Friday, August 16, 2013

Boys Will Be Boys

Since the day I found out I was pregnant with Kade I was convinced that He was a She. I couldn't imagine it any other way. We'd always joked in my family that my sister, athletic and comedic, would have the boys. Me, being emotional and willowly, would have the girls. We had a girl named picked out-first and middle- and had hesitantly kicked around only a few boy names.

When the doctor asked, "Do you want to know the sex?" We both grinned and nodded. I was discreetly praying that it would not be a boy. Please God, spare me. My doctor told us it was a boy. He said it's a boy! Congratulations! and shook my limp hand and left the room hastily and excitedly. I sat in utter shock. Ian grinned and hugged me and grinned some more and practically hugged himself. 

What am I going to do with a boy?

 It all seemed surreal, to the very day he was born. The baby shower gifts; overalls and blue blankets and basketball clad onesies. The sweet patchwork animals I had bought before we knew the sex; pink and white puppy and giraffe, now out of place in his all-boy bedroom. When he was born, of course, I was overjoyed. Who cared about the sex? He was mine. 

I've been very fortunate to have a well-behaved, well-natured, calm boy. In Kade's first three years of life he was so well-behaved that I had sworn it was because of his health problems. God gave me a good boy because he knew I couldn't handle health AND behavior problems. Kade has excellent table manners. He sleeps through the night regularly, eats his veggies and (usually) remembers his magic words. He's sweet and smart and kind.

Flash forward to Tuesday afternoon, in my kitchen. Kade is standing on top of my kitchen table. I ease him off and remind him, as calmly as I can, that we need to keep our feet on the floor. He does it again. This time, spitting at me and smiling. As many times as I pull him down, he gets back up. Time out? A joke. He won't sit no matter what distraction I provide for him. I tell him to go to his room to cool down. He goes to his room, knocks everything off the shelves and goes back to standing on the table. When I reach for him this time, he lunges, kicking my milk glass bowl off the table and onto the ground, where it laid in a million tiny pieces.

Kade felt bad for this. He started crying and even reminded me today, Kade broke mamas thing. Kade sorry. I felt bad too. I was exhausted and overwhelmed. I raised my voice and shouted, Go To Your Room Now.  When did I lose a grasp on him? I was sure that my parenting was "working," whatever that means and that Kade respected me. I think we put a lot of emphasis on whether what we do as parents "works." I also believe this is especially true for boys. 

At the library, titles glare down from dusty shelves. Titles like, "Why Boys Fail" and "Raising Boys; A Full Contact Sport" can be discouraging. Boys in general have a bad rap. Lower test scores, poor social skills, higher risk for drug abuse and criminal mischief. Boys go through their "phases" and by the time they're teenagers, it's common to hear mothers exasperate that they've given up. They insist they can't parent their boys anymore, that it's time to "let them go."

This is my biggest fear as a parent to Kade. I fear that I'm just not equipped to raise a boy. How do I teach him to be a gentlemen? How do I show him the path of least resistance? Convince him to get good grades, to be a hard worker? Teach him how to choose good friends? Encourage him to go to college, not spend time playing video games, be active in sports and march to the beat of his own drum all at the same time?

It all seems like a big game of "follow the leader." I've had to learn to stop and pay close attention to Kade. To follow his little drum beat. Every day is a learning experience- but I'm getting the hang of it.

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