Monday, November 8, 2010

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails (or, Little Boys are from Mars and Mommies are from Venus)

The day that a blurry sonogram revealed that our firstborn, Jonah, was a little boy, I remember feeling infinitely relieved. Females, to be really honest, tend to make me nervous. We're complicated and emotional. We tend to over-analyze things. You never can tell what we're really thinking and well... sometimes we're just bitchy. So I breathed a peaceful sigh when I learned that I would be a mother of a male. Thank the Lord.

Three years later, when another sonogram revealed a second little boy in my belly, I grinned. Brothers. I loved the idea of the two of them growing up side by side, doing boy things together. Despite many others' concerns that I might have wanted this second (and last) baby to be a girl, I was purely thrilled. I would never have to deal with time-consuming little girl hair-styles or annoying teen girl drama. Yes.

But those years ago, I knew nothing about the wild realities of mothering tiny men. These days, my life involves dodging crashing Matchbox cars that forever litter our floor. Someone always seems to be roaring like a dinosaur or mock wailing ("Ahhhhhh!") as they fall to the ground, or "pew, pew"ing (the universal sound for small boys shooting a pretend gun). Tackling is an actual sport itself around here.

People who claim that there are no differences between genders, that all our male/female variances are purely social constructs, have clearly never spent a day with preschoolers. Leave two four-year old girls alone and when checked on, they will likely be found demurely sipping imaginary tea or singing sweetly to a doll. Boys? The ones I know would likely be jumping off of the top of the dresser onto the guest bed or tackling each other while yelling things like, "Dr. Doom, you will never defeat me!".

Little boys like to be naked, and like their adult counterparts, they like their penises. Jonah and Eli's current favorite bath time game involves scooting around the tub in apparently hilarious attempts to grab each other's genetalia. Seriously? And it doesn't stop there. The words, "Eli, please take your lips off of your brother's bottom" have actually come out of my mouth. I am fairly certain that my friends with little girls do not deal with this.

Little boys, despite all my attempts to deter it, like weapons. They really like them. We have so far banned any toy guns in our household, but these little guys seem able to turn just about anything into a dangerous weapon. No guns around? A stick, a ruler, or even a piece of cardboard (Jonah's latest passion) will certainly suffice. At least they're creative, I guess.

I have a theory regarding the mysterious force of nature many child experts refer to as "boy energy". Boy energy is the stuff that makes little guys run around like wild animals while the girls sit quietly and roll their eyes. I firmly believe that boy energy, unlike mom energy, is not just multiplied when several boys get together; it is exponentially increased. One little boy? Not too rowdy as he sits peacefully and plays. Two little boys? The roughhousing and running begins. Three little boys? Full-scale destruction can ensue if said boy energy is not carefully harnessed.

However, while I do so often find myself completely perplexed at the actions of my rowdy little men, like so many moms of boys have done before me, most days, in spite of myself, I take a deep breath and dive right into the chaos. Because that's what it means to be a parent, right? To fully embrace who and what your children are, even when they seem so different from ourselves. Jonah's current infatuation, like many little boys his age, is Star Wars. He spends full afternoons building lego starfighters and he rarely visits the local playground without his light saber in tow. So of course, when it came time to choose his Halloween costume, he wanted to be Luke Skywalker. He even has the perfect shaggy blond haircut. Now, I'm not a big dresser-upper at Halloween; it's mostly just too much silly work for my overly pragmatic mind to take on. I'm also not so much of a Star Wars fan; my five-year old's knowledge and passion for the story is clearly superior. But this year, Jonah's great Halloween wish was for me to go as Princess Leia, so we could be a real Rebel Alliance pair. And you better believe that this mama made a white dress out of a sheet and put my hair in two cinnamon roll-style buns, and my little Jedi and I walked hand in hand down the street in all our Star Wars glory.

In this little boy world, may the Force be with me.


  1. What a delight~to come downstairs this morning, latte in hand and see Inch by Inch at the top of my Blogroll. Ironically, I'm also heading out the door in minutes for a meeting with your hubby in Boulder. So very nice to *see* you guys again in the same day. :)

    I read every word of this post and think I was nodding "yes" the entire time. I think that you and I probably spend our days very much the same. We should get our little ones together again soon.

    Happy fall to you and your beautiful family.

  2. Ah, thanks for the kind "welcome back", Katie! I'm anxious to get caught up on both my blog reading (yours especially!) and writing.
    I'd love to get the little guys together again soon. :)
    Happy fall to you all as well!

  3. This made me laugh- the whole time I read it. What a joy to have little boys and the chances it gives you to dress up like a princess!

  4. Great to see that you are writing again Kristin! I enjoy reading. :) I hope that you are doing well. XO

  5. Thanks, Mel! Glad to give you some laughs. And yeah, dressing up like a princess is always cool. :)

  6. Christine! I've been thinking of you lots lately and meaning to get in touch. Can't wait to hear about your new home plans!

  7. our worlds are one in the same sister. love you and love this post. in a private email i will tell you what i caught my boys doing in the bathtub. it is not for the innocent reader...

  8. Oh sweet Kristin . . . now, I only have one boy, but I definitely identify with much of this. And he doesn't quite understand why his sister screams when he tackles her. Good to read your writes. Hugs.

  9. I can't believe I saw this a month late! Welcome back to blog world!! Yay! This is a beautiful piece, so image-filled and funny. You are a wonderful writer and I can't wait to read your first book. AND...I miss you!

  10. Aw, Kris, thanks so much, you prolific writer, you! I miss seeing you, too. Let's try to catch up after the holidays, ok?

  11. I laughed so much thru this post! I wish my son would sit quietly and play with Thomas the train, but the destructo version (lots of bombing and train derailing noises) is more fun! Leigh

  12. Leigh, so glad you can relate. :) Hope to meet you in person someday!