I read an interesting article recently on essential baby, written from the perspective of a father (who was raised by two matriarchs) dealing will the testosterone filled behaviour of his two sons. It’s a good read. It got me thinking and reminiscing.
I remember vividly, visiting a friend who had four children, the youngest of whom was a two year old boy. While we were sitting in the lounge room chatting and calmly sipping our tea, her son was busy building towers out of blocks, which he abandoned to play with some other toy nearby. Suddenly, he came running up with a bat of some sort, yelling like something akin to “George of the jungle” on steroids, and knocked the tower over, causing a cacophony of blocks to go flying across the room. My friend didn’t even flinch. Her response was “he’s not hurting anyone, sometimes you just have to let them be boys”. I was more than shocked. Wasn’t she going to reprimand him? At the time I put it down to her being so tired from having four children that she couldn’t face disciplining him for this behaviour.
How the tables turn. Now I have a two year old son and I totally understand what she meant. My son has a game that he plays only with his dad. He only tried playing it with me once, but as I was not thrilled about being included and obviously wasn’t as fun, it is now just their game. It is called “joewoe”. Basically it involves a run up and crash tackle hug of his dad who is sitting on the floor, whilst yelling at the top of his voice, a phrase concocted by my son – “joewoe!!!!”. We have no idea what the word means, apart from “get ready, I’m coming to get you”. It is full on. I have to be ejudicator to make sure no one gets hurt (which is inevitable of course). It is special that he has his dad who can fill that need of being rough and playing stax on. It really is a boy thing I think.
When i thought about my future children I never really imagined whether I would have boys or girls. I guess I didn’t really care. So, I never really thought specifically about what it would be like to raise a boy. My boy is very loud and active. He loves dirt and trucks and balls. None of which has been a result of my particular prompting or persuading or encouraging. I just as equally offer dolls with prams to play with, and he does sometimes occupy himself with them for a few minutes, but he just prefers cars and mechanical things. He loves building towers and knocking them down. He loves standing on the fence watching the garbage trucks come and go past our house (we live opposite their depot). He is also obsessed with drawing, colouring and painting, which are not specifically boy orientated things. He is a creative, flamboyant, determined little soul and I want to nurture that.
I have quite a few friends who have two sons each, all of whom are at different stages in their life. Some are little babies, some children and some becoming adults. I enjoy seeing how the different family units work. I look on with giggling and anxiousness at the farting, wrestling, sporting competitiveness of the brothers. I watch with solidarity, quietly observing the brave mothers’ harrangueing their boys and trying to learn how to balance discipline and fun. Sometimes they seem more like referees than mums. It’s a hard game. I’m glad I have the opportunity to learn from their experiences.
I hope I can impart some skills to my boys that many men are lacking. Things such as being emotionally available, listening actively and being helpful around the house. I also hope they can help me grow and learn how to let go, be active and enjoy life to it’s boy-sterous fullness. So for now, I take a deep breath and strap myself in for the ride of raising two (maybe more??) deliciously gorgeous boys.