I wanted to show you version two of a dashiki with a deconstructed collar (this time on purpose) but, more than that right now, I just want a kid who can SIT STILL AND LISTEN for one damn moment.
This child, this boy, he mumbles wahs instead of rrrrs. But you can hear him clear as a bell when he runs up and shouts, 'I will destroy you!' right before he whaps you with the instrument of death du jour.
In the toy store he always walks around with a box on his hand. Inside the box is usually a gun and he has his tiny little fingers wrapped around the handle and trigger. You know when he points the box in your direction, squints his left eye and asks, 'are you a bad guy?' that you are already dead. Asking, I've found out, is a mere formality.
Birdie, would you like to have your picture taken in your new train shirt?
No! Yes! Onna bed so I can jump!
If he could just sit still for just a moment. With a smile. Without grub on his face and his hands sticky. Without making that weird face he does with his tongue sliding out and his eyes rolling back into his head. Without waving, without jiggling, without jittering, worming, twisting, wiggling, slumping, shooting, bumping, flopping or raspberrying.
Just be still!
Don't worry, I can't seem to upset him for too long.
Much has been made of little boys. They are daring, and darling, messy and aggressive. They charm and then they balk. They shout and storm and boss and will do almost anything for a laugh. They can be so considerate, but only after they've reduced you to tears.
They think that everything is okay unless the walls are actually falling down around them.
Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, Calvin and Hobbes, Max the Wild Thing. Spiderman, Superman, Jedis, sharks, tigers. Guns, swords, sticks, things with wheels that crash into other things with wheels...
Boys! How did I end up with one?
I try not to label frustrating behavior as just 'being a boy'. It excuses some behaviors that are truly unacceptable, others that are dangerous, and clouds my vision of the person standing (wiggling, bumping, raspberrying) before me. 'Boys will be boys' is a knee jerk reaction that cuts the intellect and allows me to disengage emotionally. To pretend like I really do not any influence on how my young man behaves. He may belong to the tribe BOY (which I conceded, has its own unique customs and rituals), but he's also a real, whole person who needs to stand up and account for his own behavior. We will not hide behind gendered stereotypes in this house!
And that's the way it's going to be because I'm the mom and I said so.
Oh, look, there is a a child there! A little blurry still, a bit grubby, messy hair, I love you mommy... yup, that's my kid.