Tuesday, April 3, 2012

On Raising Little Men

The Boy showing off his
 monkey-like skills
 When The Boy arrived, in all his red-headed, blazing glory, the first thing I said to the nurse, upon being told that he was a boy, was " he's going to be a man someday?!?!"
----- how is that for a mouthful in a sentence?
I grew up with sisters, and from the moment they placed him, arms and legs flailing, into my arms, I knew my mind was about to be blown. That is not to say that with his subsequent sisters I haven't had moments in which I realized that " oh no...that is not just a boy thing at all." It's just I knew that raising a boy was going to challenge me, pull me out of my shell, and force me to see things in ways I had never thought of before.
 He has...done all of that and more. One of the things that we are dealing with lately, with renewed vigor, is his need for activity. He was a crazy active toddler, to the point that the pediatrician decided we should see the specialists, and they decided that he had some kind of sensory disorders. In the time since then, I have realized these things aren't disorders...but the need for action, adventure....in other words....what little boy ( or child) doesn't have these "disorders" to some extent?
 Over the years, his tendency toward calmness has grown and grown, to the point that I began to forget about the wild, climbing toddler, in all but that abstract way in which we reflect on who are children were and who they are now. Yet lately, it has resumed, or maybe I am just getting to spend the whole day with him again, and I am just seeing what he was getting out at recess.
 Our school day incorporates play breaks and P.E. Yet, this has not been enough, and on non-school days, his need to try to wrestle his sisters, climb, shout, and jump off things has become nearly overwhelming....and one day, just home from a prenatal appointment, I was nearly at my wit's end- "stop grappling your sisters?!?!"
 Then it hit me...something useful I might just have picked up at public school.
Our very wise Principal had a special way of dealing with high energy kids. Instead of taking away recess time, as is customary punishment for multiple offenses, she would send them out...to run laps and get some of "it" out.
 So there, at my wit's end, I sent the boy into the rain (with a raincoat) with the instruction just to run, run in circle around the yard...run until you don't feel like you need to body slam one of your ( all to willing) sisters.
 The glee in his face ?!? Being told TO GO OUT IN THE RAIN!?!?! Had Mama lost her mind? or had all of his dreams finally come true?
 Not only did he go out and run, but he decided, without my suggestion, to do push-ups, jumping jacks, and of course, some aerials off of the playground toys.
When he came in, he was wet, but he was gratified. He needed this; I needed this. And more, I felt like I understood my boy more than ever. Maybe not the mysteries behind those wild green eyes, but at least a kind of cohesion between the two of us; one I haven't felt since he was an infant - one where I just instinctively knew what he needed.

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