Friday, January 28, 2011

What little boys are made of...

Just when you think you have something figured out, they throw something new at you.  I know this is true with parenting, but I imagine it's true with just about everything.  Ben will turn 2 next month.  I wonder where the time has gone and where my baby has gone.  But I think mostly I wonder, what am I going to do with this little boy.  2 seems to be his threshold into boyhood.  Of course, some things about him have always been little boy like, but recently it seems like everything just screams little boy.  I guess that's a good thing considering he is a little boy.  :)

What really set me to thinking about this was the other night at his gymnastics class.  I was watching a couple other little girls.  Their mothers would tell them what to play on and they did it.  I would suggest something to Ben and he would run by it and keep going.  The other mothers told them to hang on this bar or climb this wall and they would.  (with help obviously.)  I suggested that to Ben and he wanted nothing to do with it.  When it came our turn to play in the pit, Ben ran up to, said "Ready, Set, Go" and jumped in.  The little girls weren't quite so daring.  I signed him up for the 2 year old class, but I was wondering if that is the best idea.  Is he ready?  The class is much more structured.  The pre-2 class is just running around and seeing how things work.  2-3 is with parents, but led by teachers.  They use certain apparatus certain ways.  Boys are much more independent, do it my way, take charge, take a risk kind of people.  And good thing they are.  Otherwise our great great great great great grandpas wouldn't have gone out and fought wild animals for our food.  Girls are much more able to be lead, think about the risks involved, see the big picture kind of people.  And good thing they are.  Otherwise our great great great great great grandmas wouldn't have told her husband to take the gun and don't try to fight the animals bare handed.

What does that have to do with a 2 year olds gym class?  Everything!  The girls are ready to listen to the teacher, play on the one apparatus, and play they way they are told to do.  I'm not sure Ben is there yet.  I don't think he is ready to give up running around and doing it his way.  So what do I do?  Try to force him to be "more like the girls" or just drop the class?  My immediate decision is to wait and see what happens, but if he isn't ready then what?  I think I'm going to drop the class until he is a little older and ready to give in a little more.  I understand that it is important for him to learn to do as he is told and he does at home and with baby sitters and what not.  In this one case, I don't think he should be made to give up running around and jumping on things.

Of course these are generalizations and there can be girls just as head strong as Ben and other boys are.  By the same token, there are boys that can be less head strong and more willing to listen.  And of course whether your child is more head strong or less head strong does not make them better or worse and I am making no value judgments about the head strong"ness" of a child.  These are simply my observations and thoughts.

One last note:  His feat of strength and daring for today is to stand on my stomach, say, "Ready, Set, Go" and jump off.


  1. I love your thoughts, as they align with mine. They do say boys are slower to develop and mature, and never forget that school environments are designed specifically for girl's education, not for boys. Each child can learn differently, as you already know. I recommended a special needs child that is 3 be placed in my 2's class because his attention span is equal to that of a two year old, but when I see Jacob, I think it will benefit him to move to the two's when he hits two in May instead of at the year-end transition in fall, just because I know he will be much more advanced than the one year olds. When it comes to two-to-three transition time, I think I will wait until fall time, because that's a bigger transition. Three means preschool and changes, just as five means Kindergarten, so know that it's great that you are letting him have fun and be Ben, he may not remember these classes, but you learn a lot by being able to observe your child in social settings and see how he interacts. I have children who can't be without their parents, kids who play well with others and a boy who is 2 months shy of three, but perfectly potty trained and extremely bored, so your heart is always right, trust your intuition and enjoy the ride. You are a great mom!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement! I read in an educational article one time that we teach boys like they are slow to develop girls. (I don't remember the exact wording, but that was the idea.) That comment has always stuck with me. I'm still not sure what to do about it, but I'm often thinking about it.