I was terrified that my pregnancy was going to result in a boy, because I had no idea what to do with one of those.
We did the no-find-out thing, so it wasn’t until after three hours of labor that I heard the doctor say, It’s a boy! That was after my husband subtly turned off the television in the room, so the doctor would look at me instead of ESPN.
That was my first lesson in boys. They cannot split their attention between ESPN and a woman who is in labor.
So I took home a little boy. Six pounds, seven ounces. Now his shoes weigh more than that, and he’s about to graduate from high school. That boy of mine is handsome and charming, and he has my heart wrapped around his little finger.
I’ve learned some things about raising my own boy, so here are some helpful tips…
First, invest in a good mirror for your bathroom. My son goes to take a shower, and about 40 minutes later we hear the water turn on. My husband informs me our boy is making faces in the mirror. He says this as if it has not been all that long ago since he made faces in the mirror. I mean, really not that long ago.
Give one instruction at a time. Just one. See if that gets accomplished before you attempt instruction number two.
Learning and moving must go together. If you will permit him to tap his pencil like a drum on the table, he will be able to do his work and will learn the most while his body is in motion.
Someday he will be able to stay seated in the dining room chair for the length of an entire meal. Do not despair.
Celebrate magnificent sound effects. Praising his good helicopter imitation is the equivalent of admiring biceps.
Roll down your windows when you pick up him and his friends from soccer. Drive fast.
Ask for his muscles and strength, even when he’s little. Ask him to help you carry things and pick up things for you. Boys know they were meant to be strong, and the most glorious words are from a mom who acknowledges that quality.
Besides said biceps and astounding helicopter sounds, one of the most appealing traits in a grown-up man is kindness, so put great effort into encouraging and praising even the smallest act of kindness. Kind words. Kind service.
You know, the whole coat over the puddle for the lady. Teach him that.
Brace yourself to empty his pockets before throwing his jeans in the laundry. Stop to admire the great treasures from his day. A nail. A rock. A piece of plastic. These were great finds.
Know that boys will never outgrow the simple enjoyment of bodily sounds and description of bodily sounds. The best you can hope for is to teach him the place for this is in a locker room. I’m at a loss to know what else to tell you.
Finally, let me tell you that to build up your boy is to invest in your own future. If you have respected him as he has grown into a man, you will find him your fierce protector and sweet help when he is 6’ tall and you fit under his armpit.
Boys can get so many great sounds to come from there . . . .
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