As the only woman in a house with 3 boys, a husband and a male cat, it doesn't take much to convince me that boys are different. I am not sure if they are from Mars but I know that they are from a planet where there is a lot of yelling, jumping on tables, hitting, laughing about body parts and getting excited over strange smells. I spend a great deal of time saying, " don't hit your brother", "no, I don't agree that your poop is cool", "please don't pull the cat's tail", and "please don't swing from the chandelier." My boys are happy, energetic and prone to pinching each other when I am not looking. On the other hand, both have been so fascinated with my lipstick that I lock my purse or keep the lipstick on the top shelf.
This week, I read two articles on the New York Time's "Motherlode" blog about raising boys. The first was about the seemingly inherent violent nature of boys and how teachers react to boys in the classroom and the second was about "toughening up boys", particularly boys who have a fondness for lipstick and high heel shoes. I have enclosed links to both posts below. I say let the boys be boys. Let them safely define their own path. Growing up, we had several breaks during the school day where boys and girls were allowed to run free. I think that the boys, who had boundless energy, loved those breaks more than the girls. Now there is little time during the day dedicated to sports or free play and boys are labeled as hyper at a very young age. In the second article, parents worried about their son's love for traditionally feminine products. I have not met a boy who at one point in his young life was not curious about lipstick and high heel shoes. I love that boys are complex. I love that the same boy who wants to collect bugs in the yard also wants to try my lipstick. I hide my knives, lipstick and pumps, not because I fear that my boys will march down to the local Target and trade in all their cars for dolls (I would probably support the trade) but because lipstick on the wall is a pain to clean and I would prefer not to spend my night in the emergency room dealing with a broken ankle.