Learning to step in to the boy’s world…

Jahli pisa

There is so much about being a mother of a boy that I don’t understand, that is not inherently in my bones, that I sometimes have to turn to my husband and ask ‘what is this boy thing all about?’

I so thought I would have all the knowledge but of course I don’t, I understand my daughter’s world much better than my son’s because I have been there and I recognize the stages that they are going through.

The things I am learning about this 8 year old boy are…

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This boy needs to run in a pack.

Kids need to be in groups it is so clear to me. Especially boys, they need to do that thing that they do, jump, roll, fight, push, talk about boy like things. Play video games, enjoy them so much that when they talk about them thier friends know what they are on about and are excited about them aswell. Boys need boys.

Yes, this boy loves video games

This is where I fall down. As I don’t like video games for myself, I am not hugely judgmental about them. Well the really aggressive ones don’t get a look in in our house but I know that there are video games that are great but I just am not personally very good at them, I’m rubbish. I can’t get in to them. I also know that I have an inner scripting about them which is negative and way out of date. I know that they can be incredibly brilliant for learning like this young boy points out. I am trying to tread the fine line of giving our kids freedom around them and not letting them spend the day glued to a screen. The boys I have met, more than girls, seem to love video games. And that is OK. I am learning that that is ok, even though it is not my thing.

This boy loves competition

My son is a live wire. He is plugged in to the mains of life this shows up the most during a competition. We went on holiday the week the schools went back in September, as the campsite was empty and cheap. Luckily on the day that we all played basket ball there was hardly anyone in the campsite but his voice was so loud. He was red in the face and desperately needing to get that match point. He wanted to be the winner.

At 9 years old this boy is pushing me away and wanting to go in to the man’s camp.

I am not as interesting to him as a man right now and I am learning that that is ok.

At 9 years old this boy is independent, he wants to do his own thing, he wants not to have a shower, so we give him a lot of freedom, up to the point.  The time to have a shower is when we can’t remember when he last had one. Then he won’t go in and then we say ‘well you have to at some point today’ and he chooses a time and goes in, then he won’t get out.

At 9 years old this boy is full of contradictions.

At 9 years old this boy makes weapons out of paper he makes so many that we can’t move them all in one go, they nearly fill the room. He loves weapons, I don’t but I try to, to be in his world. I love his paper weapons though that bend when they hit you.

Jahli

What I am learning is that by following him and what he loves I am having to divert from the things that I love and go over to join him in a place full of things that are so different to my world. Elastic bands, things that shoot, explode, endless bits of metal, stories about monsters and destruction. In doing so he introduces me to things and people like a mad Russian scientist on you tube. My son laughs his head off and says ‘LOOOK!!’ I find myself, thanks to the mad Russian scientist (who goes by the name Crazy Russian Hacker) buying Coke and Mentos and making explosions on the street. Which was good actually.

But what I am learning is that this boy’s world is huge, changing, intricate, detailed, expansive, loud, fiery and spirited and from his world I am sometimes left with my hands in the air as from my female perspective I am not sure that I can get to where he is. So I turn to the man in my life, his father, my husband and I say…

’Please talk to me so that I can understand, what it is like to be a boy?’

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About the Author

Lehla is an illustrator and an author of books, she has written for The Guardian. She trained as an actress at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She wrote The South African Illustrated Cookbook, The Lovely Book for Wonderful Women and she illustrated a kid's book by M.J. Amani called 'Excuse Me, I'm Trying to Read' and also 'I am Me, You, Us and We' by Caroline Trowbridge. Above all she is a mother to three fast growing kids, she juggles her time between them and working on new books and projects. She has recently co authored with Anthony 'Jump', Fall, Fly - from schooling, to homeschooling, to unschooling' Her art work can be seen at http://lehlaeldridge.wix.com/lehla-

12 Enlightened Replies

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  1. mohterof3 says:

    HAHA! Love it… this is me times three. I have three boys ages 7, 9, & 10 (almost 11) that I try very hard to keep up with, nurture without smothering, and hope that hey somehow make it to adulthood in one piece. They jump, run, wrestle and just seem like they are always on the go. I’m learning anything messy, loud, explosive and quasi violent is just what they love. Competition is constant and can be about anything from brushing teeth to winning a race. I’m amazed at their constant ability to find something to compete over.

