31 Days of Raising Boys: Dirt

How is it possible that not but 5 minutes after I vacuum, there are granules of dirt and sand and even leaves and rocks littering the floor?

Why does my 4 year old want to fill his pockets with flowers and rocks? Why does my 2 year old want to put sand in his dump truck and drive it through the house?

It's inevitable. Dirt and messes follow boys everywhere they go. It's impressive, actually.

So, the moral of the story? Get that vision of a perfectly cleaned house out of your mind. It's not happening and that's ok. Dirt means those boys are playing, discovering, adventuring, learning...livin' right.

31 Days of Raising Boys: Butts, Poop and Farts

Oh my gosh, did I actually just include the word "farts" in my post title?
These words alone will make my boys collapse into a fit of giggles. It happened so early, too. Once it starts, it never stops. I heard a 10 year old boy at the park, chuckling when my boys were being silly and making each other laugh while talking about poop. I fought it for awhile but I end up giggling right along with them, dangit. I don't allow it at the dinner table but it's fair game everywhere else. Not all moms prefer that and I get the occasional sideways look but hey, I'd rather have laughing kids than be concerned about what others think.

31 Days of Raising Boys: Fearless

They feel invincible, strong, agile and quick. They climb, jump, run, spin, crawl, hang and slide on anything and everything. I often have to calm my tattered nerves and clenched jaw by reminding myself that they are learning and exploring and that I do my best to keep them safe. I have daily heart attacks and I often forget to breathe. Their fearlessness and confidence is wonderful and scary all at once.
The truth is I want them to explore, adventure and experience. If they run too fast, fall and end up with a scraped knee, they will remember (eventually) that running down a hill of rocks may not be the best idea. Natural consequences are the best. I can tell them what will happen if they make choice x but they won't believe me. They need to figure it out on their own.
When an appropriate situation arises, instead of "Don't do that, you'll fall" I ask "Is that a good idea? What do think will happen if you ...." I like to hear their thought process and see them problem solve and make a choice, even if it's not the one I prefer.
Their fearlessness reminds me to take risks, to jump in and see what happens, to stir some excitement into my days. Funny how that works.

31 Days of Raising Boys: The Noise

Oh the noise. There's just so much, always. They talk loudly, shout across the house, stomp around, build tall building of blocks and then run through them, set up cars in a line then crash through them, drive dump trucks on the walls, jump on their beds making karate sounds, bang their forks on their plates to make music. It's so true that when there is silence, someone is up to something (like drawing on the wall or dipping toys in the toilet).
The giggles and squeals and shrieks threaten to break my ear drums, but they fill my heart with love and joy. That noise is the evidence of a happiness.  That noise fills the house with adventure and possibility, love and fun.

But I still like to practice whispering with them, when my ears need a break.

31 Days of Raising Boys: This

This. Just this.

31 Days of Raising Boys: Expectance and Acceptance

I have recently resolved to wake each day with expectance and acceptance in my heart. I expect and and accept that my boys will be loud. They talk loud, shout and squeal and scream and run around the house pretending to be monsters.
I expect and accept that the house will be messy. Mess follows my 2 tornados wherever they go. I learned early that I should not waste my time and energy on picking up behind them because they will circle around again and the blocks will litter the living room rug, again. We will wait until bed time and clean up as a family.
I expect and accept that they will play fight and turn brooms into swords. It's just in a boy's nature to battle and adventure through the forces of good and evil. I fought this for a long time. I don't like guns or weapons of any sort. Yet, they turn train tracks into swords or make guns with their fingers. I won't buy them these toys but I accept that they will use their imaginations to turn their Legos into grenades.
I expect and accept that everything will be covered in pee.
I expect and accept that they need to move and fidget and run and jump and climb. My boys are energetic and adventurous. They wiggle constantly, while reading a book, eating at the table, while I clip their nails. They are always moving and that's ok.
Raising boys is sometimes a sensory overload for this mama, but when I resolve to expect and accept the day ahead of me, I feel more calm and just generally content about the season of life we are in.
And I love it that much more.

31 Days of Raising Boys: Everything is a Competition

Did you know that teeth brushing, putting socks on, first one to the door, first one to have their seat belts buckled, cleaning up, coloring and even getting to the potty first, are all activities that can be turned into a competition?
I had no idea.
Since brothers turn everything into a race, there are also tears and crossed arms and pouting. I try to emphasize the idea that not everything is a race, winning isn't the most important thing and all those lovely principals. But, alas, it's in the boy DNA the strong urge to compete to be better, faster, stronger.
So, I'll continue to toss out my tidbits of wisdom about competition and read stories like The Tortoise and The Hare, but I know it's woven into their fabric that they must beat their brother in sand castle building, shoe putting on, ball bouncing and climbing.