My blog readers know I have a son, who goes by the Little Man around here. He’s 11 1/2 now, and he’s all boy. I’m not saying that to say anything other than he’s a boy. It’s not that my girls don’t make fart and burp jokes, they do. They just aren’t… well, this morning a certain boy was walking around the living room in boxers and a blanket, flapping the blanket to stink bomb the dog. Yeah, that kinda boy.
He’s loud, he’s busy, he’s (as the First Reader puts it) noise with dirt on it. He’s something of an alien creature to me. I was not a girly-girl, growing up, which I’m pretty sure my readers have figured out. When I was first writing Vulcan’s Kittens, I told my writing group that even observing my daughter and her friends closely, I was having difficulty with Linnea, the main character and modern girl. “Channel your inner 14-year-old,’ they advised me. ‘Don’t try to make her into something you weren’t.’ And I was never into boys, or clothes, or make-up, and I’m still not. I didn’t have brothers, being the eldest of three girls. Dad never expressed regrets over not having boys, but when my son came along, he joyfully produced tonka trucks, an erector set (when the lad was about 4) and taught him how to use a hammer and nails.
I’ve been buying him pants recently. And not just a pair or two. It seems like we’re going through a couple of pairs a week. When he arrived six months ago to live with me full-time again he told me he was a size 8, and he had pants in that size… well, he’s up to a 12 and some of those don’t fit him already. He came to me not long ago and pointed at his belly. ‘I’m getting fat,’ he complained. I laughed, poked him in the gut, and informed him that it meant he was about to do some serious growing. He wasn’t fat, not even close, just some baby chub his body was about to use for an accelerated growth spurt. I started buying more pants right about then.
There are times I just don’t know what to do about him. He’ll spend an entire day playing computer games if allowed. Mornings are miserable no matter how far back we push the bedtime – prying him out of bed before eight is almost a physical effort, even if he’s been in it for twelve hours. He bosses the dog around unmercifully. She’s learned to use our bedroom as her safe-space, where she can retreat when he’s being annoying. He melts down into tantrums that leave all of us exhausted.
But then he turns around and hugs me, and wants to cuddle, and I hold onto him, knowing that it won’t be long now until Mom isn’t cool. He comes upstairs waving Big Red and wanting to know if I have more books like that, please? Another evening he knocks on my door and asks me for a book about vampires and werewolves and thinks that Monster Hunter International does look like a fun read. He comes home with a certificate of accomplishment from school proclaiming him a Good citizen.
For every morning like this one, where I have to chase him around saying “Pants! you have to wear pants!” there are the times where it’s “No, you cannot have an ant farm. They escape, that’s why,” and “no, not a snake, either. They need special care and you’ll kill it, poor baby.” I keep thinking he’ll grow up, surely he’ll grow up. He’s already grown so much. Right now, that mostly means I need to buy more pants. Eventually, I hope it will mean chores being done with no yelling, and his own alarm clock he’ll actually respond to.
For now? he’s average height. For a boy – which means that it’s changing constantly.