And then he learned to walk. And that's when I learned that boys have one mission in mind: to destroy anything in sight. Not maliciously (all the time) but because, as I have observed, it helps them figure things out. Where a girl will walk over to her toy bin and take things out and arrange them nicely, my son will walk over pull a hand full of things out and throw it against the wall....and then step on it. Where a girl will dig and push sand around, fill up a bucket and pour it out; my son will throw it in the air, lean over and scoop it up in his mouth, and drag a bucket through it only to dump it out in the grass. As a woman, I watch my son's actions with look that can only be described as confusion mixed with a little bit of intrigue and topped off with a pinch of dumbfoundedness.
|that's french onion dip, folks|
|please note that his entire body is soaked|
The thing about being a mother of a tough and rowdy kind of little boy is that you yourself also need to become tough and rowdy to survive motherhood. Each evening when I change him into his jammies, I do a quick scan of new bumps and bruises, scrapes and blood that needs wiped away. Have you ever noticed that when I a little boy falls, he climbs back up with maybe a short whine and keeps on trucking, but when a little girl falls the neighboring town knows because her scream is so piercing it has just awoken their sleeping animals. Is it because little boys are tough? NO. it's because little boys fall down approximately 250 times an hour. I seriously think little girls just don't have the practice at it as much as boys; they are just more aware of their body's limitations. Where girls are cautious with their bodies, boys are careless. Warning, this is not an exaggeration: we regularly (as in at least once a week) have to pull out the flashlight to check to see if Grey has a concussion. (update: fortunately, he hasn't yet.)
If Grey falls, or trips, or jumps, or gets knocked over, or walks into anything...my first response is to wait. I don't even flinch. I wait to see his reaction to register how bad of a bruise its going to be. Usually, its no response, he just gets back up. Sometimes its an, "uh oh," or "oww." Again, I don't even acknowledge it. Sometimes he looks up and tries to find me and does a semi-run over to me with a whine. This means a hug and a "you okay, buddy? You need to be careful." And then there is the cry that mothers of sons know; the one that puts your hair up on your arms and you physically brace yourself for the sight of your own child's blood outside of their body. The cry that makes you seriously consider, "Oh God, is this going to be the time something's broken?" Well, we've had that kind of week here at the Studer House, you see, in the matter of a few days, Grey has managed to both fall on the concrete face first AND knock his forehead full force off of the tv stand. We've been hesitant to take him out in public for fear that random strangers will call child services after taking one look at the purple-harry-potter-bruise across his forehead and the missing top layers of skin on and under his nose. Of course I took a picture of him, especially to show how he eerily resembles a chucky doll...(which I will not apologize for if you have nightmares tonight).
And for those of you that are shaking your head in disbelief because you have bruise-free daughters that wear cute, CLEAN clothes; our only consolation as momma's who are enduring boys in toddlerhood is knowing that not only were we once little girls, but we were also once fifteen year old girls....so let's do a comparison again in about thirteen years, eh?