Posts Tagged ‘boys’

I am blessed. Unequivocally, undoubtedly, blessed. It’s easy to forget, sometimes. It’s easy to let the problems of the universe sink in, to let the daily annoyances pile up and inspire resentment, but that’s when we have to take a few steps back and get a new perspective. We need to let those unimportant things go and either make a new plan or let it be. Here are some of my blessings:

  1. My husband. I am married to a man (for almost twenty years!) who has seen me at my best and most definitely at my worst. He has loved me through four pregnancies, three kids, job loss, financial crises, a depression/anxiety diagnosis, and my frustration with keeping up an older house and no money to do it. Oh, and did I mention that he has to put up with me trying to convince him to move to London?
  2. My kids. My boyos: Oldest Child, Middle Child, and Youngest Child. All different, all amazingly wonderful. I never imagined being the mother of all boys, but God works in wonderful ways and even with all of the ways they are different from me, they are my heart.
  3. My family. My family is huge, mixed-up, made up of many components, a wee bit dysfunctional, but most important, loving. I wouldn’t trade my family for anything in the world.
  4. My friends. Like everyone, I have different groups of friends in different places and from different times in my life. I am deeply thankful for each one of them.
  5. I live in a country where I’m free, not only as a person, but as a woman. In many places in the world, even today, I would have no rights to anything. The U.S. isn’t perfect by any means, but I can wear what I want, marry who I want, drive, go anywhere I like without a chaperone, and criticize the government without worrying about being thrown in prison, or worse. There’s much work to do, but things are moving in the right direction.
  6. My hedgie. She’s amazing, cranky and cuddly at the same time and I love her.
  7. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to several countries. I have the wanderlust. Bad. I believe that seeing how other people live in other parts of the world is essential. How can we work together if we live in ignorance and all we know of others is what fear mongers tell us? Granted, I haven’t visited any war-torn nations, but the places that I have been have given me a greater appreciation for the world as a whole. Now, I just have to figure out how to travel more frequently. (Rick Steves, have you looked at my résumé yet?)
  8. I’m a published author. Not a New York Times bestselling author, but I was able to get published by a company. Let’s see if it can happen again. (Slightly greedy, I know.)
  9. Facebook. This was a toughie, because Facebook is most definitely a colossal time-waster. But it has also allowed me to keep in touch with people who I may have otherwise lost contact with. In most cases, that is a blessing.
  10. Creature comforts. There’s an old hymn that says, “There’s a roof up above me, I’ve a good place to sleep. There’s food on my table and shoes on my feet. You gave me your love, Lord, and a fine family. Thank you, Lord, for you blessings on me.” It’s one of the truest songs I know. I don’t need, or want, a huge house, expensive cars, or designer clothes. Most of the world doesn’t have what I have: Enough.

Reminding myself of how much I actually have when I want something may not stop the desire, but it does make me appreciate my blessings. I wish the same for you.

A presto.

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I am the lone female in a house of four males. I decided that one of the snakes was a girl, just to try and even things out a bit. I really don’t know if it is or not, especially since I would need to take it to a herpetologist to check, but I thought it was fair. Not that “she’s” any help, especially in a Nerf gun war. Then, Oldest Child kept a snake that we rescued and Youngest Child bought a leopard gecko, both males (so they say), so now the odds are really bad. Friends of mine who have girls are always saying that I’m lucky, that girls are more work, and in some ways, they’re probably right, but having the only estrogen in a house full of testosterone does require a bit of teeth gritting at times.

Let me just say that I love my boys unconditionally, madly, and truly. I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything in this world or the next and I am so proud of the young men they are becoming. That being said, while growing up, I always pictured having kids, but somehow I always pictured my children as girls (Well, maybe one was a boy.), especially since I was the only girl in my family and had longed for a sister. That hasn’t happened, and now that we’re done having children, it isn’t going to happen. Having three boys took some getting used to at first, but I love (almost) every minute of it..

Boys, especially for a first-time mom, require some instructions. If you have a new, blue, bundle of joy or are expecting one soon, here are some things that you can expect:

1. Really fast diaper changes: There’s something about cold air that make baby boys decide to spray, and spray they do. They can really get some distance, too. Keep that in mind when you change that newborn diaper. You’ll learn fast.

2. Boys are active. All kids can be active, no doubt, but boys seem to have boundless energy. They’ll fool you. They’ll come to you after a round of light saber attacks, breathing heavily and wanting a snuggle, but it’s short-lived. In no time at all, they’re up and around, knocking the daylights out of each other or jumping all over one another like a bunch of puppies. Of course, there are girls who are also extremely active, a friend of mine has a daughter who is constantly moving, but I know that compared to what I was like as a child. the physical activity level of boys is tiring.

3. You will probably, at some point, wind up in a sports league. I always kind of hoped that one of them would really want to take ballet or something that I could relate to once they got into activities, but I had to wait until they all started band in the 5th grade. Until then, it was baseball. Then, cross country. I’m not a very good sports mom. Actually, I’m not a good sports mom at all. Some moms are gung-ho right from the start. They know all the team stats, have the snack schedule memorized, and could tell you the batting order from the month before, as well as the rules to whatever league level your son is in. I’m lucky if I know the other kids’ names. I’m pretty introverted, so small talk at games with other parents is absolute torture, although it would probably be the same at a dance class. I tried talking Youngest Child into Irish dancing a while back, but he was having none of it. Now they all have some involvement in theatre, which is very cool. And watchable. In the meantime, buy yourself a mitt and go play outside with them. You won’t regret it.

