Thursday, February 9, 2012

Seeking adventure

Yep, that's my boy. He's 2. And he's all boy, always ready for an adventure. Rather, I should probably say, he's always making life an adventure.

I've been reading books about boys. While reading the chapter on 2- to 4-year-old boys in "Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys" by Stephen James and David S. Thomas, the authors seemed to be describing my boy, who fits their title of "Explorer" perfectly. A few passages for you ...
Explorers are simultaneously delightful and demanding. Their moods swing on a dime, and nothing compares to the joy that overcomes them when they make a new discovery. Boys who are in the Explorer stage are active, aggressive, curious, and self-determined. ...

As strange as it sounds, boys in the Explorer stage demonstrate love and affection through wrestling, head butting, and sometimes even hitting. ...

Most of what an Explorer needs from his parents and his caregivers comes in the form of discipline, structure, and patience. For a boy to thrive as an Explorer, he requires boundaries, open space, consistency, and understanding.
And then even offered some tips. More than anything, I was encouraged that I'm not the first mom who has mothered a boy who sometimes hits his friends, is always moving, can go from frustrated and excited in seconds, and has no fear. Of course, I knew I wasn't alone because I have friends who are raising boys to be great men. But, somehow, hearing a stranger describe my son was comforting.

Yesterday, Ben ...
  • Climbed to the top of the netting around a ball pit at a local restaurant with the only decent indoor playground in this town and jumped, shoulder first, into the balls.
  • Chewed {multiple times} on said netting.
  • Stole an Andes mint from a neighboring table during the same restaurant outing and put it in his mouth with the paper still wrapping it before I noticed.
  • Found a pile of M&Ms from who knows where {probably the floor of restaurant} and then acted like he was gagging when I pulled the chocolaty mess from his mouth.
  • Quietly played with some AAA batteries and a vial of insulin that are kept in a zipper pound in my purse after eating the fruit snacks {Who knew he could even open the package?!} that are also stored in the pouch in case I have a blood sugar low.
  • Bit his sister. For the second time in less than a week.
I don't tell you these things to keep a list of his wrongdoings. I tell you {and remind myself} because these days can seem long, but I believe I will look back and laugh and be in awe of how far we've come. Parenting is a long-term investment in people, who matter, who learn to love and serve others, who give us a chance to give ourselves away. It's the hardest and best job I've ever had.

We're even believe we're supposed to expand our family. But that doesn't mean some days aren't hard. I'm pretty sure my mom wrapped up our phone conversation yesterday afternoon because she knew chaos was abounding in the next room. I knew it too. But sometimes escaping for a few moments gives me perspective.

Because not every day is like this.

And not every day will be like this.

Just like my first-born girl isn't like my second-born son in many ways, moments and days and seasons are their own. And right now, I'm on an adventure. My boy thinks he's leading the way, but I'm praying the grown-up half of this family is actually guiding the way. Hence the information gathering mission I'm on. I've also been reading "Boys Should be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons" by Meg Meeker. Wisdom and encouraging reminders are in those pages too. And I've been consulting my heavenly Father, which teaches me plenty because He's used to his kids messing up and finding the way in the life.

What about you? Do you have wisdom or encouragement for us mommas of boys?

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