100% REAL Boy! by Cara
My six year old is such a boy. A REAL boy! A play in the mud, climb a tree, dig a trench boy! Which is not to say that nice, quiet, sit and read boys AREN’T real boys. They are most certainly “real” boys too! But my boy is a BOY! A get down and dirty (thank you, Oxyclean Laundry spray!) boy! So it is of no surprise that my son came home yesterday with (and my “boy” husband bought for him) new pets: Hermit Crabs!!!
I realized my son was a “real” boy around age two. Up until then, I had bought my son “gender neutral” toys such as building blocks, shape sorters, farms and farm animals, a varity of animal theme books. But one day, we went to a playdate at a friend’s house. This friend of mine has two boys, one my son’s age and the other a couple year’s older. And scattered all around my friend’s playroom were trucks! And cars! And trains! All toys my son had never seen, let alone played with before!! At that moment, I knew that there most definitely is a gene in boys for preferred play with trucks, cars and trains! My son made a bee-line right to the biggest truck he saw and started pushing it all around, making vrooming sounds as he went! How did he know to do this? Where did he learn to play with the trucks and cars this way?! The only explanation I could rationally come up with was that it was in his genes!
My son was then obsessed with trucks, cars and trains! Every truck he saw while we drove, he would call out, “twuck!!” as if he had never seen one before! So the nice, “gender neutral” toys slowly were replaced with trucks and cars of every size. And along with that, another obsession emerged: Trains. Particularly “Thomas the Train”, trains! At one point we probably had close to 30 Thomas trains, and wooden tracks, bridges, tunnels, and every sort of accessory one could imagine for these trains! We even had just about every Thomas DVD ever produced! And every day, after I picked my son up from daycare and fed him, we had to put in a Thomas DVD and build a track system so that as many trains as we had at the time could all caravan behind Thomas! But alas, this extremely expensive train obsession came to an end by the time my son turned four. I refuse to throw away hundreds of dollars worth of wooden trains and tracks, so they are packed up and ready for a special friend, when her baby’s train gene emerges and he wants to play with trains!
Then, around the time my son turned five, we were digging in our garden to plant a flower, when my son spotted an earthworm! A big, fat, pink earthworm! No more than 5 minutes had gone by when, like the whirlwind my son is, he ran inside the house, got a plastic container, put dirt in the container, and in went the earthworm…named, “Wormy.” I knew right then I was doomed. My REAL boy was blossoming into now 100% REAL boy! And what does a mother of a REAL boy to do than to “adopt” a garden worm? Thankfully we were going on vacation ten days later and my son’s pre-K teacher agreed to “watch” Wormy while we were away. Even better, my son forgot about Wormy after we returned, so his teacher let it go free in the dirt outside without my son even aware.
From there my son spent months begging for a “pet” snake. I negotiated and bought him an earthworm hatchery kit. I tried to convince him that they were “small snakes.” But eventually we had to let them go free in the garden. Then we bought caterpillars and watched them hatch into butterflies! We kept them and fed them fresh fruit, but you could tell that they wanted to fly free, so we watched them go! Next my son became obsessed with lizards and geckos and wanted one of them as a pet! Both my husband (thankfully) and I vetoed both of those creatures.
Well, now we have new pets:“Hot Rod” and “Speedy” (neither of them moves much, but okay, they can think they are racers!). And although I adamantly put my foot down that I would NOT care for these creeping, crawling things, I know that their care will ultimately fall to my domain of care. Oh, and did I mention that we already have two dogs and two fish? And guess who takes care of those?? Hmm??