Wiggling Worms

Being a boy-mom means you’d better learn to laugh at the unexpected.

Earlier this spring my 2-year-old ate a worm! I came outside just in time to witness the last wiggle of a brown earthworm destined for my son’s innards.

I asked him why he would eat a worm? Enthusiastically, he flapped his arms and cawed. Of course I doubled over in laughter. Who wouldn’t laugh realizing their child wants to be a bird so much so he’d taste test a worm?

The problem with my reaction was he quickly picked up another worm to eat. So I had to spend 20 minutes explaining why we don’t eat worms. This I noted was something I never thought I’d be doing as a parent!

That night he got a belly ache probably not worm related, but I used the opportunity to reinforce humans don’t eat worms. I also ordered Yucky Worm by Vivian French. It’s a delightful book perfect for preschoolers who are enthralled with worms. I certainly learned a few new facts!

Finally, I am happy to report he doesn’t seem to be eating any more worms, but he still loves “keeping” them in his pockets, making laundry time a little more exciting.

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Shaving with Baby

I am a self described morning person. My grandfather says anything you are going to accomplish in a day will be done before noon. I find it oddly true. Heck many of these articles have been drafted at 3am!

But like all people, sometimes I wake up crabby. I try not to because it seems to set a tone with the boys and the morning becomes very loud. (Me, yelling, too much.) It’s hard to avoid when morning crashes on me after a night that felt more like third shift than rest.

After one of these third shift mornings when I was all sorts of un-caffeinated crazy-crabby, boy #1 managed to turn my whole day upside right.

With his loud voice he announce he would be shaving after brushing his teeth. He used a toy razor from the pile bathtub toys. After shaving, and this is the part that grew my grouchy-filled heart 3 sizes, he made his second announcement that he also needed to tuck his baby doll in before preschool.

Shaving and taking care of his baby! Suddenly I had a glimpse of him as a father, decades from now, and he is wonderful. Heart happy! 

Does your son have a doll?

My husband takes the boys to choose their doll. Boy #1 loves his doll and sleeps with it every night. Boy #2 is less interested. Boy #3 is still a baby himself.

I didn’t think a boy having a doll was controversial anymore? I’ve been taken aback when I met other moms who worry a baby doll will make their son less masculine. Yet, simultaneously so proud of how gentle and doting their husbands are as a father. The doll aversion is even more surprising given it’s more likely their little boy will grow up to be a father than a storm trooper.

I do know that our economy will continue to be complex and couples will need to know how to jump in and out of both professional and domestic roles. It seems practical to encourage my sons play at being a dad.

Girls are encouraged to play at everything today. Play sports, play superhero, play scientist, or play family is all socially acceptable and encouraged for girls. But boys still have a narrow definition of boyhood.

Just like girls, boys need to play at the breadth of human experience and not only those pieces deemed masculine. Otherwise, I think, there will be a steady stream of men who are threatened when a woman steps too far into their masculine world. Because what are they left with?

For now, though, I know it’s cheery and heart warming to wake up to the sounds of little boys happily playing imaginary family.

Hello!

Between the constant barrage of cleaning dishes, dog hair, endless kid toys and making palatable healthy meals for my family I want to understand boyhood.

Well more precisely…..

I don’t want my sons to be assholes. Yes it’s crass, but also conveys exactly what I mean. I have 3 sons and no daughters and a lot of questions as to how to raise a feminist son.

My former single, twenty-something self had a rule to never date a man without any sisters. Whether it was the wine or wishful thinking something led me and my girlfriends to believe men without sisters could not understand women. And that these sister-less males put women in a little pink box filled with cliché, like women need a lot of time to get ready, women like white wine not beer, all women love chivalry, and women would rather be home with kids etc.

A sister, in our minds, inoculated our suitors all these assumptions and from being chauvinistic idiots or worse.

Admittedly, this rule has a few flaws. Donald Trump has a sister. So how do I prevent my sweet little boys from becoming sexist, chauvinistic men?

I can’t imagine mothers of sexist, chauvinistic men raised them that way?

I can’t imagine sisters not calling out their brothers when they see hem behaving this way? But sexist and chauvinistic men come from families usually comprised of both genders. So what the hell happened?

I’m obsessed with blogs about raising empowered girls. I’ve read literally hundreds of articles about girls in STEM, raising confident girls, girls who lead, women who lean in.

Unfortunately even with all this dialogue and emphasis placed on gender equality a recent study at University of Washington continues to show the disparity between men and women in the classroom. This study is fascinating because it involves 18-20 year-old millennials who you assume have been raised in the new girl-empowered era.

This made me think that maybe we’re only having half the conversation? It’s not enough to raise our daughters to be empowered go-getters. We must also raise our sons with the awareness to recognize and reject sexism.

Wow!

It’s a powerful vision to have women and men leaning in or leaning back together.

What are the best practices for raising boys? Like I said, I’ve read hundreds if not thousands of articles on raising girls. How societal norms impact a girls confidence. How girls tend to believe talent is innate and boys view talent as acquired with hard work. But what about boys?

Do boys need something different than girls to be their best authentic self?

How do I encourage my sons to become the kind of men who desire equality, recognize sexism, and are confident that their value to family is not defined by being the breadwinner?

I plan to explore all these questions, share funny stories that happen around here, and try to figure out this boy mom thing.