Monday, June 08, 2009

Thump and Pummel

The other morning at summer camp, The Mayor greeted another boy with a chest thump.

The two of them actually jumped into the air and bumped into each other, on purpose, chest first.

This was a greeting.

[Odd animals, these things called boys.]

Similarly, we went away a few weekends ago with a family that we don't often see.

They have a boy who is 18 months older than The Mayor and, though they've met before, this weekend was the longest they've ever spent together.

They acquainted themselves with one another through a series of elaborate wrestling maneuvers, gut punches and general body thrashings.

When they weren't doing bodily harm to one another they were shooting each other with guns fashioned from drinking straws, twigs, tinker toys -- anything they could find -- because despite my politically correct, Mom 2.0-ness...


WE DO NOT PLAY WITH GUNS IN THIS FAMILY!
GUNS ARE NOT TOYS!
GUNS ARE DANGEROUS!


...my child can and does pretend that anything he is holding is a gun.

Through all their general body thrashings, the two boys were radiantly smiling and maniacally laughing.

At one point, the other mother and I watched the two boys thump and pummel each other with our mouths agape.

When I finally looked over at her with my brows knitted in confusion, she said,
"Boys are SO strange."
Indeed.

The Mayor is such a BOY.

Though technically I've known he was male since he came out (and ruined my lady parts forever), something has only recently really clicked about it for me.

I was feeling all smug as we headed into the summer this year because I managed to sign The Mayor up for a number of weeks going to summer camp at a local, boutique art program where there is a long waiting list.

When I picked The Mayor up on the first afternoon, most of the children were gathered around a picnic table on the back porch stringing beads and making decorated masks.

The Mayor and another boy were in the yard, happily beating each other with lacrosse sticks.

All of these recent experiences have collectively impressed upon me my urgent need to secure a true understanding of the whole notion of boyhood.

I hope there isn't a steep learning curve to it because I ignored all (the stupid) boys, including my (annoying) little brother, and dismissed all that was male until I was a tween.

[Because I was totally, like rilly, rilly busy putting naked Ken and naked Barbie in the upstairs bedroom of the Barbie Dream House to see what would happen. OMG! Barbie has to go to the clinic!!]

Maybe by next summer I will have achieved more enlightenment on the boyness thing.

Hopefully I'll have signed The Mayor up for the sports camps he wishes he was enrolled in now.

Until then, maybe I should give in completely and buy him two toy pistols and a holster because I think I'm learning that "Bang! Bang!" means "I love you, Dude!" in the language of young boys.

22 comments:

Gretchen said...

Like my husband once told me, "Every grown man is a miracle." The older my boy gets, the more true it becomes...

Rachel said...

I have 2 boys. Didnt go through the everything is either a weapon or vehicle thing with boy #1 but the second, "oh Boy!". Its almost a game for me to time just how long it will take him to find the item of his dreams (for the moment) and what it will turn in to :)

Print Business Cards said...

Hmm... boys will be boys, as the old saying goes. That's the way they are. Just like how us women/girls are their opposites. I think we just have to deal with it. The moment they don't act like how you described them, then they're not boys anymore. =P

beetricks said...

I teach at a boys school, and I have to tell you that "Raising Boys" is the book you must read!!!

Theresa said...

I have 4 daughters. Always hated the idea of playing with toy guns. When the two oldest were maybe 4 and 6, we went to visist the husband's family, where they were given toy 'guns' - homemade things that shot rubber bands - and heard them exclaiming, "GUN!GUN!" as they 'shot' their weapons.

Yeah...I felt a tad stupid about that. So glad to have girls though...

Patience said...

Boys are definitely strange animals! So are, in a different way, girls.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine is mother of 2 boys and I remember sitting next to her at one of their early birthday parties. As we watched them doing "boystuff" she murmured thoughtfully, "If only I'd known what I know now about boys when I was younger....My life would have been so SO different!"

WILLIAM said...

Just so you know with boys, the language of bang bang mean something totally different when they are in their teens and dating.

Nick said...

I'd also suggest heading over to http://www.ChoiceCamps.com if you're looking for summer camps. Lots to choose from!

Mary Beth said...

Boys do make guns out of everything. I really think it's programmed into their DNA:)

Sayre said...

Giving boys camps where they can run and run and jump and wrestle seems to be the thing to do with boys who are "real" boys. I remember my mother's dilemma when tackle football raised it's ugly head in one of my brothers' life. As it turned out, it was exactly what he needed.

Give Mayor a chance to experience all different kinds of expression - from beads to bats.

Amy said...

It DOES mean I love you. My son grabbed his penis and shot me with it - complete with the little gun noise they all are born knowing how to make. I'm sure it meant "I love you mom."

T. said...

I struggle with this too - it's completely out of my realm of understanding. And they don't have little "cliques" to the extent that the girls do - it's very bizarre to me.

Blog Antagonist said...

It wasn't until I had boys of my own, after growing up with two sisters, that I realized the whole nature/nurture debate is really no debate at all. Certain behaviors are innate. We can fight it, but as you have observed, even the most persistent and determined mothering cannot overcome eons of genetic programming.

And yes. Boys are weird. But they're also pretty cool.

mythoughtsonthat said...

I always thought I'd have a girl but I ended up with this cool boy instead- Boys Rule!!

Vodka Mom said...

Wait till the boys start STINKING. Yeah. That's fun.

kittenpie said...

Boys are SO weird! When I worked in daycare, I once watched a boy bite a piece of bread into the shape of a gun at lunchtime. Who does that?!

Matt Bell said...

I started out with a strictly 'No toy guns in this house' approach to parenting, but it eventually all crumbled. We now have every plastic weapon known to man-kind.

Mac and Cheese said...

We don't need a 'no gun' rule. Do you think a 'no Disney princess' rule makes as much sense?

JoeinVegas said...

Is he doing any art in those art sessions you are paying so much for? He does sound like a typical boy though.

Kim said...

Boys. Go figure!

I have given up on "no guns" and have changed my approach to prohibit shooting someone in the face. Because, you know, the face is so much worse than anywhere else...???....

I still haven't figured this out.

Vegetable said...

Boys do make guns out of everything. I really think it's programmed into their DNA... :-)
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