Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Nuts and Bolts of Raising Boys

When I was newly pregnant with my first son, I was delighted to have this invaluable resource. "What to Expect When You Are Expecting" is a wealth of information about every quirk and craving of pregnancy. It eased my mind to find my strange symtoms listed in this manual, to know that I was normal, and that my baby was healthy.

Then, when Simeon was born I had
this book to turn to. "What to Expect the First Year" prepared me for many things that might have unnerved me had I not seen them coming. These two books were constant companions and great blessings to me.

But then they ran out...I'd gotten through the first year, but that was it. I just can't find a "What to Expect When You Have Five Boys Under Age Eight" out there anywhere. Oh sure, there are plenty of resources...books on boys' physical health, books on boys' emotional development, books on educating boys, ...but nothing as complete and as exhaustive as the "What to Expect When You are Expecting" books. So, I have been left completely unprepared for life with boys and have had to muddle through on my own. So far, along the way, I have learned a few things and if anyone out there is thinking of writing the manual on boys, I would like to make this important contribution...

THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF RAISING BOYS: Be prepared for hardware. That's right, at least once a week my boys bring me hardware. They come to me without saying a word and make as if to give me something. I put my hand out and they give me some screws, or some nuts, a washer, or sometimes a knob. At first I was foolish, looked at these things and threw them out, but then chairs began falling apart, a coffee table would give out under a guest's feet, a tricycle would suddenly send all three wheels sailing in different directions, and so I learned. We actually have a special drawer on our kitchen counter for this hardware, now. It is full at this moment. I suppose it is natural for a boy to be interested in hardware, tinker with it, and then find he has removed a piece. The funny thing, too, is that they always bring it to me. The screws and bolts are unrecognizable to me, but a knob will sometimes ring a bell. I know I have seen this in the house before... but where?

We like to think that the skills the boys are developing from taking apart nearly everything we own will one day be used to fix things around the house or build us beautiful furniture, but we don't know what to expect. We don't have the manual.