Archive for the 'boys' Category

A Man’s World

Yesterday, Pigpen jumped off the bus and came trudging up the steps to the front door. The first thing he said to me, even before our usual hug, was “I got PUNCHED in the NECK today!” You could tell that he had been keeping this bit of information bottled up inside of him all day long and that it was bubbling it’s way up to the surface, furiously pushing it’s way out. I took him inside and asked, “What? By whom? Why? Did you tell on him? Did you say something to him first? Did you hit him back? Did you get in trouble?” After quite the interrogation, he gave me no information except that he didn’t know why the kid hit him, he didn’t do anything to him first, he didn’t tell on him, didn’t retaliate and didn’t get in trouble. Apparently, nobody saw a thing. I told him we’d sort it all out when Daddy got home.

A few hours later, when B arrived, he took Pigpen into the bedroom and closed the door. I stood outside, listening. He asked the same questions again. He got the same answers. And then Pigpen began to cry. After B had reassured him that everything was going to be okay and that he wasn’t in trouble, I heard him speak the words I have been dreading since I found out that my destiny involved three sons.

“Pigpen, listen to me. This is important. If anyone ever hurts you again, you don’t just stand there and do nothing. You hit back. You make sure that people know that they can’t mess with you, that you won’t put up with that. You need to defend yourself.”

And then Pigpen’s little voice saying “But then I’ll get in trouble!”

“Well you won’t get in trouble with me. And if they punish you at school, I will come to school and talk to the teachers and the principal personally. You don’t worry about that part.”

I’ve known this was a conversation that was going to happen eventually. It’s one of the few things that B and I completely disagree on when it comes to parenting. In my opinion, retaliation with fists is the pussy way out. It doesn’t take any talent to get pissed off and hit someone back. It takes self control and integrity to walk away or find another solution. And yet, B can still vividly remember being 7 years old and being beat on by classmates. He remembers not fighting back, hearing his Dad’s voice inside his head, scaring him into submission. He maintains that his weakness and refusal to stand up for himself set an image in stone, and all through his school years, he was never respected.

We debated it again last night. His new argument is that “most boys will fight and be friends afterwards.” He says that “it’s a man’s world out there and sometimes, this is how problems between men get solved.”

I can see where he’s coming from. I don’t want my kid getting hurt. I certainly don’t want some big bully walking up to my sweet little angel on the playground and punching him in the neck for no reason at all. In fact, all I want to do is march out there during recess and grab that little fuck by the collar and shake the fear of God into him. But somewhere deep inside, I know that teaching my children about non-violent communication and problem solving is what is right. It’s something that will set them up for the challenges and fear and pain and hurdles of life. And so, after B’s lecture I stand there and look my boy’s in the eyes and I say, “But if you ask me, a bully isn’t worth your time and energy. Show him how little his actions mean to you by walking away.” They look at me and roll their eyes. At least I’ve said my piece and can go to bed with a clear conscience.

What do the rest of you think? To retaliate in self defense or not?

The Bolo Tie

Oh yeah, one more thing. I forgot to tell you about how one day last week, Pigpen decided to wear a bolo to school. It was one of the more embarassing moments of my motherhood.

The Birds & The Bees

When I became pregnant with Animal, Pigpen was 5 and Einstein was nearly 7. Because I had chosen a homebirth, and my boys had expressed an interest in watching their baby brother be born, I knew that some minor sex education was in order. The first thing I asked the boys was, “Do you know where the baby will come out?” Pigpen eyed me curiously. “Your MOUTH?” he asked, increduously. This further convinced me that a few choice details needed to be revealed. The boys learned that Daddy and I had made a baby and that it was growing inside my belly. They learned that boys had penises, girls had vaginas, and the baby was going to be come out of my vagina. At this point, Einstein said “No WAY” in disbelief. “How is a BABY going to get through a little vagina?” I explained that it would stretch enough for the baby to be born. At that point, that was all they really needed to know.

And so when Animal was born, as promised, he came from my vagina. Einstein didn’t seem too impressed, but Pigpen was quite captivated. My midwife lifted the placenta and carefully showed him where Animal had been living for the past 9 months. Pigpen was fascinated.

