(Originally written in January 2009)
I am the single mom of a now 15 year old son, Matthew. He has always been a good kid, with the exception of the “terrible two” phase. He didn’t begin to be terrible in his two’s…he started early and it didn’t end until he was in his three’s. He eventually outgrew it and truly became a wonderful little man. His innocent humor completely fascinated me, and for some reason, he was already fascinated by the fact that he was a boy and had working parts that ladies did not have.
My mother was watching him one day while I was at work. ‘I have to go pee”, Matthew said. My mother promptly took him upstairs to the potty because if you waited you never knew what you were gonna get. Of course, his little legs were not tall enough for him to stand next to the commode so he had to stand on a little stool. Anyone who has a boy will know that when little boys are standing in front of the commode, they don’t just pull their pants down a little bit. They pull them ALL THE WAY TO THEIR ANKLES, which is probably a good idea because their sense of aim isn’t always the best. My mother stood in the doorway watching him. Matthew noticed her looking and said “You can’t pee-pee like this.” He already knew way too much.
To really understand my perspective on boys, you must first know about my father. He is a Judge, retired Colonel, & a disciplinarian that would make even the most brave Fear Factor contestant quiver. My dear father was living in a house full of estrogen when I was growing up. Here he was living with my mother (whom everyone calls Ninny), my older sister, Cathy and me while he was the only man in the house. I now have a new respect for him thinking of him going through the grocery store line buying tampons and Midol. How he ever lived through it (or how he allowed us to live through it) truly amazes me. He has always been the head of the house hold, my hero, but there was absolutely no arguing with him. I use the following example as an argument with my father.
Me: “Daddy, look how beautiful the sky is today. It’s so blue.”
Daddy: ‘Oh, it’s not blue today. It’s green.”
Me: “Daddy, look UP. It’s blue. The sky isn’t green!!!”
Daddy: “Damn it Dana, it’s green because I say it’s green.”
(10 minutes later)
Daddy: “Dana, look how blue the sky is!”
Arguing with my father will get you no where. Maybe it’s a male thing because arguing with Matthew never seemed to accomplish anything either.
When Matthew was born I saw a new side of my father. Matthew was due on my mother’s birthday which is December 25, but being the outgoing person that he is, he came two weeks early and made his presence known on my father’s birthday. Now that would not normally be much of a big deal, if you didn’t know that there were five kids in my father’s family…three of which were born on December 9th. Many years later, Matthew makes his arrival on the same day. March is apparently a VERY fertile month in my family. Matthew and my dad had an instant connection…he was able to get away with things that I would have never dreamed of attempting. My dad is Matthew’s hero too, but then again, he comes from the same deep end of the gene pool.
So how is it that boys know they are different? How do they know they are supposed to play with fire trucks and trains and make zooming noises while they are playing with Matchbox cars? I think it is something embedded in their brains long before they are able to hold up their own heads. How do little boys know that they have a body part that women do not (and I am not talking about brains here)? Why are they always touching it and moving it around? The answer was given to my 90 year old grandmother one summer day. She happened to notice that Matthew had his hand shoved down his shorts and was scratching himself down there. She told him that it wasn’t something little boys should be doing. Matthew looked at her and said, “My dad does it.” Like father like son. Enough said.