Best of the Blogosphere

I will admit that when I am changing the fourth poo-explosion of the day (ugh, always when I am about to eat something!), and the fighting/whining of the older two seems like the soundtrack to my life, it can be difficult for me to focus on the loveliness of being a mother.  Just before Valentine’s Day, Savvy Mom posted the Top Ten Reasons To Love Being a Mom and I have had this site bookmarked ever since.  Number Three: The After School Hug definitely rates high with me because I know that an expiration date looms. There is nothing like picking up the boys from school and having them run into my arms.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and homemade cards and Cheerio necklaces will always be a favourite of mine, but the wordophile in me would love to have one of these Morse code necklaces from Coattonline.  I would choose to personalize my necklace to read: together we’re one.

A few weeks ago, the moms group that I belong to hosted a seminar by Carlyle Jansen who owns Good For Her.  She brought along (among other things) a copy of Love in the Time of Colic: The New Parents’ Guide To Getting It On AgainI haven’t read the book, but the title of it made me laugh.

Nancy Ripton of Just the Facts Kid and Matt Damon’s mom made me sleep a bit better this month.  After what has been months (okay, years) of agonizing over the boys “gun play”, I have officially decided to move on to obsessing about something else.  Read what the experts have to say by clicking here.

Every day I look forward to reading Pickle Me This and this month my favourite post by Kerry Clare was her review of Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman Perhaps not as controversial as Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom, Druckerman’s book has been garnering a lot of attention.  What do you think?  How are you raising your kids?  Are you like the moms described in Bringing Up Bebe or do you answer to the battle cry?   Or do you make up your own rules?

Disclaimer: I did not receive any product or money for writing about any of the items/posts/websites above.  I just love to share.  To quote my three year old: “Sharing is caring!”

Image credits: microsoft, coattonline, iankerner, pameladruckerman

“I deaded you!”

“Oooh, you died.  I deaded you!”  My three year old squeals.

“No, I am not died.  I am going to kill you!” My four year old responds.

This banter has been going on for a few minutes and I cringe  listening to such violent play.

“Boys!  Enough!  We don’t kill people.  We are kind to people.  We don’t use guns or play with guns!  They are dangerous and hurt people.”  I make a final plea.

I have got to hand it to my boys.  They are definitely creative.  There are no toy guns in our house.  There are no photos of guns.  None of their toy characters have guns.   No one we know owns a gun. My husband and I don’t own guns and I am fairly certain that neither of us has never shot a gun.

Yet my boys can craft a gun out of anything.  Toilet paper rolls.  Broom handles.  Pencils.  Their fingers.  The latter is difficult to take away from them.

I am not sure where this “kill ‘em” business came from but if I were to guess, school would be my bet and of course, pretty much most entertainment that is marketed towards boys has some sort of violent component to it.

It amazes me to see how much the boys have learned during the short school year.  Jack, who is four, is using words like liquid to describe melting ice and explaining to me the root system of our tomato plants.  Sam, who is three, clicks puzzles together faster than I can turn over the pieces and he counts aloud to twenty while staring at the ceiling waiting for sleep to come without skipping a beat of flubbing the sequence.

But they learn other things at school, things about guns, war, weapons and death.  They are fascinated by the death of things – ants, flowers, batteries and yes, people too.  Together with their friends they play light-sabers, soldiers, police and bad guys and even, thanks to our recent trip to the movies, cars.

I respect and appreciate their curiosity and imagination.  But I also hate it.  It’s absolutely impossible to shield them from everything.

To me, it’s more important to expose them to things and then explain to them how their father and I feel about it.

This is what I tell myself to quiet my desire to lock them in their rooms with a few stuffed animals and a plethora of mommy-approved books.

My mother-in-law who has raised many boys insists to me that it’s futile.  As cliché and perhaps as offensive to some (click here and here) as it may seem: boys will be boys.

In an effort to understand this play, I turned to Leonard Sax’s book, Why Gender Matters, for some insight as to why my boys are so obsessed with rough play.  Here is what Dr. Sax has to say:

According to the section, Lessons From The Playground (pages 58-65):

  • Boys fight more often than girls to, including being physically aggressive towards each other.  He insists, and cite studies to back this up, that boys although they fight more frequently than girls often become better friends with their mates.
  • It’s normal for boys to show a preference for violent fairy tales and games.  It does NOT mean that they have a psychiatric disorder.  (Phew!)

The section in the book that most rang true for me is Grand Theft Auto.  Sax describes on page 71:

“. . . Don’t buy any video game that employs what I call a “moral inversion”- where good is bad and bad is good.  Playing those games for hours on end can warp your mind.  If your son absolutely has to play violent video games, choose something like SpyHunter instead.  In SpyHunter you’re a James Bond sort of character, assigned missions such as escorting diplomats to embassies while various enemies try to shoot you and the diplomat you’re escorting . . . You lose points if you kill or injure a civilian.  You can’t just fire your weapon blindly.  You have to avoid the civilians (who become more numerous as you advance in the game) and make sure you’re right on top of the bad guy before you can fire.”

If I am to be truthful, and it’s hard to be, I would admit that I am also embarrassed by their boisterous play.  My own ego and insecurities whisper to me other mothers are watching and judging, deeming my boys the “bad ones”.

But when I look around at other boys in the playground, I see the same play and hear the same words that fill-up my home coming from other little bodies.

“Boys, let’s just say “get ‘em”, okay?” I try again with my little warriors.

“Mommy, don’t worry. It’s not a gun, see?”  My son holds his tiny hand out to me and opens his palm.  He looks up at me with the sweetest eyes, and smiles his toothy grin and says, “It’s a sword.”

photo credit: http://www.openmarket.org