Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lasers and Swordfights and Guns, Oh My!

Boys.  That's what this is about.  Little muddy, sticky, rock-collecting, snake-loving, sword-carrying, gunfight-imagining boys.  I am blessed to have three of them.  They're seldom quiet, seldom still, and one or more is always up to some sort of mischief. And just to let you know, I wouldn't trade them for the world. 

I'm amazed at the number of people who think that just because they role play fighting, that boys are "naturally violent".  Or preoccupied with guns and violence.  I haven't found that to be the case.  My boys also love to play boardgames, play cards, to crochet, to build, to read, to cook and a plethora of other things.  And two of my three LOVE babies.  And they're gentle and kind, caring and loving.  In fact, this year two of mine won awards at school for "Kindness and Compassion".

Do they fight?  Of course, and I hate to burst your bubble, but my sister and I fought, too. And we played with cap guns and cracked each other over the head with batons.  Do my boys fight other children?  Yes, to defend themselves.  We don't encourage physical violence, but we do encourage standing up for yourself.  Is that wrong?  I don't think so. 

My boys don't like to hear or see things that portray real violence.  The violence and death they see and hear about on television, radio or in the newspapers scares them.  They feel compassion towards people who are hurt or have lost a family member.  They don't understand why anyone would hurt another person for little or no reason. 

And yes, there is a time and place for that kind of play.  And several places are off-limits for that--school and church, to name a couple.  Otherwise, I smile and wish for earplugs when I hear the "pew, pew, pew" of imaginary laser fights.  Hey, I never said it doesn't get on my nerves, but so does the high-pitched squeal of a little girl playing with friends. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Tween Years Come Early

My oldest child is 9. His age group is referred to as a "tween" in our church. Tweens are that mysterious group that are not children, but not quite teenagers. That "between" status that's so difficult for them (and us) to manage. They're too old for the mall play area and too young for the teen arcades. I personally think 9 is still a child, but I wouldn't let my son hear me say it.

The tween years, like everything else, seem to be surfacing earlier and earlier. My boys have had "girlfriends" since preschool. My oldest had the "birds and bees" talk at 5. One of our twins got in trouble for explaining to a little girl at school that "girls have boobs and boys don't". (And before you yell at me for teaching him a slang word, he knows the correct word.  Hell, I'm just glad the word 'penis' didn't end up in the conversation. I celebrate the little victories.)  Suffice it to say, this can be a little overwhelming to us parental types. I think my husband and I have managed okay so far. He says, "Ask your mom." And I give them answers. (Sorry, dear.)

I'm reading a couple of books right now. One is "How to Hug a Porcupine". It's aimed at those parents of tweens/preteens. And I'm finding much of it applies. 

He wants that independence, but still hangs on to the childish toys and rituals of his life. He wants to be left alone one minute and to sit in my lap the next. As confusing as it is for me, it's much more confusing for him. I'm not so old that I can't remember those days! (Now, what was I talking about?...)

He's got hormones surfacing, fears and questions about everything, and wants us near enough to help out, but not so near that we smother him. What a fine line we walk! One minute I'm the best, coolest Mom ever. The next, an embarrassment to the human race. (Note to self: call and apologize to Mom.)

My husband and I joke that, if people knew what they were getting into when they have children, and I mean what they're REALLY getting into, the human race would have ceased to exist long ago.  (Haters, don't send me nasty-grams, I love my children.  But let's be honest, they're NOT little bundles of sweetness and light ALL the time.)

I suppose we'll make it through this stage in one piece with a portion of sanity left. But I'm pretty sure it's gonna be one heck of a ride!

Thanks for reading!