Raising Boys – this just might kill me

  My son is a rough and tumble type of boy. He loves to wrestle. When I try to do crunches or other floor exercise, I will be bodyslammed by him guaranteed.  He doesn’t back down one bit when met with an opponent on the soccer field.  He loves to play “tackle football” with anyone who will play.  A game of tag is not complete until he grabs you around the legs and forces you to the ground.  As a female, raised in a household with only a sister, and previously a mom to only a girl,  I was a bit concerned. My husband (obviously a man), raised in a household with a brother and in close proximity to male cousins, told me to relax.  He repeatedly says, “boys will be boys.”

I tried to relax.

Recently Bugaboo has moved to the 3 year old class at daycare. The afternoon teacher asked me if it was okay that he wrestle with some of the other boys. He is the smallest kid in the class. “Sure,” I said, mindful of my husband’s admonition to let him get his aggression out in safe ways.  She said that he seemed to love playing wrestling and football with the other children.

The next week there was a report that Bugaboo had spit on another kid – for no apparent reason. There were also reports of pushing, shoving and pinching – usually a tussle between a few kids.  When these happened, we reminded Bugaboo that “hands are not for hitting” and we needed to use soft touches and make good choices.  We talked about it being okay to wrestle and play football but not to just hit people. 

Yesterday I picked up Bugaboo and the afternoon teacher informed me that he had given another child a black eye.  What?  My cute adorable little blonde haired angel?  She explained that another child left his spot on the carpet, came up and gave her a hug and then walked back to the carpet to take his spot next to Bugaboo. Bugaboo reached out and cold-cocked him.  She said that she spoke to Bugaboo about it and showed him the injury later – after it had turned pretty colors. Bugaboo shut down and refused to say anything, other than to make baby noises (which is what he does when he knows he has done something wrong).  The teacher said the other mother was pretty upset (obviously).

I left daycare feeling like Loser Mother of the Year, and quite tearful that my child had blackened another kid’s eye.  Bugaboo and I talked about it and I did manage to glean the name of the other child – not someone with whom there have been prior incidents.  I went to sleep with visions of my child being labelled a Bully.

This morning, Husband dropped off Bugaboo and talked to the Morning Teacher about our desire for there to be strong consequences for hitting – an immediate time out and removal from any fun situations/games for a time period.  She seemed confused.  She explained that what she saw was Bugaboo and the other kids dancing and Bugaboo elbowed the other kid – she wasn’t sure if it was accidental or a “you’re in my space” thing. She said she’s never seen Bugaboo be aggressive or act unprovoked.

All of a sudden my child looks more like a typical kid?  The afternoon teacher is new to the center and has an older child – not sure if it is a boy or girl.  The morning teacher has been in this center for years, taught my daughter, and has two boys about the same age as my kids. 

So is my kid an unprovoked Bully? Or just a rough-house typical Boy?

I’m fixin’ to find out. I set up a conference with the teachers for this afternoon. If it’s an altercation between kids I’m more in line with their policy of separating the kids and talking things out.  If it’s an unprovoked event, then Bugaboo is in for some firm consequences.  If the first situation, I’ll apologize profusely to the other mother.  If the latter, I might have to bake her cookies and sobbingly beg her forgiveness!

Stay tuned for more information!


Weekend Getaways – men versus women

When I was telling my husband about our weekend getaway, I became aware at how differently such a weekend would be viewed by males versus females.

