed several others happily give moms hugs and kisses -- no prodding necessary. But I'm the mom of a 2-year-old girl and, for as much drama and tears and whining we endure on a daily basis, she makes perfect sense to me. She stomps her feet when I won't let her wear her sparkly sneakers in the rain and I think, Yeah, I get it. Rain boots aren't as much fun as sparkles. She can be out of control at dance class and have an insane fit because I won't let her take a pumpkin to sleep with her, but at the end of it all she says "talk to me," and stops speaking just long enough to fool me into thinking she's listening to my logical explanations.
I just found out I'm having a boy. One of each -- a dream come true! But, at the same time, I'm utterly terrified. Here's why.
Every time I see little boys in the park they are usually trying to eat rocks, smear mud on one another, or kill each other with sticks. Their parents seem like good, decent people so I don't think it's anything they did wrong -- I'm just assuming this is what you let boys do because they're boys. And I'm going to have to swallow every instinct I have to wipe his hands down with Lysol every five minutes.
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Oftentimes when I see little boys inside a house, they're jumping on couches, falling through glass tables, or trying to kill each other with Lego blocks. My daughter is active so I know how to handle it when objects get knocked over with a plastic ball, but boys' energy levels seem to be on a whole other plane, as are their desires to seek and destroy.
I hate the fact that, from the moment they're born, boys are expected to fit into certain gender stereotypes -- some of which I just totally admitted to believing. My daughter plays with trucks and dolls and I want my son to feel like he can play with whatever he wants, too. But I'm scared he will be judged by his little peers on the playground if he carries around a doll. At the end of the day, I want him to grow up strong in his convictions and beliefs, but I also don't want him to ever feel the pain of being ostracized. This isn't something I have to think about yet with my daughter since it's more socially acceptable for girls to be both sporty and feminine.
At some point we're going to have to have a talk with him about what he should do if another boy hits him. Everything in me says to hit the bully back because, from experiences I had growing up, this was the only true way to show others you weren't a doormat. But times have changed. We live in a world that's less tolerant of old-fashioned schoolyard fights. Families get sued. And bullying is a bigger issue than it's ever been, so clearly we haven't found an answer yet to this problem -- and I certainly don't yet know what I'm going to tell him if (when) this happens.
Does anyone have good advice on raising boys?
Image Via Cyron/Flickr