Saturday, February 24, 2007

let's hear it for the boys!

As most of you know, I adore my daughter. She is a wonderful, sweet and creative little person. She can be serious and earnest and anxious to please; she can be bossy and emotional - just like her mother was at the same age. Because Laura's personality is quite similar to mine, I get her. I understand her. I can explain to Fatty why she is wailing and being irrational; I can ease her worries because I know what concerns her even before she tells me.

When Benjamin came along, I was excited but a little wary, too. Boys are not a known commodity. I have not grown up as a boy, I don't have personal experience to help me comprehend the world of males. I had no doubt I would love this fat little boy baby, but would I be able to relate to him? Would we ever bond as well Laura and I would?

I guess I can answer that, after 4 1/2 years spent with my funny fiercely-loving fascinating son. Yes, and absolutely yes.

I should explain that while females and males are not exactly different species (or are they?), I am a very girly female. I am interested in people, relationships. I like flowers and satin and lace. I enjoy languages and writing. I nurture, I nag. I love children and babies. I cry easily. (Of course, there is also my penchant for karate. But who says 'feminine' women can't kick some butt occasionally?!)

And yet, as part of establishing a relationship with my son, I am developing new interests and skills, and swags of knowledge I never expected to possess.

We read 'Amazing Facts about Australian Frogs and Reptiles'. (Did you know that the knob-tailed gecko does 'push-ups' when it's scared? Or that legless lizards may rear up, snake-like, and will even strike at their enemies, despite the fact that they have no fangs or venom?)

We look for cars with 2 exhaust pipes.

We know that a Blackbird is the fastest aircraft.

We discuss the peregrine falcon, which can swoop at speeds up to 390km/hr.

We have met the ladybirds, worms, grubs, grasshoppers, katydids, stick insects and a whole multitude of other insects which inhabit our backyard. I never even noticed them before. How-do-you-do, neighbourhood bugs?

Having a daughter is brilliant, and I love spending time with my Louey-girl. We talk about her friends, she asks me why some people stop being married, I listen to her read for me, she draws elaborate, detailed pictures and gives them to her admiring mother. I sense a kindred spirit in Laura, and I hope we will have this connection throughout our lives.

With Benjamin, I am aware that the way he and I think, and the way we approach situations, and our natural interests are all quite different. And yet because of that difference, I find myself being drawn into a whole new realm of ideas. I find that once I actually sit and peruse 'Australian Dinosaurs' (which, pre-children, I would not have done unless you paid me), I find it intriguing. Who would have thought?

Once when Ben was a toddler and obsessed with earth-moving equipment, I was driving somewhere with just my friend Belly. As we passed a construction site, I began to exclaim 'Look! A digger!', but had to quickly change to 'Look what a beautiful day it is!'. That was when I knew I had changed - all because of my son and his entirely new perspective.

The gender divide will always exist, but I like to think we can build bridges and cross over to visit each other. I have to thank Ben for being patient and welcoming, and for allowing me to wander across whenever I please.

If you'll excuse me now, there's a whale stamp Ben and I need to soak off an envelope.


Motherkitty said...

I can totally understand what you are saying because in my youth I mothered a boy and a girl. In my middle age, I am grandmother to two girls and soon-to-be-born grandson. After almost six years of purchasing girly toys, clothes, and feminine paraphernalia, we will now have the extreme pleasure of buying boys' stuff and dealing again with the masculine. Can't wait. I wonder how the girls will deal with movies made especially for boys?

I'm so happy you have a wonderful relationship with both your children and continue to learn from them every day. You've allowed your vistas to expand and now you are a much smarter person for it.

John Cowart said...

A Digger!
You saw a digger?

John Cowart said...

Back again.
Maimi Herald columnist Dave Barry, one of my favorite authors, owns a water pistol. It consists of a fire extinguisher tank that you wear on your back with a garden hose attached to the top of a motorcycle helmet. You fill the tank with water and pressurize it with compressed air.

You aim it just by looking at your target.

When triggered, this Ultimate Water Gun, whooshes a mighty stream of water for over 75 feet. If your target hides on the other side of your house, you can soak him by firing over the roof!

Just thought you and Ben would be interested. Maybe you can make one as a mother/son bonding project.

My mother never made me one of these. Darn!

Anonymous said...

That was a wonderful post I loved reading every word.

Thanks for sharing.

Remiman said...

I stopped by this morning, but part way through reading your post my daughter called.....Then my visiting, youngest child and his belle descended the stairs. At 39 y.o. and 28, my children like yours, command my time.
It's a wonderous day you've descirbed and I wish you many many more.
My mother was a girls girl and had trouble relateing to boys and their activities. I envy Ben. ;-)

meggie said...

I loved this post. I am sure you will go on having fun with your son. I have just had my adult son to stay the weekend, & we still have our fun times together!
And he still teaches me so many many things!

susan said...

I can relate, not with my kids (both girls), but with my grandson. We spent the day with the grandkids on Saturday, we even found a digger!

I just love all the questions they have, and to see their perspective on things.

Thanks for sharing this look into your world.

shellyC said...

What a great post Jelly. I too am amazed atthe whole boy baby thing after two girls. I have said so many times that it doesn't matter how you bring them up they are different. As a third child, poor Luca didn't get many new toys - but out of a toy box full of dolls he always managed to find balls and cars. He too has opened up my world and it is wonderful.

Here is to our boys!!!

Kerri said...

You have this uncanny knack, Jelly, of enveloping us in your thoughts. Do you know what I mean? I think Susan said it well....."thanks for sharing this look into your world" draw us in.
Like Daybyday, I loved reading every word.
Aren't you lucky to have one of each gender? I wouldn't have missed having a boy for anything. Andrew has always been a, except maybe for the middle school years...
Of course, the girls are absolutely wonderful too...always good for a chat and a giggle :)
Your appreciation of your children is so touching Jelly. xoxo