I love being a boy mom. Don't get me wrong, it's not an easy job, there are days when that little three-year-old isn't getting his way and he is throwing shoes and yelling as loud as he can about how unfair life is because he's just been told that he cannot watch another episode of Rescue Bots. Oh, there are days when I'm practically peeling him off of the ceiling. And boy, can he run fast. When he doesn't want to go home and we are at the park, I practically have to trick him into the car or else the two of us are running faster than a bunch of superheroes-chasing-villains. He can be such a challenge.
I'm guessing the same can be said for three-year-old girls, I'm almost positive three-year-olds are from another planet.
But at night, after he's been asleep for hours, I sneak into his room to check on him and find him curled up under so many covers and surrounded by an entire truck fleet. There is barely room for him next to that giant firetruck and dump truck and even if there was space, he would roll over on about a dozen Matchbox cars. He's hugging that firetruck, cuddling up to its hard plastic ladder as if it was as soft as a stuffed teddy bear. His hair is most likely a mess from a long day of romping through the house and attempting the backstroke on the living room rug. He's got spaghetti sauce and paint-coated cheeks.
When I see my sweet little boy sleeping like that, surrounded by the elements of his little boy environment, something in me turns sentimental. That's my son. And life is so hard for him right now, he is learning boundaries and discovering that the world isn't always kind. He's trying his best to be a good boy, but sometimes boys don't want to follow the rules, Mama. Especially when they are three.
He's also showing lots of interest in sports these days and will kick a ball around the house for an hour at a time. He wants to be a soccer/football/baseball/hockey/basketball player when he gets bigger, and a fireman. He doesn't know the meaning of "sit still", nor should he; he is a boy.
You should hear him talk about trucks. "Mama, the truck is hungry. The truck wants to go outside and dig. The garbage truck is such a nice fella. Isn't he so cute, Mama?" When Daddy takes him upstairs to bed he yells, "Goodnight, Mama! Goodnight police car! And bomb squad truck! And bulldozer! And monster truck school bus!" And if you ask him what his baby sister wants for Christmas? He'll tell you that "she wants a truck, too, so that I can play with it."
He's never met a puddle he doesn't want to jump in, and he's never experienced bath water that isn't begging to be splashed. He doesn't care how cold it is outside, he wants to play in the yard. He wants to climb on the furniture and jump on the bed and lick the window. "It's what boys do," he says, and I know he's right. Boys get dirty and make giant messes and scream as loud as they can for no reason and are gross. If anything, my boy has taught me to live with a bit less restraint, to try new things, to expand my horizons.
And when I drop him off at preschool in the morning, I watch him walk up those three stairs when the bell rings, his backpack so big against his tiny little boy frame that it looks as if it is swallowing him whole, I feel that same sentimental heart tug that I feel when I see him sleeping at night in all of his boy glory. I keep my fingers crossed that he will be a polite little man for the teachers and that he will be a good friend to--as he calls them--his "kids". And as I watch him go, scraping his sneakers in the pile of sand on the stairs as he makes his way into his big boy classroom, I say to myself, "That's my son."