Whenever Matt and I talked about having kids (since we were 17) I always imagined we would have a little boy. In my head, he would look exactly like a tiny Matt, have his curly hair, he would love soccer, and he would smell like syrup. When we found out we were having a boy, Matt and I were both so excited, and I was ready. I was made to be a dino-loving, Hot Wheels-seeking, Lego-building, soccer gear-toting boy mom.
You are probably thinking these are all cliché things to think. And you are right. They are all cliché, but that’s what I thought nonetheless. What it really means to be the mom of a little boy (mine at least) is all of the things I listed plus a life with more unrestrainable energy, more talks about construction machines, more superhero gear, more sound effects, and more Legos (all. the. Legos.) than I ever thought possible.
But having a little boy makes you see the sweet, soft, vulnerable side of boys I never thought about as someone who only had a sister growing up. The scraped-knee-needs kisses, scared-of-making-new-friends, book-loving, snuggles-at-bedtime side.
It’s important and extremely relevant, but also trendy, now to talk about all of the ways people/society raise boys to be rough, sexist, bullying men. I remember reading a viral “article” once by the mother of a girl who basically equated a boy in her pre-school aged daughter’s classroom knocking down her daughter’s block structure to rape. Um, no. Yeah it was sh*tty. Sometimes preschoolers are a*sholes. He should have apologized to your daughter. I get it. I really do, but come on.
When I became the mom of a boy, I began to see some things a little differently.
Boys are fragile too, and it’s a delicate tightrope parents of boys have to walk to teach a little boy to be both strong without being overpowering, to stand up for himself without being a douchebag, to be gentle with others while also being able to get out the ridiculous amount of energy that seems to course through their limbs that is so visible in how they play.
Something I try really hard to teach Hank is boundaries when it comes to interaction with others.
If someone says no, it means no. If someone says stop, it means stop. That means his wishes about his body, personal space, and physical affection are to be respected too, and it’s so important he learns the latter so he instinctively knows the former.
This raising a boy business is a complicated tangle, more complicated than I ever imagined, and I’m only four years in, I’ve many more lessons to learn and problems to ponder with this one. For now, I’ll focus on the most pressing problem – how to store all his freaking Legos.