Saturday, February 13, 2010

Break-Ups and Bottoms

Boys are an enigma.  And let's face it: a bit weird.  The whole parenting things is hard enough, but when you add to the mix that I had three sisters and was never around boys all that much growing up, things get a little bizarre.

An always present issue?  Volume.  Why is their normal voice decibel what most of us would use at a concert?  Directly in front of the stage by that absurdly large speaker.  The husband and I thought we were being so non-traditional when we decided we wanted an open floor plan-- it was a deal breaker, we'd agreed.  I think that now I would pay money to have Holmes on Homes come and throw up some walls just for some sound barrier.

But beyond the volume (I swear I told Gage 25 times today that we were inside, so we need to use our inside voices. Choose to read those italics as a stressed word or a screamed word-- up to you.), I'm continually finding that raising two boys is an adventure, especially when one is an 8 year old in second grade.

What exactly happens between sending the sweet, round-faced little boy off to kindergarten and being shrugged off by a somewhat sarcastic, thin second grader? Yes, I've gotten the shoulder-nudge hug, and most recently, the fake ha-ha-ha laugh when I made an outstandingly funny joke about the wind blowing us away because it was so strong. Of course, it was a funny joke, and I knew he was flexing his new found sarcasm, which I'm sure he didn't pick up from me-- must have been some kid at school.

Pacey has never been what you might call even-tempered. Start with the 6-hour screaming fits as an infant, the mega temper tantrums as a toddler, and you really can't expect much different from a second grader, I'm coming to find.

One day, he was upset because he and his friend broke up. I tried to nonchalantly engage the conversation and get down to what we all really wanted to know-- who is this little harlot and when exactly did this relationship get started, let alone progress enough to end?! I was fighting this internal battle when he finally told us that Connor told him he didn't want to be friends anymore. Connor. A boy. His lunch table friend. I was enamored with his innocence and attempt to use "grown-up" words to talk about something as commonplace as severed second-grade friendships. I gave him a hug and offered some mom-perfect words of consolation as he ran off, leaving me wistfully wanting to bottle that innocence and sprinkle it around when he hits the dreaded teens.

I was thoroughly enjoying that mom-fantasy when I was rudely ripped from my dreamland as Gage ran by shrieking (loudly, of course), followed by Pacey yelling (again, loudly), "Smell my bottom, smell my bottom!"

Which came from the boy who just moments earlier was crying about a break-up. I think I will need that bottled innocence just a bit sooner.