Brothers. My sister and I discuss constantly the ins and outs of having boys. After a colossal meltdown from A the other day (over…paint sticks? nap time? it’s hard for me to always keep up), I spent an hour and a half on the phone with my aunt (who has three grown boys), saying things like “do you think this is normal?”, “what about this?”. She gave me great advice, stories, and a new book to read.
I grew up with a sister, I have four aunts, six girl cousins (and six boy cousins), and my friends growing up were exclusively girls. I dove in to the water of boys with zip experiences on how or why little boys act the way they do. And a lot of it is weird. The pretending to fight ninjas, bad guys, and other enemies on a daily basis, the limitless energy, the LOUDNESS, the figuring out that burping is funny when you are TWO (seriously).
And the fighting. Little boys wrestle. A lot. And not always because they are fighting. But sometimes because they are fighting. And you have to figure out what is fighting and what is not. What is safe wrestling and what is not. When to say, “STOP! That’s enough!” and when to just let them be. And it is almost never clear cut or straight forward.
And the boys have a lot of arguments over toys and other items. I hear “that’s mine, I was there first, it’s not fair for him to have a turn!” at least 100 times a day. J actually has a tendency to grab things from A and then tear through the house and then chuck them as far as he can. And then of course A comes running after him…and then I’m running after both of them to break up the fight….so yeah.
I’ve also learned (and believe it or not, I was telling a student this the other day, who was discussing parenthood), that you shouldn’t operate under the premise that any part of parenting (or childhood) gets “easier”. Every part is just different. Parts of it are more difficult than others. My favorite advice my aunt gave me? “Keep your humor”. It reminded me of one night when A was getting in trouble at the table and he said something like “I pity the fool, who doesn’t eat dessert”. And I just lost it. I started laughing and B started laughing and then both boys were laughing.
But whenever they fight (and I’m sure they will continue to do so), I always think about this moment:
When A said “look how much he loves me, Mommy!” And I remind A of that. And I will remind J of that when he gets annoyed with A. There may be a lot of squabbles, but hopefully there will also be a lot of love. Happy Thursday, friends.