Monday, February 7, 2011

Frogs, Snails, Puppy Dog Tails...and LOTS of learning for Mama

 "...Frogs and snails, and puppy dog tails":
is that how the poem about little boys goes?
There's something about raising, living with, surviving guiding a little boy into becoming a man
that is rather...


I am female.
My brain just doesn't think like his.

It's rather like trying to drive the mailman's car,
on the other side of the front seat
with the hand reaching across to the steering wheel.

It's a completely different way of thinking.

 Entertaining a little man is much more complicated than the fairer sex.
(Don't worry, my Farmer, this activity was closely monitored).

I give my daughter a doll:
she hugs it, kisses it, talks to it.
I give my son the same doll,
he pokes his fingers into the movable eyes trying to figure out how they open and close.

Conversation: likewise.

It has helped me understand my husband more,
raising a man-child.

For example, the answers I get from my son about his Sunday church class
usually gets a few grunts for an answer.

After repeating the question 3 times as to not be avoided and looking him squarely in the face,
I can expect him to answer something like:

"It was good; what's for lunch?"


"The other little boy had a dinosaur on his shirt."


"We had a soft cookie with red and pink sprinkles on it."

The same question asked of my older daughter would result in a 5 minute detailed description of what the Bible story was about,
what songs they sang,
who was picked to take the offering and why it isn't fair that she wasn't picked,
and "it's only because I had my hair up this week because when I wear my hair down, 
the teacher calls on me more."
 The discourse will continue with which girl told her that her dress was pretty;
what kind of new doll one of the girls has;
who is sick in everybody's family;
and who sat where and why;
and which boy got in trouble,
and how dumb he is.

All this while her brother is sitting there making strange popping noises with his mouth.


What is it with the noises?

I student taught 3rd grade back in 1995.
I had a class of about 13 boys and 5 girls.
Oh, how I loved the girls.
But the boys...

there was just something about them.
I must have just had a fluke class of boys.
They can't all really act like that, can they?
Why couldn't they sit still?
Feet are not meant to be sat on.
Pencils are not meant to be drum sticks
or bounced off the desk
or clicked on the lips.

Teaching was hard.
The noises were constant.
The concentration was not.
Or maybe it was: maybe the concentration was just buried in there somewhere underneath all the noises.

The first time my son got stitches at age 2,
I called my sister,
the proud mama of 8 boys.
My first question to her was,
"Okay, I gotta know:
  how have you survived these boys?"

Her answer was not helpful.
Well, it was helpful, it just wasn't what I wanted to hear.

"Let go."
she said.

"Keep them as safe as is possible and teach them how to be safe.
Teach them godly character and what is right.
Love them.
Pray a lot.
After that, sometimes, you just have to let go and let them be boys."

Whatever does that mean?
I want my son to live.

She said she had a hard time at first:
the messes were constant and she wanted a spotless house,
the boys wanted to do things and she worried,
but she said in order to not be grumpy,
or worried,
or miserable...

she just had to let go.
Trust God.
(Of course, she was not implying that you can't try to have a somewhat clean house,
and be careful and smart about things,
but they have to learn,
and grow,
be boys.)
 A few weeks ago, my sister came with her guys for a visit.
It started to snow and they all wanted to go sledding.

The snow piled up fast
and the sledding got better and better.

 (This is Levi's best buddy, Titus.
He is 3 months older than Levi.
Oh, how he loves Titus.

he is so cute;
I just had ad this.)

 I always cringe, just a little, when the kids want to do anything slightly dangerous.
Violet is pretty capable now, but Levi...

 Levi seems to just not be always so capable.
He's much better than he was last year.
Last year I had a notion that he actually had 3 feet,
one was just invisible and caused him to trip constantly.

Band aids, blood, ice packs, and bruises were daily occurrences for this child.

 As the day grew long, we needed to leave,
but the kids wanted to sled on the best hill
over at the camp softball field where my parents work,
before we headed home.
 I agreed.  My kids don't get to play like this, with a big bunch of others very often
and their excitement and fun was too much to say "no" to.

It all went well, until on the very last run when

Levi's sled started to veer to the left of the softball field,
off  beyond the tall protective fence...

way over to the left,

where there was a very small section that led to a drop into a ravine at the far end of the field.

It seemed an impossibility for a kid could to go off there,
even if they tried,

but his sled kept sliding closer in that direction.
It looked like it would stop before it hit that
CERTAINLY if it didn't
Levi would know enough to jump off before he went...

OH, NO!!!

OH, NO!!!


Needless to say, after my near heart attack,
my tears and audible prayers,
my racing down the hill in my slippery not-for-sledding boots,
I found my son,
a slight distance down into the gully
(which was not nearly as bad as I had imagined)
with some scratches from a thorn bush,
crying because his mitten came off.

Perhaps he will jump off a sled next time he heads toward an unknown destination
off the edge of a gully, or a cliff, or a mountain.

Perhaps I'll make sure he sleds on my sled with me until I know that he knows to jump off a sled headed for unknown destinations.

Perhaps I will survive this age of mishaps and learning.