  2. 3 boys! Wow, now my son I am sure would love to romp around with your three!

  3. Patricia says:

    Motherof3 and I should swop notes!! I had one of those “aha moments” (as in “ok, boys are clearly wired differently”) some years ago when I watched my boys playing with an App that made “music” using fart sounds!! They were in fits of laughter and I had to just shake my head and resign myself to the fact that I just didn’t understand what was so amusing just because I was “a girl”!! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my 3 but I do sometimes find it tough that there is so much testosterone in my home which results in a constant argey bargey, tarzan-like chest beating as they try to outdo each other in virtually all tasks ~ yes, motherof3 even tooth brushing! Fun, fun, fun Lehla, Jahli would be welcome to romp with my lot any time you are out this way!! Love and Hugs

  4. Yes, Wow Patricia you are also a mother of three and three boys at that! DO you ever get girly time? Yes, will let you know when we are next coming back. I am sure he would love to romp around with your three too. What’s that app? I think he would love it! Love to you

  5. Patricia says:

    I try and make girly time ~ I do pottery once a week as a little “me time” (that’s also necessary) it is with a lovely group of girls so get a bit of the “girly” thing in then too. I’m sorry I don’t know what the app’s name is ~ it used to be on my tablet but I cleared it for the sake of “space” and “sanity”! Love to you all

  6. Karelys says:

    Lehla I love your blog so much. I am so happy you guest blogged on Penelope’s education blog or I would’ve never come across you.

    I am a mother to a 2 year old boy. My mom jokes he’ll be a tenor. Since he was a baby his cries were loud and deep. As a 2 year old it’s a constant pretending he’s a monster growling and running around the house. My husband lays on the floor and he “paws” away at him and the whole scene looks like a little warewolf is transforming.

    AND IT’S TOO MUCH FOR ME!

    I need calm. I like calm. And quiet. And softness. And talking. Heart to heart conversations. I like cuddling and I despite video games (I accept it’s an archaic point of view).

    He’s good with technology. He’s very secure and good at judging risk and danger (thank goodness because he will go off doing his own thing).

    I just had a daughter. She’s soft. Quiet. She lulls herself to sleep. She smiles and talks back. And everything is intuitive with her.

    My husband is so good being a father to a boy. And I feel like I am handling a little spiked ball.

  7. Hi Karelys,

    Lovely that you love the blog, thank you. Your message made me laugh. A few years back I went in to the library and headed towards the beautifully illustrated books and my sons hand slipped from mine and I heard him say ‘Nah’ and he made a bee line for the teenage comics that had super heroes, fighters and guns, he was 5, I am not a gun fan. He begged me to get one of the books, then I tried to again whoosh him towards the beautiful books and he again said ‘NO’ only more firmly. At that moment I realised that our paths were very different and I had a lot of learning to do. We got the book, he loved it. I sat by myself in the library and leafed through the very beautiful books whilst he leafed through his comic in the teenage section. I guess there is a different way of looking at it, when I bang up against our differences I realise he is a great teacher and there is a lot about his world that I just don’t know…yet.

  8. By the way Karelys, I loved your post on Penelope Trunks blog too, it was really beautiful and moving. The one about parent burn out.

    You are a lovely writer!

  9. Tania Summers says:

    What a Breath Of lovely fresh air in the midst of lots of the highs and lows of schooling my three children including a 7 year old boy. I’ve found such hope and mirrored experiences in you posts( watching Peabody and Sherman with the kids and the song ” beautiful boy ” is part of the soundtrack, so funny )

  10. Tania Summers says:

    Thank you Lhela!

  11. Tania says:

    oh my goodnes I spelt your name Incorrectly. I meant thank you Lehla!

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