The Joy of Boys
0 comment Sunday, July 27, 2014 |
This sign appeared on my bedroom door, just about the time Honey Pie favored me with a "joys of motherhood" meme. Thank you, Honey Pie, for your perfect timing.
It's only fair that I confess: I'm a mom on the wrong side of the joy scales right now.

As I write this, Mr. M is doing "alphies" and "multies" -- a sort of penance for his conduct at school. Mean teachers at my old elementary invented these horrid things and assigned them as punishment for misbehavior.
An "alphie" is the alphabet, neatly written, over and over again, on ruled paper. A "multie" is a multiplication table: 1x1 through 12x12. These are painful and boring, hand-wrenching exercises.
But alphies and multies did make me a better person. Today, I'm a walking calculator (up to 12 x 12) and I can write in near-perfect hieroglyphery. In any event, I've exhausted all options. I seem to have lost my cattle prod.
Alrighty then. Some mothering joys? Here are a few that are top of mind:
1. Elation. Like hearing his tiny sighs of contentment after a good long nursing.
2. Triumph. After I slipped fish food tiny oat flecks into his bottle of breast milk, he slept through the night. Which meant I could sleep through, too.
3. His total vulnerability. He easily lets me know what he needs. He'll drape my arm over his shoulders when we sit down to read a book. Or grab my hand and rub it against his cheek.
4. The chuckles I struggle to suppress. Like the time he was suddenly struck with modesty at bath time. Before that, he'd cavorted all over the house unabashedly, happily naked. But all of a sudden, he started backing out of rooms, his small hand covering his bottom.
5. The bittersweet joy that comes with every birthday. There's the joy that I've kept him alive for another year. But it's bitter, too, because the sweet grows more precarious with each passing day. When he sees me at school, he still runs in for a hug, even in front of his "tough" "guy" friends. And still we savor early-morning snuggles. But the sweet times are dwindling, I'm afraid.
6. Pride in his growing maturity, his newly mindful generosity. On Mother's Day he used the few dollars in his piggy bank to buy me my favorite Godiva cherries.
7. Relief when important milestones are reached. The first time he cried during a sad movie, I said a little prayer. "I knew he had empathy, I knew he was normal. I knew there was a heart beating in there."
8.Appreciation. Already he's a mini superman.The other morning I walked into the kitchen to get breakfast ready and in my path stood a small writhing garden snake. "Mr. M, Mr. M!" I screamed. He instantly recognized my "help me, now!" voice and bolted down the stairs. Fearlessly he picked up the wriggling snake and put it outside where the cat couldn't get it.
9. Ambivalence about his increasing autonomy, his thoughts and separate self. "Mom, this is awful. This is torture," he complained, as he sat writing out his alphies. "Yes, indeed," I agreed. "It's absolute misery. There's nothing worse."
"Uh, Mom? Hello! Torture is ILLEGAL."
Sorry, Mr. M, guess I got the wrong memo.