I was told again and again to let the baby cry, it was good for him! WTF! So, I am to allow a raw and new creature who is out of his natural element, and who must be experiencing some sort of distress cry? Alone? He has not been alone since his conception! For the first time since his ears starting working, he does not hear the thump of my heart, the whoosh of my lungs, the gurgle of my lunch. And everyone added that it was important to keep the noise level as far down as possible. I am to leave a small being alone and in the quiet with his distress? FFS NO! I carried my new baby around with me everywhere. I sat him on the counter while I did the washing up. And even though dogs howl at my singing, baby boy seemed to enjoyed it. I laid him on my lap while I folded the laundry, and would talk to him, and kiss his sweet little face. And in the afternoons I would lay on the sofa watching after school toons, and would strip him down to his diaper, and pull off my shirt and cuddle him against me, and cover us both with a warm blanket. Those few hours of toon watching was some of his happiest hours of the day. He would be so relaxed the rest of the afternoon and evening.
I was told to start toilet training baby boy at the tender age of two. Two! He still had issues working a spoon, and getting the food into his mouth every time. If operating a spoon was tough work for a two year old, how is controlling his bladder supposed to accomplished? I required a short hospital stay of three days when baby boy was just past two. My mother in law took it upon herself to begin toilet train my dear son. After coming home after only three short days, I had a child beside himself! Clingy, fussy, and fearful of his before beloved grandmother. He wouldn't let her hold him for a very long time after that. She was spanking him each time he would wet his diaper! He. Was. Two! Weeks went by before my sunny little boy came out from behind his cloud. You can just imagine the amount of abuse heaped on my head for not allowing her to keep him again after that, and for not toilet training. I waited until he was three, and that first night went to bed in his brand new undies, and that was that!
If they want to wear a superman shirt and swim trunks with their fuzzy slippers, who cares? Is there some child fashion police that monitors my house that I wasn't aware of? Why do people seem to need to break their child's spirit so quickly? They are not horses that need to be broke to harness! Small people, middle sized people, large size people need to exercise their sense of silly. We all grow up and get on with life with all of it's seriousness, but why do some of us feel the need to start their wee feet on that path so early? If it is not endangering them, only feeding their sense of play, and adventure, I fail to see the harm.
I sat on the floor for countless hours, coloring, building with legos, racing cars making car sounds, and stacking blocks with them. We just played, giggled, laughed until tears came out of our eyes, and our bellies hurt from laughing, cheeks tired from smiling so hard. I was always their mom, never wanted to be a friend, but a playful, joyful mom. We had lunch under the table, in closets, on a blanket in the living room. Packed the lunch into a pack and went climbing mountains, forging raging rivers, fighting bears, dinosaurs, and all manner of beasts. Our dinner was shot in the hallway many an evening, and then drug into the kitchen to cut up and cook.
Countless books pooled their way into our afternoons, and evenings. Reading aloud to them, allowing them to stop the story and add what they thought was important to the exchange. But, those afternoons were so not about the book really, just the being together. Making cookies, where we had more flour on us and the floor, than in the batter. Misshapen cookies that tasted all the better for their deformity. Letting them choose dinners, the choosing, made them so proud of the dinner. "Me picked da green beanies and and peas, and mash-ed poptatos, and you like mac-roni wiff cheese daddy?" Yes, weird odd dinners, but the smiles, oh the smiles on their little faces as they told daddy all about what was for dinner.
Now, they are older, and summer vacation looms ahead of us, ripe with days of adventures, and surprise. I would write out clues and hide them around the yard, pack their lunch and hide it at the end of the clues. They would range back and forth across the yard. They always said those lunches tasted the best! Winter has her cold cruel claws into our months, to cold to go out and play, to far to drive for a movie and a pizza. So, we would borrow movies from our friends, and I would make pizza, we would eat on blankets on the floor in front of the tv with the lights off, soda pop to drink, and ice cream with toppings for dessert. Bed time would be pushed back, and fun would be the word of the night.
I only told the kids to clean their room, if they needed help in finding something in their jungle of a room. Or unless it flowed out into the hallway, and yeah it happened a few times.. Their room, and if it didn't bother them, why should it bother me? They did have to bring me dirty clothes and their sheets. Messy is one thing, dirty is another. And weekends were devoted to video games, snow machines, four wheeling, fishing, camping, closing the curtains and watching all day marathons. We played together, giggled together, teased each other, and respected each other. Were their groundings? Yelling at offsprings? Days of frustrations? FFS! Of course. But under the normal life of raising four healthy male teens, the rowdiness, the wonderful noise level, late nights of playing video games together with them until the wee hours of the morning, was love.
High schoolers in a tiny town, with most of the adult population impaired with one or more substances, our worry that our boys would fall prey to the disease of altering their minds to ease the boredom of their bodies. So, our house became the place to hang out. Pizza Fridays, Mac and cheese and hot dogs Saturday. The boys would take over the living room and the dining room, for their weekend long activities. Alaska in the winter is often to cold to go out and muck about. The table would be filled with computers. These boys would lug towers and monitors, and miles of cable to our house, and would set up a lan party playing one game or another. The living room would host the nintendo, and the flocks of boys would flow from room to room, sharing all the equipment, and being loud, silly and nothing but fun. They neighborhood boys would often pull The Husband or myself into a quiet corner to have a private chat about something they needed help on.
We allowed them the freedom to make mistakes while we could still help guide them back to safety. When they got to high school, they were no longer asked about their school assignments being completed. It was time to learn some personal responsibility, and it is much easier to learn from tiny easily corrected mistakes than to hold their hands until they are, how old? Did they stumble? Yes, did they learn? Sometimes it took getting burned more than once before they learned their lesson. And while we allowed them to fail, we never allowed them to grieve about it on their own.
I have been asked how old our boys are, and have been cagy about answering.... why you are wondering. To be honest...... the few I have told have been surprised at my age..... and I am enjoying the friendship so much I am afraid of loosing it, but being friends means being honest with each other, so here we go. I turned 50 this summer.
I wrote this post for several reasons. One to just come clean about the whole age thing, it has been bothering me, I felt like not saying anything was the same as lying to all of you. The ones I have chatted with, it seems to have come up in the conversation, and I have been honest with each of them. What is funny even though I plainly and clearly state my female status in life, I still get asked if I am indeed a girl. Even as a small child, girls never really took to me, something I have never been able to understand. It was always the boys who were my pals, best friends, confidantes, and shoulders to cry on. Second just to talk about my views on how children should be raised. As if they are the most precious substance in the world, oh yeah, they are!