I am the lone human female in our house. We have a female cockatoo and a female bulldog. Neither are supportive of female causes, or are aware or insightful of the gender differences and the challenges that poses to parenting….
Did you know that boys are different to girls?
And not just because us girls sit down to wee and they don’t…:)
Their everyday life has a physicality that is constant and irrepressible. I am not saying girls aren’t physical, or energetic, I have some goddaughters that prove that to me.
Master 6, nearly 7, cannot walk. He is unable to stroll in a general direction to a destination. No, he must run, jump, skip, perform a version of parkour, hop, run and then stop, walk backwards, walk around…..
Master 4, struggling between toddler and child, desperately wanting to keep up with big brother runs, tackles, rumbles with his brother. We actually have devised a call in our house of ” hands off” to separate them when they get enthusiastic with their play.
And I am very aware of their size, they will be tall strong men. Always above the 100th percentile since birth (10lb 1oz for Master 4), they tower in their classes, speed past many of their friends and shoot out of clothes daily (well not quite, but it feels like it). I have talked about body image elsewhere, and probably will again, but this post is not about that.
Both boys love wholeheartedly. They live passionately and fully, no matter what they do. If you are cuddled by them, you stay cuddled. You know you were cuddled to within an inch of yourself.
If my boys feel any emotion, it’s as plain as day. They cry when sad or scared, laugh when amused, scream with frustration, bellow with anger. They sing when moved and sulk when disappointed. Random displays of affection are common place and often very public as well.
It’s glorious. I revel in their expression like a flower in the sun. I praise them for expressing themselves and encourage it. I want these boys to not only know how to feel, but what they feel and what to do with those feelings.
I want them to love, and to give love, share love, be loved, say I love you. I want those generous hugs they give to be a part of their intrinsic vocabulary.
I think that it is harder to parent that emotional awareness and development for boys and I’m glad my wonderful hubby and I make affection, love, hurt and frustration a part of the reality they see and are expected to take part in.
We use “I love you” all the time. And we build loving praise in all the time, trying to outweigh the inevitable negatives with intended positives.
” You amaze me.”
” that’s wonderful.”
” I will always love you.”
“It makes me happy when I hear you singing.”
” thank you for trying so hard, it makes it easier for us when you try.”
I guess, on Mothers Day, when I get the hand made cards and my boys take me to lunch…it is all paying off when Master 6 says to Master 4, “we do lunch with mummy today because she is special to us.”
That is the gentlest yet most passionate way I see my boys express themselves.
Maybe that is what I will teach them. Love.