Dear General Population without kids, or without the specific experience of raising little boys, or who have never seen little boys, or who can’t spell “little boys,” or basically everyone who doesn’t live in my house:
I am the least qualified person to bring up this issue. I am not important. Most days, I’m a hot mess. Really– I can only articulate the perfect zinger a day after an argument has taken place; I cannot give up on the show Grey’s Anatomy though it has obviously run way past its course; my life is messy. The only thing I’ve got going for me is the fact that I am currently right in the eye of the parenting storm, raising three little boys. I am writing to you an Un-apology letter.
I do not apologize for the inconvenience of my little boys. They catch your attention in restaurants, at church, at the grocery store, in the library. Thank goodness, I have perfected the “I’m doing the best I can. Lord, help us all” face. It elicits immediate sympathy, if not out-right pity, from most passerby.
And believe me when I say I understand the inconvenience of little boys! Somewhere around the 18-month mark, they begin to smell funny when they’ve spent 30 or more seconds outside. And they’re loud. The ones in my house came fully equipped with sound effects. For ev.ry.thing! I did not teach them this annoying trick; it was pre-programmed somehow. I also admit they are gross. The ones who are old enough to stand when they go to the bathroom get distracted 4 seconds into urinating, and create a pretty cool pattern of tee-tee across the back of the potty, along 2 walls, on the floor mat for the bathtub, and most often on the floor in front of the potty. Anywhere but in the potty.
And I realize how we must look letting our little ones play with weapons. Funny thing is, I was VERY adamant about keeping fighting or violent play out of our home when my first-born was young. And for almost two years, I succeeded. We refused any toy guns or swords or knives or anything that could remotely promote violent play. And then one day, you know what that little 19 month-old did? He pointed his chubby little finger at me anyway and said “boom!”
So much for morals.
Or at the very least, any hope of avoiding the inevitable good guy/bad guy/superhero phase.
And I know little boys are a tornado of action. Little boy= constant movement. Another phenomenon I cannot explain, even to other parents who are raising sweet little girls. Yes, our children may be the same age; yes, they are being raised in homes with similar values; yes, they are similarly intelligent. No, my son won’t sit quietly and read to himself like your daughter may. He’ll sit by himself. He’ll read a book. He mostly likely won’t be quiet or still for very long.
Yes, I know this irritates you because you are sitting in the booth behind us at Chili’s. Our table is a little louder, frenzied with more action, and is a whole lot more creative when it comes to techniques meant to teach patience to little boys who are stinky, loud, gross, and constantly moving.
But we are teaching.
And they are learning.
Because one day, these little boys are going to be men. They’ll probably be dads and granddads. And I’ve only got a short amount of time to pour into them everything I can think of to lead them to be godly, honorable, life-loving, family-loving men.
I look at each of my boys. They’re so different! The 7 year-old blonde who loves sports, his chess team, and talking the ears off a total stranger. The 4 year-old brunette, who loves to make us laugh, is the first to try any physical stunt, and as the extreme introvert has few friends but holds the ones he chooses in high esteem. And then there’s the baby of the family. The red-head who has proven to be the epitome of laid-back. Even his birth was a breeze! He was almost born in literally one push.
They all fill the stereotype of little boy, though we parent them each according to their own personalities. But I’ve got one job in mind these days, and to say I take it seriously is a gross understatement.
My husband and I are prayerfully raising three boys who will one day love the Lord as much as we do. We expect them to be ready and willing to be the godly leaders of their homes, to shower their wives with love, affection, and praise, to be men who work hard when others won’t, to be men who are respected by others, and to be active and loving patriarchs for their own grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
You see little boys more inclined to roll on the floor and wrestle than wait patiently in line. You hear the incessant ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch sh-sh-sh-sh-sh of the pretend fighter jet that suspiciously never seems to be running low on fuel.
I see a family man in 20 years, whose first inclination when he comes home from a long day of work is to roll around on the floor with his own little boys and teach them that wrestling (within reason) is an acceptable way to show physical affection. I hear a grown man who is crazy good at making sound effects and character voices come alive as he reads a bedtime story to his grandsons.
We’re teaching with the end in mind. We’re not there yet, but every day counts.
Raising little boys is guaranteed to be loud, stinky, and disgusting at times. And that is an extreme inconvenience to everyone not directly involved.
But it’s only for a short while.
One day, you’re going to be proud of the men they’ve become.
A Mother of three inconvenient, but on-the-right-track, little boys