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September 18, 2008

Nasty Boys!(That I Adore)

5 I always spent the night at Rachel's house with a bit of trepidation.  Her room was in the basement, and so was her older brother's.  He had wacky stuff like a weightlifting bench, Kiss posters, sports trophies and other boyish paraphernalia lying around.  He'd blast Fleetwood Mac's Rumours from his room.  I was one of three girls, and I was intimidated by the noise, odor and constant activity he generated.  He couldn't have been stranger to me if he had been from Pluto.

Today Rachel's brother would not faze me at all.  As the mother of a thirteen-year-old and two ten-year-old boys, I figure I've about seen and done it all, boy-wise: given the boy sex talk, done the stitches, played the fart games, and so on.  And one thing I've realized is that many females carry their fear of boys into adulthood where their prejudices can affect the way boys are treated.

We've had a couple of young teachers who don't realize that boys aren't able to sit as quietly as little girls are.  A smart teacher gave each boy a few seconds between subjects to "stand up and get the wiggles out," and that simple act made a big difference in Finn's ability to pay attention throughout the day.

Some women expect boys to be bullies, even if they're tenderhearted.  Last week after soccer practice Porter was swinging on the school playground while my husband finished talking with the other coach.  Porter is ten, and a seven-year-old girl and her friend were swinging as well.

"You need to get off the swings, because you're shaking them," one girl whined to Porter.

"I'm not shaking them.  Swings just shake because you're flying in the air," Porter said.

The other girl got off and ran to her mom, who stalked over and planted herself in front of Porter.

"You need to get off the swings right now!  You're endangering my child!" she hissed.

Porter was confused, but he's been taught to obey adults, so he got off the swing.

He came home in hysterics.

"I wasn't hurting anybody, and I have just as much right to swing as those girls do," he sobbed.  "Do I have to stay off the swings whenever there's a girl around now?  I like to swing when soccer practice is over."

I cuddled him and told him that some girls, even mothers, aren't used to boys.  Sometimes people jump to conclusions, and moms can be fierce and scary when they're trying to protect their children.  That's one of their most important jobs.

"But they didn't need protecting from me," he whispered.  I held him until he fell asleep.

Some people think all boys, mine included, are smelly and mean and gross.  Sometimes they are.  But I love them.

This is an original Deep South Moms Blog post by Anne Glamore.  She also writes at Tales From My Tiny Kingdom, where she recently wrote about her first and last Webelo expedition.

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