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Stories, observations, and reflections from a life of raising boys

4 Reasons Boys are the Great, and 1 Reason Girls are Better

Jenifer DeMattia

Mothers love.png

I am a mother of two boys. No girls yet, so maybe I’m a little partial. If I was ever brave enough or drunk enough to decide to have another child, and that child was a girl, I’d be over the moon. But with two boys on the go constantly, who has time to drink that much? For now, I can only paint on the canvas I was given. My oldest son just turned 4. He has blond hair, prefers bare feet, and if it were not socially awkward, he is one who would probably be kept on a leash. Then there is the little guy who is eagerly crawling towards 10 months of life. His hair is darker. He is sweet and loves to cuddle. He watches his brother daily. Laughing at every move his older brother makes and eager to join in the mischief. He is pre-leash. Simply put, they have become my reason for everything I do now. Their existence has challenged me in ways I could never have imagined and brought me more days of laughter and joy than I thought possible. I have become fascinated by the mind of a child. It is unbelievable to me that I myself was once that free, that perfect, and that honest. And to observe a boy, a species so different from my own has been completely eye opening.  They are amazing creatures. Clearly unstable, but amazing. Here are the results of my observations so far which have brought me to the conclusion that boys indeed are the great:

1. When life gives them lemons, they make lemonade.

 That’s what my boy calls it anyway. He pees in the cup in the bath and offers me some lemonade. So young, so clever. On a camping trip last month, it was dark and late at night. My son had to go to the bathroom, and I told him to go behind a tree because I did not feel like taking the hike to the bathhouse. I opened a miraculous door of awesomeness for him that day. Like behind that tree was a white rabbit that he followed to wonderland. A land where bathrooms no longer existed. A place where you no longer had to stop playing to relieve yourself. We were at the park a few days ago, and I looked over to him casually peeing next to the slide. He was even doing a cool move, which I believe was intended to make a zigzag pattern like Zorro or something. Of course, most people at the park had their mouths open. Fingers pointed. He was just “chillin.” After he finished, he just pulled his pants up and continued playing. Of course, it was a little embarrassing. He embarrasses me everyday, but behind the embarrassment I’m in my own wonderland. The land where I laugh hysterically at the antics of my boy. With the freedom and the untamed nature to pull down his pants in front of a crowd and pee because he has to pee, not giving a care in the world to what anyone thinks about it. Unfortunately, I had to tell him he couldn’t do it anymore. That peeing in public is only reserved for late nights at the campground. So for now he pees in the tub. Practically right next to his brother’s head as his brother laughs and I scream in terror.

2.  Their life is like a box of chocolates.

Everything in it is completely edible. It’s a natural reaction for babies to put everything into their mouth. Hence, why when my first son was around 9 months I cringed when he ate sand, but I understood he didn’t know any better. Fast forward to 4 and he comes in from the sandbox with sand around his lips, completely stuck to his face. When I ask him why he has sand stuck to his face he simply responds, “Because I ate it” and then walks away. I don’t think he intentionally eats dirt, but he wouldn’t mind if a little fell in when he wiped his nose with his filthy hand. I don’t know if it’s some kind of deficiency or if my cooking has forced him to resort to more desperate measures, but the kid truly puts the “a little dirt” in the “never hurt.” He doesn’t get excited for any mealtime. He has too much adventuring to do. I am so proud. He looks like such a big boy with his dirt mustache.

3. Because their life is like riding a bicycle. To keep their balance, they must keep moving.

My son stopped consistently napping at 11 months old. He used to sleep with his toys just in case he felt like vrooming a car at 2 in the morning for 30 seconds before falling back asleep. Some nights, he crawls into bed with us and I just kiss his forehead and drift back off, only to be woken by a kick to my face because he does cartwheels in his sleep. He runs circles in our yard like a dog. He rides his scooter to the bathroom. His favorite game is called “couch jump.” Not a very original name because he literally runs on the couch and jumps off into my arms. He finds joy in anything that moves, be it a train or just a bubble floating through the air. The baby is now crawling and pulling himself up to stand. I have mastered the “gasp and slide” move where I have a heart attack right before the wobbly legged boy almost falls and knocks his head against the hard wood. Again. They both have taught me to keep moving, to exercise and take better care of myself so I can keep up. My sons are my sun. They provide all the energy I need to thrive in this world.

4. Because when you say to the moon and back, they prepare the spaceship for launch.

My son is very literal, and when I tell him I love him to the moon and back I have inevitably set myself up for a lengthy conversation about space. We will most likely be in a rocket or space vessel of some sort and we will enter space, only to leave space when something else takes his interest. What is it about the mind of a boy that intrigues me so much? It is his intense curiosity about life, not so much his incredible cuteness, which saves him when he has driven me to the brink of insanity during a tantrum. I believe it is that very thing, whatever it may be, that lends the saying, “girls mature faster than boys,” or “men are like trees, they take forever to grow.” Why would you grow quickly if you were a boy? What’s the rush? There is no thought in his head about what clothing he wears or what others must think. Could you imagine a life where those things didn’t matter? All he cares about is that he gets to drive the ship. And as his mom, I couldn’t wish for anything more.

My boys have taught me that not only does a little dirt not hurt, but a little pee can set you free. That life is short, so make the meaningless stuff short as well. That a body in motion is more likely to catch a boy right before his mischief gets him hurt. And that life is truly an adventure worth living to it’s fullest.

Boys are the great. But there is one reason that makes girls better.

1.  Because “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”-Virginia Woolf

Because we raise these boys. And we do it without praise or encouragement. Because behind every great man, you can trace back to a woman that loved him. I have never felt more powerful than I do now. Now that I am a mother. I even know women who do not have children, but are positively affecting the life of a child as we speak. The strongest people I know started their journey in life as an insecure girl, including myself. The world we live in is difficult for women because for whatever reason, we still are forced to exude beauty all the time. For men perhaps, or maybe for each other, I’m not really sure any more. But we don’t stay that way. Women have a unique way of finding their light, and once we do, there is no stopping us. And sometimes, if we’re lucky enough, we get to spend a small piece of our existence with a small boy, who reminds us to never forget the mischief. Life is just not worth living without it.