Back when I was 9 or 10, my mother had given me the Birds and the Bees talk. She had used a book. I remember being curious, but embarassed. I remember finding the book and hiding it under my bed, to sneak peeks at whenever I was alone and away from my parent’s watchful eye. It wasn’t long before my mother found the book, and it disappeared from our library. I felt like a freak, a pervert.

When I was 16, I lost my virginity. I promptly made an appointment with Planned Parenthood, and summoned the courage to call up my ONE friend (male) who had a car and a driver’s license, so that I could have transportation to the clinic. I was proud of myself, feeling responsible for my body and mature. Not long after, my mother found my birth control prescription. It was not a pretty sight, because of course, good Christian girls save themselves for marriage. I felt dirty and guilty. Perhaps that was her intent. Two years later, I would face an unplanned pregnancy that would change my life forever. I have to wonder if a supportive stance on the birth control issue would have caused an entirely different outcome.

Anyway, today Pigpen is nearly 7 and Einstein is 8. When I was in school, Sex Education was taught in 3rd grade. For Einstein, that’s next year. I have strong feelings about “getting to him first.” Not that I don’t entirely trust the public school system to give him good information, but mostly because I want him to have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss things in an environment where he feels safe and comfortable. I also want to educate him myself before his friends start talking, and boys start “ewwwing” about Sex Ed and stop paying attention during the lesson.

I’m a little concerned that Pigpen isn’t exactly ready for the big Birds & the Bees discussion, but I’m more afraid of giving Einstein “The Talk” and having him spill the beans to Pigpen in a secondhand manner that won’t be appropriate. And so, we embark on a new adventure in parenthood.

I scoured the earth for an informative book that was age appropriate and had information that I agreed with. I also needed something fun and interesting, with great illustrations to keep the kids interested. I found such a book, called “It’s So Amazing: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families by Robie H. Harris. It really is a fantastic book. The first night I pulled out the book, I told the kids that it was time they learned about their bodies. As expected, the first few chapters were met with “EW’s” and giggles, and completely hilarious comments. In one picture, there is a blackboard, in which pictures have been drawn to illustrate that EGG + SPERM = BABY. And so there is a picture of an egg (a circle), a sperm, and a baby. Pigpen points to the picture and says “Look! Egg plus balloon equals a baby!” While I am explaining that in order to make a baby, a sperm must plant itself inside an egg, Pigpen shouts out “EGGPLANT! EGGPLANT!” Halfway through, Einstein remarks, “This is kind of gross, Mom.” After the allotted reading time was up, I tucked them into bed and practically ran into the bathroom to lock myself in and laugh myself into hysterics.

Tonight, they were begging for the book long before bedtime. They just couldn’t wait for more information, little sponges that they are. They interrupted me after every couple of sentences, excitedly bombarding me with questions and giggling at words like “anus” and “testicles”. They whined and begged for more when I put the book away for the night. I promised to read more tomorrow. I was proud. I want them to be informed. I want them to know their own bodies, inside and out. I want them to never feel ashamed about the way their bodies are changing. Just the same, I want them to understand the female body. I want them to grow up to respect the female form, to know how it works and how to treat it gently. I just have to cross my fingers and hope that I’m doing the right thing, in the right way.

This is how weird my family is

Today we went grocery shopping as a family, minus Pigpen. It’s always nice to keep Pigpen away from the grocery, considering the child has a bottomless pit for a stomach and will ask for every food item in the store, even after repeatedly being warned against it.

Einstein had a few bucks burning a hole in his pocket since, like myself, he is all about instant gratification. Saving money=torture.

We get to the Asian aisle, where B stops and wanders every damn time we go shopping. He’s always buying these disgusting rice crackers wrapped in seaweed. Sometimes he purchases these dehydrated mini sardines and pops them into his mouth like candy while he’s watching the Discovery channel.

Today, he discovers a new product and Einstein is fascinated. It looks like this:

crabs-001.jpg

Oh yes, those are actually real mini crabs in a bag. And yes, they do say “Let’s Party!” (What’s a party without crabs in a bag??) From what I hear they are crunchy, coated in sesame seeds, and sickly sweet. They weren’t a big hit. Apparently they taste and smell like a fish that has been rotting away underneath a fishing dock. You have no idea how sick and wrong it was to watch my husband and offspring ingest these suckers. I’d rather eat my own feces. No joke.

