Sunday, November 20, 2011

Raising a Boy & Raising a Girl

The other day my son came home from school and told me he got in trouble in science class.
"What for?", I inquired, knowing it couldn't be too bad, because to date my boy is a really good boy. "Some girl kept kicking me and wouldn't stop, so I said STOP, and I got in trouble."
"Why was that girl kicking you?"
"I don't know", he replied mystified, "I don't even know her." Well, I know why that little hussy was kicking him, but I kept it to myself, assuming soon enough big beast will learn about the joys and pains of elementary school love.

Last week my daughter's teacher told me that my little beast was poking a boy in circle time. This certain boy has an earring, and is know for spitting, and general badness. At the beginning of the year little beast had taken it upon herself to tame this little rascal. The teachers were thrilled. However, recently she had been putting her toe in the water and checking the temperature of trouble. When I was talking to little beast about the poking incident. I said, "When Little Rascal is misbehaving just move away from him." My little girls shoulders dropped, her chin lifted and she got this dreaming look on her face, "But mommy, he's so cuuuuuute." AHHHHHHHH, the bad boy wins again. I began looking up pre-school convents online immediately.

Raising human beings is such an awesome responsibility. Having a boy and a girl adds a little challenge to it. I cannot treat all situations the same with them. They have different needs, different personalities and different challenges.

With my boy I think about making him a good, strong man. A man who is respectful to women and respectful to himself. I think about all the sexualized images of women he will see and how to handle internet porn (thank goodness we're not there yet). I think about his sweeter than sweetness, and how to teach him to have a little tough shell around him that can provide a barrier from the hurts of the outside world, but that will allow his beautiful, kind self to shine through. I think about teaching him how to be a good man, without having a man in the house.

I also have to think practical. How do you teach a boy to pee with a morning erection? (Yep, had to deal with that one. Thanks to a quick call to a neighbor's husband we found an answer.) Masturbation? Check, we had a brief, round about talk about that. Soon we'll have to have that big ole' sex talk, but thank goodness, at this point I haven't seen any signs that point to the boy liking girls. He actually seems to shy away when a girl turns on her charm. I breath a sigh of relief, and gather information from other mothers & fathers on how to raise a boy in this crazy, sexualized, lookist society.

With my girl things seem more complicated and I think that it is because she seems like smaller version of me. Then my own baggage gets tangled into it. Not only does she need to learn the skill of wiping front to back, but she has a mountain of negative media to climb over to find herself and how she fits into the world. Last year, at age 4, she started with the, "Does this make my butt look fat?" to which I replied, "Yes, your butt is supposed to look fat! It's made of fat so it can be comfortable to sit on."

Little beast is already interested in boys. She is DRAMATIC and bull headed. Yet, somehow I need to treat her to embrace her sensuality and use her powers for good. How to treat herself with respect, and not squelch her fire. I will repeat for myself,

In the end, I remind myself, these kids have their own karmic destiny to work out. Some of it, unfortunately, will be based on choices that I have made. Some of it fortunately, will be based on what my village and I teach them, but mostly their lives are created by their own sweet selves. When I remember this parenting becomes less the chore of shaping and molding, and more the adventure, discovering, guiding them down the river of life. It is the beauty, the wonder, the burden, the tangled web of single motherhood.

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