  • Planning – Men– grab whatever is clean in drawers, throw in a bag, get in car and go.  Women – consult datebook, arrange babysitter, ensure enough food is left at house, emails about who will bring what, pack the night before, depart for trip with printed mapquest directions and a GPS.
  • Packing – Men – throw things in one vehicle.  Women – coordinate who is bringing what. Pack the night before. Fold everything neatly into a suitcase. Load suitcases into two or three vehicles. If scrapbooking, plan to take 2 vehicles for 4 people due to the large quantity of items packed.
  • Meals – Men – take out or fast food?  Pick up beer and chips at gas station.  Women – prepare detailed menu, complete with snacks.  Use GPS to find grocery store. Retrieve coupons from glove box and make sure at least one person has the grocery discount store. Go methodically up and down aisles buying things like brie, crackers, fruit, wine and coffee.
  • Beds – Men – throw sleeping bag on mattress.  Ensure no male is sleeping in the same bed as another male.    Throw suitcase in corner.  Women – determine who will share a bed and a room.  Make all beds with fresh sheets and distribute towels and handtowels. Unpack clothes and hang them up neatly in closet. Store suitcases under bed.
  • TV – Men- find sports. Turn volume up loudly. Yell at each other and TV.  Women – find music station and play quietly in the background so as not to distract from meaningful conversation.  Discuss families, children and jobs.
  • EntertainmentMen – find sports bar or sports on TV. Go hunting or fishing or 4-wheeling.  Women – scrapbook, knit or crochet. Pick up brochures to determine agenda for the day.
  • Sight-seeingMen – find pretty blondes on TV — see, what a sight!  Women – find winery or antique shop that features locals. Map out route so as to see the local attractions. Plan to leave so as to accommodate everyone.
  • LeavingMen – put on shoes and leave.  Women – plan who will shower first. Take 1 hour each to shower and put on makeup.  Depart several hours later.
  • Snacks – Men – chips from bag. Beer from can. Good.  Women – heat brie in oven. Place on coffetable on nice plate. Distribute crackers onto a serving platter. Distribute plates and napkins.  Pour wine into matching wineglasses, complete with stem decorations so that everyone knows which glass belongs to which lady.
  • Unexpected Tire changeMen – brag about past experience with vehicles. Break tire and jack trying to remove from car.  Jack up without consulting manual and break off floorboard. Curse at vehicles driving by for not slowing down.  Hurt back trying to be macho and lift things alone. Go home and brag to buddies.  Women – consult manual. Realize jack and tire are bolted down and can not be removed without following written instructions. Break into groups so as to flag down vehicles and safely change tire.  Find experienced help quickly.
  • HomecomingMen to Wives – what did you do all weekend (as he surveys the spotless house).  Women to Men – what did you do all weekend (as she surveys the damage left for her to clean).

Potty Training Humor

Yesterday was Day 1 of Operation-No-More-Diapers for Bugaboo. Now, I’ve potty trained a girl.  I should be somewhat familiar with this process.  I figure I’ve got this figured out. Slam dunk.  Not!  I forgot that Munchkin pretty much potty trained herself with her bladder of steel (only child I know who can drink 16 oz of juice, go to bed, get up and stay awake a few hours before hitting the potty – never had a UTI child).

So we figure it is time to potty train Bugaboo who is showing interest in big boy underwear and pottying.

We talk to daycare and are all on the same page.  I buy the big boy underwear. It has the cute Thomas characters on it (do you know the character underwear is $9 a pack versus $4 for plain blue ones, but I digress)  We talk everything up and we are all set.  Right? ………..Wrong.

There are decisions to make. Decisions that I am not equipped (literally) to answer.

Will he sit or stand while learning?  What sort of potty training device should I buy? A stool? A seat?  How about a urinal?  I didn’t even know they made urinals!

What about in public?  Do I teach him to wipe the seat and sit? Cover it in paper and sit? Do I lift him up and help him hover? Does he stand and do I lift him if he can’t reach?  How about we just stay home FOREVER!

What about targets? Do you know that there are people who actually buy targets instead of using cheerios, fruit loops or whatever else they have in the cabinet.  Seriously? People pay money to buy something for their child to literally piss on.  Hmmmmmm (missed $$ opportunity for me there)









So I sat down with my husband figuring he would know the answers to my questions.  Not so much. Turns out that having male anatomy does not automatically vest you with information about how to teach your child to use it.  My husband was most amused with my questions.

Me – do you hold it?

DH – What?

Me – do you hold it? or does it aim itself? Do you wipe or shake?

DH – Are you serious?

Me – yes, come on. You really don’t want to know what pops up when you google this kind of thing.  Just tell me.  Okay fine – easy question. Should we have him sit or stand?

DH – I don’t care.

Me – but aren’t you concerned he might get confused if we teach him to sit when doing #2 and standing while doing #1?

DH – I don’t know.  I don’t remember being potty trained.

So last night was night one.  I picked him up in daycare where he proudly announced he “pee peed on the potty” and had no accidents. Yippee!  We rushed home and I encouraged him to go on the potty. He sat. He went.  I patted myself on the back.   Then I walked out of the bathroom to see the puppy had peed on the floor.  I cleaned it up, set clock to remind myself to take Bugaboo back to bathroom, started dinner and Bugaboo announced he peed.  All over the kitchen floor. Okay no biggie.  Cleaned him up. Fed everyone. Put dog out. Took Bugaboo to potty where he did nothing.  Let dog in. Dog pees everywhere. Clean it up and Bugaboo says “I pee pee too” – on the floor.  Put Bugaboo in bath.  Turn around and puppy has peed. AGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

End result.  Bugaboo – 50% success on potty.  Puppy – 50% success outside.   Mommy – 50% chance of successfully going crazy. 

Maybe this isn’t such a bad idea……………

When do Little Boys Become Useful Hunters?

  My husband has great dreams of our little boy becoming a great hunter. I hate to tell DH, but I think his efforts thus far have failed. 

