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A mother’s surprise at the maturity of first grade boys
“I want to learn how to shoot a gun.” Alex calmly told me as I looked through his backpack to determine how much homework he had and to sort through the miscellaneous forms and fundraising requests.
“What?” I asked. The statement had caught me off guard. I was ill prepared to discuss shooting with my six year old. “You want to do what?”
“And, I want to shoot a bow and arrow. I want you to sign me up for Cub Scouts.”
“Umm . . .I don’t think they teach you how to shoot a gun,” I laughed. “They do!” Alex said enthusiastically and pulled a flyer out of the stack of papers I was reviewing.
I scanned the flyer and sure enough, there were several pictures showing children his age in various states of revelry. The top picture showed a child carefully aiming a BB gun. Another showed a child balancing a bow and arrow. Still another showed a child preparing to race at the Pinewood Derby.
“See?” Alex said. “I want you to sign me up!”
A few days later, we attended the information meeting. As it turned out, many of the boys in Alex’s first grade class were also eager to join Cub Scouts. As I chatted with the other moms, I was amused to find that the other boys had also said they wanted to “shoot a gun” and “shoot a bow and arrow.”
As we waited outdoors for the meeting to begin, the boys ran around, jumped, shouted, climbed, pushed, pulled, tugged, fell down and laughed. Each time a new boy arrived, the kids noisily welcomed him into the fold by yelling “Jack is here!! Yeah!!” or “Look it’s Logan!” They would run over to the new arrival and offer a hug or just group around him.
The more boys that arrived, the more rambunctious the group became. Once one boy was corrected and directed to stop doing something (like jumping from the steps), we other parents felt obligated to say the same thing to our boys. We quickly grew weary of interrupting our “grown up talk” to say “stop climbing,” and “stop running” and “no, you don’t need another drink of water!” and “no, you can’t have any gum!” At some point, we seemed to agree that it was simply too tiring to stop the party boy behavior and just started to ignore it. Quite frankly, we were also outnumbered.
As the meeting began, the boys barged into the room full of energy. High spirited, they eagerly took seats in the front of the room. They moved chairs, bounced around, poked, prodded, laughed and ignored us parents. I cringed at the pure chaos of the situation as I took a seat with the rest of the parents (as far away from the juice box buddies) as we could get away with.
I know we were all thinking the same thing. Were the kids old enough to handle scouts? How could they possibly be trusted with a BB gun and bow and arrow? Just then, the Scout Master entered the room. The boys recognized the uniform and immediately settled down. They sat in their chairs attentively and did not speak. They listened as he spoke with them and told them about Cub Scouts and told them about all they would learn. After a few minutes, he dismissed the boys to go work on a craft while the parents listened to the rest of the presentation. The boys left the room quietly barely looking back at us parents.
We watched in wonder and amazement at how mature the boys had behaved. Maybe, I thought, we didn’t need to worry quite so much. Maybe the juice box buddies would be just fine.
Tiffany is the mother of a curly haired six year old boy who wants to be Batman when he grows up! When she is not engaged in an intense light saber battle, watching Transformers (cartoons and movies), asking her child not to jump from the top step or being told, “you’re playing action figures the wrong way, mom” she contemplates how wonderful it would be if her child were a twin or triplet. Tiffany is the Human Resources Manager for Step2.
Believe it or not, becoming a first time grandma has been a bit of a learning experience. As a new mother back in the day, I would call my mother almost daily with, what do I do about___, is the baby ok if he is ___ or why won’t he stop crying, the list goes on. I don’t know what I would have done without her and the knowledge she acquired after raising three kids herself. And of course, she always had the right answers.
Well things are different now. Parents today are reading more books, (and there are many with different parenting approaches – in my day we only had Dr. Spock), blogging with other parents and reading articles online about what babies should be doing at every stage. Needless to say, to us older more mature parents/grandparents, some of the techniques that these young parents (my son included) are using today make you want to scratch your head and go, what? Oh, and don’t offer your opinions if they are to the contrary – they do not want our opinions or our advice. My son made it very clear that he did not want any advice, as they were getting it from so many directions, including friends that never had children. I told him that I am entitled to my opinions and if he didn’t like them, he didn’t have to follow them.
Since it was made clear to me that my advice was not welcome, I have made a concerted effort to not give any out of respect for my son’s wishes. (Of course I slip every now and then – it’s such a natural instinct for us isn’t it?) What I have learned from this is that rather than telling them what you think they should be doing, I find it is much more effective to show them or make subtle comments. And then low and behold, I will see or hear him doing something that I did or subtly mentioned in passing. Needless to say, because of the distance between us, these cases are far and few between (although Skyping helps). My son has even thanked me at times for the way I would turn my granddaughter’s tears to laughter during a Skype session.
I believe our children want our advice, it’s just in how we present it.
Sharon became a first time grandma in February of 2011 and had the pleasure of celebrating her granddaughter’s first birthday in San Francisco where she lives with her oldest son and his wife. Sharon welcomes the opportunity to spoil her granddaughter after having raised two boys. Sharon is an avid lover of the arts and has dabbled with oil painting and enjoys interior decorating as a hobby. She is the Customer Service Manager for Step2.
I thought I would put together a top ten list of things I have especially enjoyed about this summer and maybe you have too! Some of these are usual reasons for enjoying summertime, while other reasons are more personal to me, especially this summer.
10) Wonderful, hot, glorious drought, boating weather.
8) Loosing a first tooth – Ryan lost his first tooth this summer, specifically August 2. He just tugged it out when he was brushing his teeth. He didn’t care about his tooth fairy money. He wanted to keep the tooth.
7) Blond curls – enough said.
6) Toddler pronunciations like – “sandbok,” “uside,” “shooooting star,” “baving suit,” “waydee bug,” “pop-i-cle.” These are the ones I don’t need to translate. There are many more but I’d have to do some serious translating.
5) Tiny feet in flip flops, crocks and bare feet.
3) Hunting for ladybugs, grasshoppers, caterpillars, spiders, salamanders and frogs. We haven’t found any frogs yet this summer but are doing really good on everything else.
1) Watching “firsts” happen, first events that can only take place during the summer. Such occurrences as: catching a fish, going tubing, jet skiing, riding a roller coaster, camping, and riding on a Ferris Wheel.
These are the highlights of my summer, what were your summertime favorites?
Sara is an on the go – down to earth Momma, married to a Marine and the mother of two get dirty wild and crazy, play in the mud boys. She loves Michael Jackson, dancing and spending time with her family. She is honored to be able to teach her little guys about the world around them, about kindness love and the human spirit. For fun, she loves to make jewelry, shop, ski and spend time outdoors getting dirty with her boys. Sara is a Sr. Product Manager at Step2.