This morning, A. wanted to play barber. I was his client, so I sat in a chair and he covered me with a blanket and proceeded to ‘cut’ my hair with two markers held together. This isn’t a new routine, so I could tell he was up to something because he was bubbling with excitement. Out came la pièce de résistance — his new battery-powered Thomas train that was his new ‘buzzer’. I thought it was cute, until he held the wheels up to my head and suddenly my hair was getting sucked into the engine and twisted around the wheels. I screamed and grabbed Thomas, fumbling unsuccessfully for the off switch. Then I fled to the bathroom mirror, where I managed to turn it off, but Thomas had already ingested a good chunk of my hair. I spent the next five minutes carefully extricating myself, so I wouldn’t have a big bald spot on the front of my head. That was the end of Thomas’ brief career as a buzzer. He returned immediately to the train track.
The experience got me thinking about little boys and how special they are. I honestly never thought I’d have little boys, since I’d always pictured myself with daughters, so I still have to pinch myself to realize that I have two sons. Little boys are definitely unique creatures and totally different in many ways from the little girl that I once was. These are some of the most obvious differences I’ve noticed.
Little boys are fascinated with all bodily functions. At just over a year, baby L. was laughing out loud any time he heard someone pass gas. Now, at 16 months, it’s a hysterical event. Anything that resembles passing gas is highly respected, such as the plastic bottle of honey that I was draining yesterday. A. asked, “Please make the honey fart, Mama.” When I did, he laughed uncontrollably. Poop is even funnier, and any time we pass a dog mess on the sidewalk, I have to haul the boys away from it because they’re so amused.
Little boys are innovative in play. They don’t need much to stay entertained. Usually a few items from the kitchen, like a pot, whisk, pastry brush, and some measuring cups, will keep them entertained for a while. Likewise, when they’re outside, some old boards and sticks occupy them for a half hour, or else plowing snow with a Tonka bulldozer.
Little boys are innately aggressive. I’m still puzzled by this, since I really try to instil a peaceful spirit in them at home and they don’t see any kind of violence on TV since we don’t have one, yet they still manage to make swords, guns, lances, bow-and-arrows, and axes out of whatever they’ve got, from Duplo blocks to the aforementioned kitchen utensils. (The ceramic knife sharpener is the sword of choice, but it quickly gets confiscated.)
Little boys are recklessly imaginative. My 3-year-old lusts after physical prowess like nobody’s business, telling about the sharks, dragons, and sea lions he’s already fought. I can tell he’s fighting them in his mind as he spins these nonsensical yarns. He’s fascinated by monsters of all sorts, and talks incessantly about Smog from The Hobbit and Humbaba from The Epic of Gilgamesh, which he’s read about with us.
Little boys worship their daddy. I wonder if I’ve got the only preschooler in town who practices his handstand pushups against the dining room wall and his clean-and-jerks with a mini broomstick. Whether it’s shaving, wearing funky shoes, or watching Top Gear clips on YouTube, they want to do everything Daddy does — even dress in his clothes when he’s not around.
Little boys are gloriously affectionate with their mama. The latest thing is to ‘cover me with kisses,’ which results in some awkward kissing locations, considering that A. reaches my waist. I often get a luscious kiss right on the butt before bending down to receive another full-on lip smacker, accompanied by a passionate declaration: “Mama, I love you in the whole world!” I get what he means because I feel exactly the same way.
My little boys are so happy. Their happiness is infectious. It’s wonderful to see two little beings who just seem to enjoy existing so much. Despite our bad days, they can always summon a smile, a giggle, or a snuggle, then the sunshine comes flooding back into their faces. I know I’m truly lucky to have such wonderful little boys to call my own.