My boys have been home from school the last two months and it’s given me an opportunity to delve into considerable research about their natures and habits and traits, much more so now that the 8yo isn’t pouring his heart out at bedtime via pretend stories. You don’t need grants or fancy labs, just some focus and a latent power of observation when your subjects won’t leave you alone until you threaten bedtime at noon.
I admit I did a lot of this in the beginning. This became my regular state by early afternoon if they weren’t in a camp. But then I realized the futility of it and, nudged by my bald spot, decided to channel my energies into observing the mind of a monster.
And I discovered some universal truths, based on a sample of 2 own and countless strangers, about BOYS. They are in no certain order but #1 seems to be the most reliable.
- A boy can only think/act/ruminate/wonder/elaborate/relax/focus by grabbing on to his crotch. This action has nothing to do with using the bathroom or any nervous habits. It is what it is. It knows no age, demographic or ethnic boundaries, although incidence in public may lessen after about 8. Still, look for resurgence in extra stressful (pondering goal strategy at soccer game) or extra restful (reading on the couch) situations.
- A boy will typically not screech but the inside voice volume button is mostly under repair. The closer another person is the higher his need to shout out instructions. If he can’t hear himself no one can, so he yells. Notice this one in movie theaters, restaurants or moving cars.
- Hand combat isn’t fighting, it’s a love language for a boy. I’ve endured my share of horror looks from parents (of toddler boys, girls, or mixed-sex siblings) who think I’m lazy, but when you spend approximately 7.5 out of 12 waking hours either breaking up a fight or yelling to stop, laziness and resignation are inevitable by-products. If there’s no blood and one of the parties isn’t screaming to stop, wrestle on, boys.
- Personal appearance isn’t so personal to a boy. As long as a shirt isn’t itchy and the shorts don’t fall off, the prints and patterns and colors on them don’t much matter. If you ask them to get ready for a play date, they will be done in about 6.6 seconds in “matching” outfits of blue stripes with orange-red plaid (I’ve tried to teach them about complementary colors). Clothes choice mostly depends on what got washed the previous day and ended up on top in the drawer.
- Contrary to popular perception, a boy enjoys the arts. He may not admit it but Let It Go holds a dear place in his heart too. Take him to the library and he’s as likely to choose an adventure bedtime book as a rhyming tale of a goofed-up princess rescue mission.
And despite the stereotypes…