Boys and their toys (or TP tubes in this case)

Here’s proof that little boys will fashion guns out of anything they can get their hands on.

On not having a daughter

When I was pregnant with Einstein, strangers were constantly saying things like “Wow, you look like you’re about to pop”, even when I had several months left until my due date. With Pigpen, people kept asking me if I was going to have twins. One time, someone even asked me “when I was due” when I wasn’t even pregnant.

I don’t know why people ask and say the sorts of shit they do. I wonder if they realize how rude they are.

Nowadays, since Animal’s birth, I have been bombarded by the following:

“Wow, you have THREE BOYS???”

“Didn’t you/don’t you want a girl?”

“You HAVE to try again for a girl”

“You really need a daughter.”

Every once in awhile, I’ll come across a foreigner (usually Asian) who will tell me how lucky I am to have three sons. But the rest of the time, I’m getting sympathetic smiles or the shake of the head and the “tsk tsk, what a shame.”

I thought the pregnancy comments were terrible. Yes, they were embarassing, but nothing like this. I wonder if these people realize that they might actually be rubbing salt in an open wound, that perhaps it’s quite painful to be constantly reminded of the fact that I don’t (and will probably never) have a daughter. It’s almost as if they act like it’s my fucking fault. Like I made a decision. Like I refused a female child.

Of course, I react by smiling politely. I nod. I say “Oh yes, it’s a busy life. Lots of sports. Lots of food.” I then try to turn away, or find a quick escape. But sometimes the conversation continues, and that person will say something to the effect of “Oh girls are such trouble anyway. Boys are so much easier.” As if maybe they have finally realized that perhaps they have been rude, and they are now trying to fix it. Make me feel better. It doesn’t work.

I am afraid that one day, I’m just going to crack and I’m going to tell that person just how much I’ve always wanted a daughter. I’m going to tell them how I wished and hoped and prayed. I’ll explain how I cried after every ultrasound. I’ll tell them how I couldn’t even believe it until my boys were born and realized for sure, that the ultrasound results had been correct. I’ll give them the list of names. Mia. Ava. Olivia. I’ll tell them about the hours I spent looking at little pink dresses, hair bows, easter hats, patent leather shoes. I’ll tell them about the jealousy, when 5 of my closest friends bore daughters. I’ll share my pain of never attending a ballet recital or planning a wedding.

It’s one of those things that I really should come to terms with. I’m just not sure I ever will. I seriously imagine myself getting older, going into menopause and realizing “it really, truly is not going to happen.” I don’t think I’ll really be able to grieve it until then.

You always hear this stupid little saying: “Don’t give up your dreams.” I hate that phrase. Doesn’t anyone realize that the biggest dreams are ones you have no control over?

Do Girls Fart?

The other day, B was playing with Animal. He lifted him up in the air, twirled him around, tickled him, etc. Just the way you play with a baby. Well, at one point, Animal’s butt was right in B’s face when Animal let loose a big ole baby fart. I started giggling. When I had recovered, I asked B, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if we just let loose every time we felt some gas coming on? No matter what we were doing, or where we were, or how inappropriate it might be???”

B gave me this weird look and said “Uh, I DO let loose like that.” LOL!

I was retelling the story to my mom later, and we were laughing about how true that is. Men will seriously fart anywhere at anytime.

But women…oh we are complete opposites. We will squeeze our buttcheeks as hard as we can, and tighten up our buttholes until the urge passes. If we’re walking, we’ll find an excuse, or a nonchalant way to stop, look natural, tighten, and wait. As a result, women everywhere are suffering from painful gas, bloating, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and the list goes on and on.

Now I know you men are thinking “Do you *ever* let it out?” Well, of course we do. The appropriate time is when we’re on the toilet. So when we sit down to pee, we let out the air first, and then start the tinkle.

It’s the funniest thing in the world to be in a busy women’s restroom and hear every single woman open a stall door, unzip, sit down on the pot, fart, and then pee. Every time man, every time! LOL! And actually, a lot of us are self-conscious about anyone in the public restroom hearing our pre-pee farting. So we have learned to cough or simultaneously flush the toilet while we’re doing the deed. Come on ladies, don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about!