Friday, March 12, 2010

Bringing Up Boys

This past month was a little slow in the reading lane. I was doing so good, plowing through my reading list and then somewhere along the line my tires spun out. I would like to tell you it's because I've been nesting like a mad woman, eagerly preparing for #2's arrival. But that would be a lie. Poor #2. If he was born today we'd have to bring him home from the hospital in a musty-smelling car seat that Daddy carved out of the ice in our freezing attic. I think the real reason I haven't done much reading lately is because (a) Jon showed me how to download Tetris onto my phone. This was one of my favorite video games growing up, and Jon and I have been both been intent on beating one another's score. And (b) Jon's been on Spring break and we decided to catch up on this season of 24 that we DVR'd. Evenings after Jack goes to bed have been very intense in our house as we've watched Jack Bauer save the world. Both Jon and I have maxed out Tetris and we've completely caught up on 24, so hopefully I'll get back to my books this week!

So, since my last update I've read 1.5 books. Not counting the hundreds of times this past week I've "read" Hop on Pop, Watch Me Go and Goodnight, Sweet Butterflies. I say "read" because Jack insists on turning the pages himself, which he does so fast I usually only get to read one or two words a page. Currently I'm reading Passionate Housewives Desperate for God, which I saw on several other Book It bloggers reading lists. I happened to get it for free (plus shipping) thanks to Money Saving Mom. I'm not quite halfway through it, and I haven't really "gotten into it" yet. So maybe I'll write about it in next month's review ... if I can manage to do one in April. :)

So, without further ado, the one book I managed to complete this month was Dobson's Bringing Up Boys. (As I typed that title my son came running out of the kitchen carrying a bread knife longer than his arm.) *sigh* I needed this book. And I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would. Several times I laughed out loud, then shuddered as I realized I will probably have very similar stories to tell about my two boys in a few years. For instance Dobson writes:

"... one of the scariest aspects of raising boys is their tendency to risk life and limb for no good reason. It begins very early. If a toddler can climb on it, he will jump off it. [As I type this line Jack is standing and jumping on top of the coffee table.] He careens out of control towards tables, tubs, pools, steps, trees, and streets. [I feel better knowing my kid isn't the only one that runs into walls or smacks his head on furniture several times a day.] He will eat anything but food and loves to play in the toilet. [I wish I could tell you what Jack pulled out of the trash last night, dipped into the toilet and then put into his mouth but it's so bad I can't.] He makes "guns" out of cucumbers or toothbrushes and likes digging around in drawers, pill bottles, and Mom's purse. ... His mom has to watch him every minute to keep him from killing himself. He loves to throw rocks, play with fire, and shatter glass. [Or, in our case, Mommy's favorite serving platter that she got as a wedding gift.] He also gets great pleasure out of irritating his brothers and sisters, his mother, his teachers, and other children. [Have I mentioned that Jack's Sunday School "teacher" informed us last week that he was hitting and shoving other kids?] ... Not every boy is like this, of course, but the majority of them are."
Hmmm, I'm pretty sure Jack falls in the majority here. And by the way #2 has attempted to break through my uterine wall these last two days, I'm thinkin' he's going to end up following in his big brother's footsteps.

Aside from the numerous instances where I found myself saying, "He's talking about my son!" Dobson also provides great information on the difference between males and females and why these are important, the current risk to traditional gender roles in today's world, and what I found most alarming, how current society has impacted our boys. It made me realize what great responsibility I have a mother to a little boy, a future man that both Jon and I think is going to be a great leader some day. I have to admit, it's just a little scary to hear that the odds are stacked against your son.

Dobson also offers suggestions for how to raise your little guy, provide loving discipline (ugh, why have I been dreading this phase!!) and plenty of opportunities for him to just be a boy. I no longer worry about Jack and Jon wrestling on the floor every night, because I realize it's not just natural but important. Although I love when Jack suddenly stops wrestling to give his Daddy a kiss... and then starts right back up again. :) Not sure how long that will last. Apparently around 18 months is when boys start to pull away from their Mommas and begin identifying more with their Dads. We're already seeing this in our house. Just last week, Jon came home from work, sat down in his easy chair, and put his feet up with a big sigh. Then we laughed as we watched Jack sit in his own chair and let out a big sigh just like his Dad.

So yes, Jack's our wild child. Sometimes he literally wears me out, and Jon too. But we both agree we wouldn't change him for the world. I love his sense of adventure, his fearless approach to new things, his desire to learn and understand his expanding world, his interest in being involved in EVERYTHING. Yes, these traits get annoying sometimes, but they're what makes him him. We have our work cut of for us, providing loving discipline in order to change our son's will without breaking his spirit and raising a boy to be a real man in a world that seems to be working against that. But I can't think of a better, more rewarding job than bringing up some boys ... and hopefully ... someday ... please Lord... maybe a sister or two?


Anonymous said...

You write incredibly well. Thoroughly enjoy each "episode". But this is like cliff hanger friday, not knowing what the trash can incident item was!

douglass said...

Janine....I'm crying reading your post this week...and you must know I NEVER cry. I think I can super identify with you about the awesomeness and difficulty of raising a boy (and I have a feeling more boys are coming :) I MUST get that book. Those lines that you shared from the book sound just like a little someone I know. It's amazing to think how awesome these boys are going to be, strong leaders, and pals :) Thanks for writing so great, what we can all identify with.

FishMama said...

The photos of your son were a great addition to this post. As a mother of four boys, I'm right there with you. Thanks for sharing your reading journey!

J9 said...

Thanks everyone! I just love being a boy-mama! :)

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