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Kids Are Baby Goats & Other Boy Musings

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Yesterday morning I watched Squiggle, my 2 1/2 year old, relieve the patio of a significant portion of the ever-present pecan tree blossoms one handful at a time. “Blossoms” implies soft petals, lingering fragrance, and lovely hues. So, realistically, pecan tree “blossoms” might be a stretch.  Think an overwhelming volume of wispy things that dry up, die, and quickly resemble dirt.  Now you know why they so enamored Squiggle.  He spent the better part of our backyard visit methodically collecting them in various pots, buckets and dumptrucks. After apparently gathering a satisfactory amount, he alternated between creating very interesting pecan blossom sculptures atop the smaller garden pots and cooking up some pecan blossom soup. When it was time to go inside, amid the swoon of rare just-Squiggle-and-Mommy time and the joy of watching toddler imagination at work, one thought took root: WHAT is this fascination with dirt and dirt-like substances that permeates the hearts and minds of my kids? And while I have no reason to believe Baby Girl won’t soon follow closely in big brothers’ footsteps, at the moment when it comes to dirt and its fascination, “kids” mean BOYS–two of them.  Make that two little ones and one grown-up one to serve as instigator.

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My MeMa would be scolding me right now.  She doesn’t like to hear children referred to as “kids.”  I suppose it goes a little too far toward slang for her no-nonsense tastes.  “Kids are baby goats,” she would say under her breath while shaking her head.  I don’t know how the term came to refer to baby people, but I’m convinced it began with a mother of boys.

We don’t have many goats here in Starkville (at least I don’t think we do,) but, ironically, my husband lived next door to one for a few years–rather he lived next door to an older man who owned a goat.  It was just after we started dating, and I have vague recollections of the goat standing on top of a huge pile of debris across the fence looking down at Hub’s white german shepherd/blond lab mix.  Yes, it’s a surreal picture–the goat holding court right there on Highway 25 between Skate Odyssey and the Wash Depot.  Hub tells me that the goat was quite rambunctious, bleating to the wind at all hours, putting anything lying around on the ground in its mouth, and hopping or climbing on everything it could find.  Hmmm.  It doesn’t sound that much different than our household.  Come to think of it, the goat scene probably wasn’t that much different than the Hub/college roommates scene next door.  Apparently, neither goats nor boys grow out of their baby goat ways.

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Now–just like yesterday morning–on a weekly, sometimes daily (and yes hourly) basis, I find myself pondering the unusual phenomenon of boys.  And their love affairs with noise and movement and hopping.  And sticks and stones.  And other goat-like behavior.  And lions.  Frankly, it bewilders the adult mommy mind.  And, I am left to interchangeably wring my hands, scratch my head or be struck silent in confusion — not an easy task for a wordy girl such as myself.  Consider…

Bad guys. And all the really cool stuff they get to do and say. Captain Hook’s sword is always so much cooler than Peter Pan’s.  And, he gets to say Aaargh.  My mother still gets a chuckle out of Little Drummer Boy’s reaction to David and Goliath.  We were delighted to teach him the story of God’s little warrior felling the big, bad giant.  Only, LDB always wanted to BE Goliath.  After all, he gets to fall down and die.  Not to rewrite divine inspiration or anything, but the dude with the spear wins out over a few stones. This time.  Which brings me to…

Stickes and stones. And the affinity for all things related to rocks in the traditional sense.  You see, the modern rock vernacular–as in “Look, Daddy brought us milk.  Daddy rocks!”–is lost on boys at this stage of the game.  Little Drummer Boy’s response: “Rocks. I want to see the rocks.”  You see, in kid-land, don’t even bring it, unless you bring it with rocks.  And, boy can my boys bring it.  I recently counted 37 [that was 37, and yes, I counted] rocks left in the washing machine after a load of Squiggle and LDB’s clothes.  Not long after the discovery of pockets, Squiggle asked for my help one morning to get a hand in his.  It turns out the problem was a lovely, smooth and VERY clean stick that had been stored there last week and had subsequently weathered the spin cycle.  When putting jackets away, I’m regularly confronted with pockets full of sticks and stones and dirt.  A reminder of…

Secret hideaways. And the stuff stored there.  It’s not just pockets and rocks.  Squiggle doesn’t sleep in socks anymore because we went through a period when they kept disappearing.  On a rare pull-out-the-bed-on-a-dust-hunt moment, behind Squig’s bed I discovered two pacifiers poppies and twenty pairs of slightly dingy socks. [that was 20, and yes, I counted]. We lost Eyeore for a while–quite a gloomy mystery. I looked in every bag, on every shelf, in every corner, under every bed.  When my mother noticed a slight dip in the circus tent canopy over Squiggle’s bed, I realized that “under the bed” is for Mommy amateurs.  If you want to snuff out the secret hideaway, you have to set your sights higher.  Sure enough, there was Eyeore.  I’m sure his resting place was the inevitable product of some giggle-fueled, toy-slinging battle waged early or late when the lights were out. Ushering in…

Lions. And their roars.  Dueling roars, to be exact.  Little Drummer Boy and Squiggle practice theirs early on Saturday mornings, perfecting the art of just the right volume and ferocity.  It’s a familiar alarm clock which sometimes signals our approach into kid-land at the supper table, in the car, during bathtime, etc.  Last month, LDB’s preschool class put on an “art show” complete with museum signage, visitor guest logs and artist profiles.  I was shocked to read his profile under the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  I think it’s the first time he’s ever been asked that question, and naturally, the answer was “a hunter.”  WHAT? No offense to my tree-pattern clad Southernites out there, but I don’t know if I want my boys to get into the hunting thing.  And, I have the guns-are-yucky speech to prove it.  So, I quizzed LDB with a “what do you want to hunt?”  The answer: Lions. At the zoo. That’s my boy kid!

I can hear you.  You parents of mostly girls laugh in disbelief and mommy mockery, but just you wait.  You see, I’m a girl, married to a man who was once a boy, but has never quite shed the skin of his goat-like qualities. Shower and shave aside, which is actually important so he really invest on it using the best products and a good shaver which he actually got at http://www.manlymatters.net/wahl-professional-magic-clip/ .But still he remains a connoisseur of hopping, only with a louder thud.  He continues his ways of coveting sticks and stones, only in larger quantities to fit in larger hands to share with smaller goats in training.  And, he has quite eloquently expanded his repertoire of lion roars to include all manner of sound effects from bats hitting balls out of the imaginary park, to tiny trucks and trailers catapulting off furniture with metal-crunching crashes, to unsuspecting plastic boats transforming themselves into submarines with a deafening bloosh.  It baffles me.  But, just you wait.  Before you know it, your little girl will bring home one of these grown-up baby goats like mine to muddy up your sugar and spice world.  No mommy is insulated from the universal truth that “kids boys are baby goats.”

A Mommy’s fate is to give in.  And to quickly learn to wield her trusty SuperGlue.

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