Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Boys will be boys

As mom of three girls, I think I pretty much have the girl thing down pat. I can make a half-decent ponytail. I know who the newest American Girl doll is. I’ve refereed Edward vs. Jacob “Twilight” arguments. I know how to properly evaluate the amount of makeup a new teenager is wearing when attempting to leave the house.

But there’s one kind of kid that is completely alien to me.

Little boys.

I have zero on-the-job experience with little boys. Never had one. Grew up with a brother, but I spent most of my childhood avoiding him. There aren’t many boys around our immediate family either. The majority of the cousins on both sides of the family are all girls.

I was reminded of just how low my boy IQ is when my brother and nephew came to Napa for a visit last week.

They had recently moved back to California from out of state, and I’d only met the little guy one or two times. But here he was at Grandma’s house in Napa, 5 years old and all boy.

One of the first things my nephew did was discover the hill behind Grandma’s house.

The Napa granddaughters might see the shrubs and bushes on the hill as a place where little fairies or other Disneyesque woodland creatures might live. There’s a spot of earth covered with dried leaves. It’s nothing remarkable — unless you’re a boy. To this boy, that patch of dirt was pure gold.

With his Tonka trucks and his enthusiastic engine noises, our nephew/cousin transformed that patch of dirt into his personal playland. He spent hours on the hill. An entire world was created with him as the construction supervisor, site manager and heavy equipment operator.

I had to admire his work. With assistance from dad, my nephew had leveled off a section, built a berm to prevent the fleet of trucks from rolling down the hill, and was using one dozer to claw further into the earth for more excavation.

The girl cousins were enthralled by him. Their only boy cousin, he’s practically the little brother they never had. All three gamely joined him in the dirt. He was the king of the hill and they were his loyal subjects.

I know it’s no big surprise, but little boys are different than little girls.

For one thing, they’re not afraid to get dirty. My little nephew sat in the dirt. He rubbed his hands back and forth in the dirt to make a cloud of “steam.” He patted his head with his hands after shoveling handfuls of dirt into the one Tonka truck. He all but rolled in the dirt.

The mom in me couldn’t help but think about laundry detergent and pre-wash stain treatments as I watched him taking a dirt bath.

After dinner (and a real bath), he started to scoot around the house on his hands and knees. Arf, arf, arf, arf, arf, arf, he said.

He’s in puppy mode, one daughter said. He can do that for hours.

It’s easy to play along with a 5-year-old boy. Just use your imagination.

What a cute puppy you are, I said.

I petted his “puppy” head.

I scratched his “puppy” back.

He rolled over and wriggled like a little puppy. He was awfully cute.

I shot some video of the girls with their cousin and as I played it back for him, he came over to sit on my lap. His little legs dangled over mine. I put my arms around him.

I had forgotten how cuddly a 5-year-old can be.

I guess little boys aren’t so bad after all.

1 comment:

CM said...

Well written & really sweet. I love your work.