This morning went like this –

Me – Ick spider…..hmm I think it is dead.

Bugaboo –  Spider?  I see.  It dead.  Get it mommy.

Me – why don’t you get it?

Bugaboo – I get it? Okay —– leans over………hmmm not dead

Me – it’s dead.  Here I’ll get the fly swatter and you can scoop it up with it.  

 (hands him swatter)

Bugaboo – it NOT DEAD. 

 spider moves.  I shriek  (biggest fear is scooping up a supposedly dead critter and having it be alive and jump on me)

Me – (shrieking) KILL IT

(Bugaboo whacks it many times)

Me – whew.  Good hits.  You killed it now.  Scoop it up

Bugaboo –  no way. You scoop it up Mommy

Me – no way. You’re the boy. You scoop it up

Bugaboo – no way. You the mommy. You the boss. You scoop it up

(I  scoop it up.  holding it away from body I dump it in the trash with Bugaboo hanging on me.)

So he might be a good killer of spiders but he’s lacking on the disposal score.  When do little boys grow up to be useful bug killers to their mommy. That’s supposed to be one of the benefits of having a boy, isn’t it? Someone to kill the critters.

Faster than a Speeding Bullet

 When my son was born, Munchkin was 4 1/2.  After she got over the shock that we were having a boy, directly contrary to her demands that we produce a sister, she adapted pretty well to the idea of a baby brother.  She was fascinated by the differences between boys and girls.  We have always taught her the correct and proper names for body parts, but for some reason she dubbed her little brother’s penis a “bullet.”  (Well, okay. I guess it does look a bit like the bullets Daddy shoots when deer hunting.)

In any event, the conversations around the house the first few months when all the new visitors stopped by was something along the lines of, “This is my baby brother. He has a bullet…yes Mommmmmm, I know it is a penis (sigh).”  Typically she then proceeded to explain that when changing his diaper you had to cover up the bullet really fast because it was speedy and if you were not quick, it would pee on you.  And yes, I did get inducted in the Mommy-of-a-Boy hall of fame very quickly after his birth when he peed on me.  Is it any wonder that you can often hear Husband and I remark, as we change diapers, “whew, faster than the speeding bullet this time.” 

Fast forward to present time and Munchkin is now 6 1/2.  Bugaboo has just turned 2.  He moved up to the 2 year old room at daycare recently. In his new room, they have one of those toddler toilets that is very low to the ground.  Instead of changing diapers on a diaper table, they encourage the children to sit on the potty and they change diapers in the bathroom.  Bugaboo is now fascinated by the potty.

I had intended to potty train in the summer, when as all mothers who have potty trained know, it is easiest.  When little children can run around naked without freezing their nuts off – in Bugaboo’s case, perhaps literally (sorry, couldn’t resist).  However, Bugaboo is persistent so out came the potty seat.  Now he insists on going potty at least two times every evening.  Which requires stripping him of his pants, onsie and diaper, and shirt and socks. Because Bugaboo insists he can only sit on the potty completely naked.  I don’t know why. Maybe because at home he usually tries to go potty before bath?  In any event he sits there until I pull his shivering body off the potty as he screams, “No. More potty. More potty.”

Despite the time involved in undressing and re-dressing a squirming toddler multiple times in the evening, there is an advantage to this potty business. He’ll sit there, and sit still for 10-15 minutes.  Which means I have roughly 30 minutes in the evening to do something.  Lately, Munchkin has needed to sit on the potty too. They think it is great fun to potty together. Which means I have time ALONE without a child clinging to me.  I have begun to refer to this as the Potty Race.  I strip Bugaboo down, put him on the potty, and race to put up the dishes.

Bugaboo has not yet gone potty.  Nothing has been produced.  He does enjoy unrolling toilet paper in mass quantities and “wiping” and throwing the toilet paper in his potty, or on the floor, or wherever.

The other evening I stripped Bugaboo in preparation for his bath. He decided he wanted to potty.  Munchkin needed to potty too.  When I walked back by the bathroom, there they were sitting on their respective potties – both completely naked.  Munchkin had produced magazines for each to read.  It was quite cute.  I raced to put up the laundry and then returned to overhear this conversation…..

“No Bugs. Put your bullet down.  Not up — down. You have to point it down so you don’t pee on the floor.  That’s good. Now leave it.”

“No Bugs. Down I said. Point it down. Now leave it alone. Alone I said. Don’t touch”

“Mommy. Bugaboo won’t stop wiping and now his bullet is standing up and won’t go down.”

Yep that’s my signal that it is time to start the bath.  I don’t know much about the male population but I have learned that their preoccupation with their “bullets” starts at a very young age.  As does the female population’s demands to “leave that thing alone!”