With three young, vivacious boys, I hear it all the time.
I heard it at the doctor’s office on Monday. I’ve heard it at the grocery store, on the rare occasion I take them out with me. I’ve heard it at the park from sympathetic mothers who have one child, maybe even two, but never three. I’ve heard it from the nursery workers who lovingly care for my children.
It is true. My hands are full. Somedays it takes all my patience, self-control, and grace to get through the day. On days that we spend hours outside, my boys can come in with more energy than they went out with. They can jump, run, bounce, wrestle, crawl, and NEVER wear down. I, on the other hand, am exhausted at the end of the day.
My boys are not ornery. They are not rude. They are not trouble-makers or back-talkers. They are not mean-spirited. They ARE rambunctious. They giggle and laugh with infectious joy. They make silly jokes about body parts (what boy doesn’t?) and their food often becomes an airplane, rocket, or train.
I struggle with knowing when to let little boys be little boys, and when to step in and become the enforcer. For example, they love to wrestle on the floor. Inevitably, someone starts crying because an elbow has connected with a nose, a foot has kicked a stomach, or a kneed has crashed into a head. So, now we have no wrestling. Do you know how hard that is to enforce? It is in their nature to roll on the floor with each other!
Or we were invited to join a small group a ways back. We went twice. I loved the group. The kid situation just didn’t work for me. Some junior girls in the group were going to watch the little kiddos (10+) while we participated in the study. But, if my hands are full with my energetic boys, how can I expect timid, tweens to corral my boys plus other kids? Again, my boys are not rotten! (I feel like I am betraying them here. So let me put in a plug for them . . . I hear over and over how personable they are, how loving, how kind, even how well-behaved) It’s just that I know how quickly my boys can get wound up and going strong.
Or what about church? When church is out we grab the boys and head for the door. If I happen to get caught in a conversation, I am continually distracted. “No, don’t touch the coats.” “Stop pulling at your brother.” “Everybody sit along the wall, touching no one or nothing.” “Don’t tear up your paper.” AHHH!
Those of you reading this, smirking as you watch your calm girls play quietly with their toys, know this–in a few years I’ll be smirking back at ya while you deal with all those hormones and fights over skimpy clothes.