Oh, Boy.

Atticus, today 20 months old, is in this ridiculous whiney phase.  I don’t know what’s up, but I don’t like it.  He’s the sweetest boy I know when he isn’t being sent to his room for throwing a tantrum (and Daniel says he’s an angel when I’m not around).  Fun or Room:  that’s his choice.  I say, “If you want to be with me, you must be fun.  Feel free to come out of your room when you can be fun.”  He doesn’t like being put in his room, but he usually comes out pretty quickly saying, “Hap-py?”

Taking him to his room is quite a feat, now, too.  He’s discovered how to do the limp body thing.  Remember that one?  Someone tries to physically move you and your response is to slack all your muscles and go completely dead-weight?

When we were little Bird and I would do that and make Jessica try to drag us around.  The thing about Jessica is she’s got to be as strong as any farm animal around, and it was so fun to listen to her grunt and pull at us.  I’d just start giggling, which would make her giggle, which would make the whole thing that much funnier and even more difficult.  Another thing about Jessica is that she never, ever gives up.  So, we were one big, giggly, dead-weight, dragging bunch of limbs, heads lolling and pants starting to sag.

Another game we used to play–for hours–was a simple game of Push.  Bridget and Jessica always shared a room (I’m assuming it was because my parents saw my very special need for alone time and personal space), and their beds were always bunked, so we had to play Push in my room.  My 9 foot by 10 foot bedroom was set up with the doorway in one corner and my bed usually in the opposite corner.  The game had no real rules other than we’d stand in the doorway and let Jessica give us one big shove.  She’d plant her feet firmly, quickly shift her weight into her front leg, and PUSH!  We’d take a step or two and go flying onto my bed.  I know, doesn’t sound like a trip to Disney, right?  But, I’m telling you, that girl is strong!

Anyway, I think about this passing time.  I think about my boy and all the joy and pain he will bring to our home.  Already I’m worrying about the things he and Grey will do to each other, the ways they could grow apart, the ways they could destroy each other.  The ways they could destroy my house (like the other day when they were outside throwing rocks–strictly against family rules–and managed to throw one straight through the basement window, splitting the darn thing).  I worry about the whole “boys will be boys” thing, which, I sort of believe, besides being sexist, is mostly a bull-shit justification for not teaching self-control and excusing violent behavior (I take no issue with the natural wildness of children; I take issue with the complete inability to be relatively calm).  I worry about how much all his ER visits will cost us because with the way he so easily bleeds from the head I’m sure we’ll be regulars there in just a few years.

Along with learning that these small people cannot be controlled (and that ultimately, I don’t want them to be), I’m learning to close off my heart to these worries.  I do not want to parent out of my fear of their failure or even my own failures.  I do not want to keep Atticus from all that life has for him because I cannot trust in the goodness in the world.  I close my heart to the anxieties of raising a boy into a man because I know his father, although raised by fear, is a good man, the sort of man I hope my son will become.

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7 comments
  1. My brother and I used to play our own version of “Push!”.. and it did eventually result in a trip to the emergency room. Ha, ha. He was 2 and had gotten a goose-egg on his head from running into a door frame. I pushed him and he flung himself into a table, splitting the goose-egg. Yikes.

    The good news: he is now 20 and still kicking. :)

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      Ah! Wow, I know stuff like that is bound to happen around here. I just hope I can handle the blood when it does. Glad you enjoyed simple games as a kid, too.

  2. i love the games you played w/ you sisters! we had so many of those in our family! our favorite was rubber bands & on christmas morning when we woke up at 2am & couldn’t get back to sleep, we’d sit in the long hallway between the bedrooms & shoot rubberbands at each for other for approximately 4 hours until we were allowed to wake up the other family members.
    i kinda think the “boys will be boys” thing should only be allowed to refer to things like them smelling bad or liking gross stuff more than girls. otherwise it seems kinda like an excuse to let them behave badly.
    and for the record, i think my girl must be half boy cuz she likes gross things more than most boys & we’ve had our fair share of trips to the ER already!

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      I am working on a post from my tomboy past. I could run faster, spit further and climb higher than most of them for a few years, so I think most of that boys-club stuff is limiting to the girls who want to get in there and arm wrestle and play rugby; it makes the assumption that “girls will be girls” is something all-together different and that certain other boys who don’t fit the stereotype should be worried after or shunned.

  3. Bridget Gorishek said:

    All children bleed profusely from the head. I learned that at our first ER visit when Nik was 2 and gashed his head on the corner of a brick. It is nature’s way to clean out the wound. Also, if you can’t stop head bleeding with gentle pressure, try putting a dollup of Neosporin on it which acts like a plug. I learned that when Nik was in first grade and I got a call from his school to take him to the doctor. And I like to recommend to all parents with young children to keep a supply of popsickles in the freezer for the times that their children smash up their mouths or knock their teeth loose…..it’s great to stop bleeding gums and reduce the swelling! And about that “boys will be boys” thing, I agree that parents use it as an excuse for poor behavior, although as a general rule I think boys tend to be more active and more adventurous than girls. Your mom, however, could hold her own with any boy. It’s too bad there weren’t more opportunities for girls when we were kids because your mom had some real talent. She was fearless and determined which was why she was such a good gymnast. I’d have one bad spill and I was done, but your mom was right back in there trying harder. She always impressed me that way and I was always proud of her.

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      Wow! Thanks for all the great first-aid tips. Priority #1 for me is always “DON’T PASS OUT.” So far so good. I need to get some popsicles because Atticus is always bumping his mouth on something, but won’t keep anything in there to help with swelling.

      What a cool perspective on my mom. Thank you for telling me that. :) I got a lot of that from her (aside from the fearlessness). I say, “I’m small, but I’m scrappy.” I love still when Daniel challenges me, and I miss being able to have adventures in the woods with my friends.

  4. Lizzy said:

    Gah! The boys will be boys mentality is so frustrating to me too! I am all about some equality and work to make sure the kids always have the same rules. (My NC friend wholeheartedly disagrees and feels that boys need to be beaten, a lot, straight from the womb.) Kids are always just so different though, and so are siblings. It’s hard to say how kids, especially 1 yr olds will be acting in the next 5 years. My brother was, still is, the quiet, gentle type. That boy has never had and ER visit, or a broken bone. I do hope Atticus grows into a man like his Daddy. He is a good man and his family is blessed to have him.

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