|photocredit : yawnitiger|
Xavier knew that the little one growing in my belly was a boy, he just always knew. His name was picked years before I laid eyes on his father, it had been waiting for him to arrive. Girl names were tossed around but never decided upon. Walking past the baby isles at different stores always forced me to stop and notice the little brown corduroy overalls, and in contrast, the pretty floral bloomers. I remember the feeling I had when the ultrasound tech told us the gender of the baby, a mix of excitement and fear. A boy. I felt a twang of insecurity, and I wasn't sure exactly why. I did everything I could to to prepare myself for his birth, and infancy, but there is really nothing you can do to prepare your heart for parenthood, for being a boy's mama.
I read in a book once (the title and subject long forgoten..just this quote and general idea remain in my mind) that it is often hard for mothers to understand and relate to thier sons. The differences in characteristics and preferences tend to cause the same sort of misunderstandings and communication difficulties as in adult relationships between men and women. This is a bit of a sweeping statement, of course but I am begining to understand the concept.
Julian is incredibly physical and rough. He wrestles with his daddy, likes to conqure any object in which seems difficult to climb, throws himself from small heights with out fear, runs too fast for his own good and doesnt stop until five minutes before bed time. There are times when he quietly reads his books, but I am now sure that it is only to recharge his batteries. It is always play time, and there is always something to hollar and scream and clap about. He loves cars and especially trains, anything that
|photocredit : yawnitiger|
"goes" is intriguing and fun. To Julian, taking something apart and putting it back together is never boring. Meticulously building a block tower is only cool because he gets to smash the whole damn thing to pieces in celebritory stomping parades. Windows beg for things to be catapulted from them into the neighbors yard. He insists on doing everything by himself, from messily drinking out of his cup, putting on his shoes and down to unlocking the front door when I have an arm full of groceries and really really have to pee. Sticks are for smacking things with. A pot is only a pot when it is not a drum. He cuddles when he wants to, and only then, but with gusto and lots of kisses and back pats. He is really a tiny man, a tiny man in there and learning to respect the needs and delights of that tiny man is sometimes hard for me as his Mama. After a long day of trying to keep my patience and tell him softly that it is not ok to be rough with Mama, or to scream for the sake of screaming, I just want to beg him to sit in one spot and be gentle, but that simply does not interest him. Perhaps it is less of a gender thing and more of a toddler thing, but obviously any time you start talking about gender in children, the subject of gender role association comes up. Personally, I think the current social atmosphere is incredibly confusing for children of both genders, and navigating through it can be difficult. I believe in gender equality of course, but also celebrate the differences in gender as well. That's also not really what I am trying to talk about here. By all means if he wants to play with barbies, I think it's healthy to let him, but at this point destroying things seems more appealing to him and it is hard for me to understand and relate to that. Despite this, I think trying to consistanly communicate love to him in a way he understands and learning to accept his expressions of love even if I don't understand them (example: I love you so much I am going to knock you over and stomp on your face!) are what is most important.
As Julian begins to grow and his "boyhood" evolves, I am taken aback by the responsibility that lays in my hands as his mother. So many of his furture relationships with women, female friends and co workers, partners, and perhaps eventualy his wife, can be influenced by the way I am raising and loving my sweet boy. I want him to be confident around women, and respectful to them. I am seeking out the ways to be the example to him of what a good woman is and can be, but not with in a certain set of presumed and projected standards. Not only do I want to be that woman, that person, for my husband and for Julian, but also for myself; that may just be the most important thing that I can teach him by example about being a person, regardless of gender.