Perhaps I'm learning that "letting go" sometimes involves lessons in sledding,
lost mittens,
thorn bushes,
laughter with cousins on sleds.


But my question is,
how have you mothers survived watching your sons play football,
or race on skis,
or skateboard,

or learn to drive a car,

or go into the military,

or watch them become men?

I'm finding out,
it's not so easy to let go...

even though I know that it is part of what being a mother is.

I had to listen to both my children crying on the way home

because they didn't want the fun to end:
they didn't want to stop sledding with their cousins.

"For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD..."
I Samuel 1: 27-28a


  1. Boys and letting go.. is that ever a hard one. Mine is now 19 and it is still so hard to let him go. College boy and I still worry almost daily but I am letting him go a little more all the time. It is hard, skateboard injuries, skiing injuries, driving wreaks, stunts, all those things help to cause gray hair. But they are SO worth it! Glad your little man is alright.

  2. I have three boys, and I white-knuckled it all the way!

    Sometimes, I still do. And they are 30, 32, and 35 years old!


    PS. This is a great post, by the way, with a lot of good insights.

  3. I really enjoyed this post. I have 2 boys ages 7 and 4. I totally understand!! Thanks for sharing this! I found you from Debbiedoo's.


  4. Oh my - my little WeeMan is two and reading this made me cringe and smile all that the same time. I knew I was in trouble when last summer when caught him at the top of the deck steps on his ride on fire truck going "go, go. go!" I'm pretty sure he was revving up his courage to go over the edge. We bought a baby gate for outside that same day. Letting go and trusting God is wonderful advice. I'm learning to just enjoy the adventure and sometimes that means smiling through my tears and cringes. Thank you!
    I found you at Debbi's party and I'm going to have to start following you - so I know what lies ahead.

  5. Mom of two boys here..and yes as they get older you really start understanding your husband even more. What a great day. I am so happy you shared your special family. Have fun!!~ XO

  6. Cute story. Mom's of boys deserve a gold crown. ;-)

  7. I think that I was meant to read this today. I have one boy - 5 - and I tend to hold on too tightly. Thanks for the insight!

  8. I have two boys and a hubby that makes for another boy. I think I've lost my girlieness. . I almost bought a camo case for my phone when I remembered I could get a pink one. . . . It was real close. Love our story today! HHH

  9. I really enjoyed reading this post. I am the mother of three girls and one boy. I too, had a girl first, then our son was born. I kept wondering WHAT I was doing wrong with this boy! Turns out-he was just being a boy. I survived skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding and ice hockey accidents. He is now thirty years old with a wild two year old boy of his own. I just smile when he tells me of all the crazy stunts his young son tries. Your sister gave you some very good advice. Our Lord put us here on this earth...and he let us go too. Just keep praying.

  10. Hi there

    This was a very thought-provoking blog that tugged at my heart-strings. I don't have boys, four girls actually, but one is already in college and the other ready to go before the year's end. It's tough to think about them growing up. I can tell you it went so fast. God's given me a little lagniappe in another beautiful girl, now four years old. I pray everyday for the strength because, this one is different and I'm older. I often says she's the boy I never had. She's fidgety, loud, adventurous, mischievous, very very inquisitive and intelligent... alot like your son. Enjoy the time you have and make the most of every moment. I try to remind myself of that when I picture myself in about six months letting go of another. When I contemplate that in 4 years I'll be doing the same with #3 and 14 years from now, will I truly have the strength to let go of my last baby? Thanks for sharing and for stopping by my blog. God bless you and your gorgeous family.

  11. P.s. at lilyrose above. I just wanted to let you know that my last daughter is named Lillie Marie Rose. What a coincidence huh?

  12. I am so glad to read this post. As the mom of two boys, 4 and 2 years old, I can relate to everything you wrote. I see the little girls in my son's preschool class and I see they are so...calm. The opposite of my boys.I love what I have with them and wouldn't change it for the world, but BOY! I had no idea what I was getting into. I just need to remind myself when they are pushing me into insanity that they are normal, healthy boys and that hopefully, the tables will turn when they are teenagers. I hear girls are much more difficult then. I know I was! Thanks for a wonderful post!

  13. But in the end ( a mom of each here) boys are the easiest by will notice that come highschool!

  14. Precious! I enjoyed reading this post as I have always wanted a boy but fear when that time came I wouldn't know how to raise one properly. You and your sister have given good, sound advice! And it sure looks like the kids are having fun!

  15. Love this post! I have 3 boys and my heart has come close to stopping more than I can count. But as time goes on God helps me to let go and trust Him, after He created them, He knows them and His plans are wise. Thanks for the reminder! Stopped by from the Blog Hop.

  16. Thanks for all your fun and interesting comments! It's great to know that I'm not alone in my feelings.:) I do love having boys as well. They make life interesting and keep me on my toes! :)

  17. Great post! I am a mother of two girls who comes from a family of all girls...boys are different, but I wouldn't change a thing! My boys were so much fun and I think a bit easier to raise than drama...boys herd...girls stay in pairs...for some reason...I prefer the herds!


I love your comments!