So I’ve read a bit about boys and how different they are than girls –
I mean, I KNOW men are different, obviously, so of course I knew having a boy would be different, but the older Big gets, the more pronounced the differences are, and I guess maybe there was a part of me that didn’t quite put two and two together that men don’t just all of a sudden show up one day all rugged and independent and confidently building campfires and refusing to ask for directions; but that they’re pretty much like that from the minute they wrestle their way out of the womb. Boys are just small, unpracticed men. Or men are larger, more experienced boys. One of those. Or both of those. Now I sound stupid. Just work with me for a minute.
– and how different their needs are in terms of adventure and rough play, and I’ve done some thinking about how to nurture all that BOYness Big all insists on getting all over the place.
And sometimes it’s hard for me to figure out.
I mean, there are times when I consciously choke down my objections to things Big does, like how high he wants to climb a tree or whatever. Frankly, the main reason I can do it at all is because Jim is there to tell me, “Sweetie, he’s FINE. He’s a BOY.”
I know in my head that I lean toward the overprotective and I fight it because I won’t be doing him any favors by stifling his natural inclinations. However, I also know that it’s my job to guide that boyness into appropriate and healthy directions, rather than, say, chucking Grand Theft Auto 12 at him and telling him to go kill some ‘hos.
All of which I am saying so we can talk about Books for Boys.
We went to Barnes & Noble on Wednesday and let the kids spend a gift certificate their grandma gave them. A couple weeks ago I solicited some of my fellow moms-of-boys friends for boy-tested literature suggestions. I looked for Hank the Cowdog and Swallows and Amazons to no avail, and I couldn’t find the first of the Mysterious Benedict Society, but we bought The Stinky Cheese Man, The Borrowers, more Calvin & Hobbes, and The Boxcar Children.
When we got home, they immediately tore into their bags, and Big gobbled up several chapters of the first book in The Boxcar Children while I got dinner ready.
He REALLY liked it. He told me THREE times how much he liked this book, and followed me around telling me everything that was happening.
At one point I asked him where the children’s mommy and daddy were that they needed to go off into the woods.
And he goes, matter-of-factly, “they’re dead.”
(OH. SPOILER ALERT.)
And I said, trying to be cool and match his tone, “oh. is that sad?”
And he’s all like, “not really.”
And I remained calm on the outside, but on the inside I was mentally clutching him to my breast and sobbing WHAT? Their mama is DEAD?! OH MY POOR BABY, that is the saddest thing EVER! Mama is sorry I bought you that mean, horrible bookie! and for whatever reason I had a southern accent and was also maybe wearing a burgundy velvet ballgown and also maybe we were on the veranda at Tara.
And then I had one of those moments. Those moments where my heart creaks with painful recognition that yet another small chunk of his little boyhood has fallen away, revealing a new facet of big boyhood; and the light of my life continues his inexorable march to adulthood, carrying my aching heart in his pocket like he doesn’t even realize it’s there.
Lay it on me – what are your Boy-Approved book recommendations?