4. Get used to thinking/saying, “What the hell is that?” You will say this as you scrutinize what might be a black fuzzy on the bathroom floor or something else. You will say this as you take clothes out of the washer and dryer. You will say this when you clean the petrified banana out from under the bed. You will say this as you look at something that has been wiped across the shower wall. You will say this so many times while your boys are growing up that you will lose all fear at finding out what it is, but not your disgust at what you find. (Chances are, it’s not a fuzzy. Or a raisin.) Invest in Clorox wipes.

5. There will be weapons. Yes, there will. Even if you don’t purchase weapon toys, anything can be turned into a weapon and it will be. Paper towel tubes, fingers, crayons, chalk, basically anything that resembles the desired weapon of mass destruction will be imagined into one. I don’t allow first-person shoot-to-kill video games in my house, but we are fully stocked with Nerf guns. My hoodie pockets are stuffed with Nerf darts for self defense. There’s something very basic about the need to play-fight and as long as it doesn’t go overboard, I say go with it. At least until it drives you crazy enough to grumpily yell, “Enough! I just want to relax!” up the stairs, as I did last night.

6. There will be hair in the sink. And lots of toothpaste splatters. Again, invest in Clorox wipes. Enough said.

7. They will have noisy friends. You may have a quiet son or even two, but the day will come when they bring that kid home, the one who runs through your house with his shoes one, hollering and yelling like he’s outside, wanting to watch shows or movies that you don’t allow and begging to spend the night. Chances are, your son will be enamored of him, at least for a while. Until, you must be a nice, but firm, mommy and deal with him. After a couple of visits, you can conveniently schedule outings for you and our darling when the small terror wants to come over and hope that the novelty wears off. It sounds harsh, but your nerves can really take a frazzling and you will breathe a sigh of relief when he brings home a really nice kid to play with.

8. They will want to go to Chuck E. Cheese, or someplace similar, for many birthday parties. If you are not aware, these pizza places/indoor amusement parks are actually, I believe, part of Dante’s vision of Hell. Screaming children running about untethered, clanging, buzzing, and ringing machines blaring at full volumes, inattentive parents sitting with pitchers of beer and pathetic pizza at neon-colored tables, and creepy, demonic-looking animatronic characters dancing an singing at full volume. It’s wonderful for small boys who are not afraid of the creepy animatronic characters. They have an absolute blast. Curling up in a ball and rocking on the couch is an option for at least two hours when you arrive home. With a glass of wine.

9. Bodily functions will be a hilarious common topic. I hate talking about less-than-pleasant bodily functions and my boys are usually pretty good about leaving me out of it, but occasionally the dinner table is interrupted by “accidental” noise, followed by smothered giggles that quickly erupt into all out laughter, including Mr. Marty Man. I don’t get it. I never have, I never will. If that’s your thing, enjoy. If not, get ready for the ride.

10. Little boy snuggles are so awesome. Boys love their mamas. There’s just something so special about that relationship. Words can’t describe it. When they still want to be tucked into bed at eleven years old or fight over who gets to sit next to you as teenagers, your heart will just melt into a puddle. There’s no better feeling in the world.

11. Boys have a tender side. Stuffed animals, blankies, even baby dolls can also have a special place in a boy’s heart, right next to the noisy army helicopter and Boba Fett mask. It’s adorable and I don’t care what anyone thinks. They’ll give it up if and when they want to. I encouraged it as long as I could, never teased them for it, and never let anyone else say a word about it. Boys need to know that having loving feelings is perfectly fine.

12. You will love your boy(s) with a fierceness that you didn’t know you had, and with every fiber of your being. When my first baby came home, I loved him so much that I could barely breathe. When he was three, he very enthusiastically went to introduce himself to some older kids, maybe six or seven years old, at the playground. “Hi!” he said. My name is…. What’s your name?” They just looked at him, mumbled something, and ran away. For the first time in my adult life, I wanted to slap a kid. (A six-year-old. I know.) How dare they say that to my sweet little guy??? Didn’t they know how amazing he was? Where were their parents? Swallowing my righteous anger, I tried to hug his disappointment away and attempted to forget my Sicilian roots. After all, shielding him from any pain would not have taught him how to deal with it in a good way. I used it as a teaching moment, but I remember the instant that Mama Bear instinct kicked in, as it has for my two other boys as well. You will realize, in an instant, that you would die for your boys without hesitation. It’s a beautiful thing.

There is, of course, much more to life with boys, but I have to leave you some surprises. There are many who will argue that girls are the same way, that I shouldn’t try to highlight differences between girls and boys. I have to disagree. As the oldest sister, oldest cousin, babysitter to dozens of children for eleven years before I had my own, and as a teacher, there are some key differences, especially the diaper changing part of it. Not every little boy is a Jedi and not every little girl is a princess, but those differences should be celebrated and enjoyed, for the most part. Living in an all-male household has been a good experience, although I do need a good aunt/niece day out now and then. I keep telling them that one of them owes me at least one granddaughter someday, someone for whom I can buy sparkly things and give makeovers to. In the meantime, I will enjoy my boys, my young men who will change the world someday. Now if I could just get them to stop leaving a trail of socks through the house and to clean their hair out of the sink…

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