Thursday, December 3, 2009

Venus and Mars

Some of the behaviors I love most about my son are also some of the same things that drive me crazy. He is such a free spirit and while I admire the independence the stubborn streak and at times just outward defiance is frustrating and embarrassing.

He is one of the sweetest, most sensitive and affectionate little boys. He tells me fifty times a day how much he loves me. If I leave the room, when I come back he tells me how much he missed me. He's full of hugs and kisses and he's like this way with his sister, his father, his grandparents, and his "favorite" cousin. I love this about him and can't get enough.

So, it's amazing how this same little boy can be filled with such a mischievous streak (and that's putting it nicely). It's not that he's mean-spirited at all. He just pushes the envelop as far as he can and truthfully consequences mean nothing to him. It's almost as if he weighs the options in his head before he does it and then does it anyway. I swear he's thinking, "I know if I hit my sister and then run away from my mom I am going to get in trouble, but it's worth it to know I upset my sister and my mom." Or, "I know my mom is going to be upset if I run away and hide from her in the store, but it's funny to see her panic thinking she lost me, so I'm going to do it anyway." The thing is that a lot of the behavior is not discipline-worthy, just frustrating. Example: trying on shoes and trying to make sure they fit and instead he puts the shoebox on his head and takes off dancing down the aisle saying, "The box is my hat."

I love that he's funny and can make anyone laugh and I love that he knows that he is funny. He performs for the reaction. But at the same time I am graying by the minute. He's a wonderful child and in truth, I'd take ten more just like him but he is such a boy and I mean that in the best possible way. I love having a daughter and I love having a son. I love them the same amount, but it's a different relationship with each. There are things that are specific to them that need nurturing and attention and boys and girls are just, by nature, so incredibly and wonderfully different. Nothing points that out more clearly than healthy, hyper little boys.

I want my son to be kind, compassionate, sensitive, caring and attentive. Those are qualities that I feel will one day make him a great husband and father. But I also want my son to be manly, rugged, rough, independent, and self-reliant. There's a tendency in our society to squash some of that natural beauty that is inherent in boys. You see it in school systems especially. They, at times, try to make boys into girls ( I mean that in a behavioral sense in that girls statistically have a longer attention span, are not as physical, etc.). So, I try to walk a fine line between disciplining him for inappropriate behavior but also letting him bask in his natural maleness (as I refer to it and as my husband mocks me for). Sometimes I get it wrong and let him bask when he should be disciplined and vice versa, but it's a learning process.

What were some of your children's most frustrating qualities or behaviors that also happened to be some of their most admirable?


Joanne said...

One of my daughters has always had a stubborn streak, which now has turned into an admirable determination that helps her reach her goals. The other used to love to set up her kitchen set in the kitchen while I cooked. You guessed it, now she loves to cook :)

Robyn said...

I am so glad you wrote this. Word for word, it could have been me writing about Bear. He has learned (unfortunately), that if he can make me and Hubby laugh, he is less likely to get in trouble for his "mischevious" behavior.

I shudder to think about what we're in for down the road...!