Bravahilarium – The Art of Being a Boy

Parenting isn’t easy. It never has been, and it never will be. That’s not to say there aren’t wonderful moments raising children, but it is certainly a challenge every day.

I’m in the middle of raising three incredible boys. They are incredibly busy, incredibly boisterous. They are incredible jumpers, fighters, huggers. They are fast, noisy, silly, infuriating and absolutely adorable.

When this Mary Poppins prompt came up, I decided I wanted to create a word for my boys. A word that speaks to who they are. I thought about all the noises they make, silly and crude and above all, loud. I wanted to include some of that in my word. As I listened in to their noise, my eldest broke out into a chorus of “butt-butty-butt-butt,” or something very like that. Potty talk and body noises are absolutely hilarious, of course. Unfortunately, most of their noise doesn’t convert well to anything resembling an actual word.

More than just a reflection of who they are, I wanted my word to express what I want my boys to be. Something that speaks of their enthusiasm for life, their wild abandon at play and their sweet, tender hearts underneath all the noise and dirt. I wanted to create a word that conveys all the things I want my boys to be: brave, strong, kind, sensitive, caring, funny, courageous.

This word should express the art of boyhood. It should be a roar of triumph, and a quiet whisper of tenderness. And between all of that, it should be filled with silliness.

My attempt then, to sum up boyhood in to a single nonsense word came down to this, a word with all the bravado and posturing they do with each other, that contains all their smiles and giggles, and that ends with the soft sigh of a hug.

n. brə väˈhə lerˈēəm
the art of being a boy

An Ordinary Day

I am grateful to have an ordinary day.

As a not so ordinary week comes to an end, I found myself looking forward to a bit of normalcy today. The kind of normalcy where I tell my children more than once to get themselves dressed. The normal morning where I nearly forget essentials like earrings or coffee. Or the normal work day morning routine where the boys squabble over who gets the first hug as I’m on my way out the door. Normal. Ordinary.

This week has been one of those roller coaster type rides I think most parents anticipate, but are never quite prepared for.

It started with registering my youngest son for kindergarten. Come September, all three of my children will now be enrolled all day in formal education. I’m sure most parents can relate to the storm of emotions this event can trigger. The bittersweet milestones as we watch our children grow up.

Now there are no more babies. No more cuddly, little boys who need their mama. No more being the center of the universe. Now their peers will become the most important influence in their lives. Have I given them all they need to move successfully into this next phase of their lives?

As if this emotional trauma wasn’t enough, I no sooner returned to work after completing this task when I got the call no parent wants to get from the school. “We have your son here in the office. There’s been a fall on the playground. Can you come right away?” Of course, I dropped everything—including my uneaten lunch—and went straight to the school.

I arrived to find emergency vehicles outside in the parking lot. The principal met me at the front door. Inside, was my middle son, his arm very obviously broken, scared and in pain, but holding it together pretty well, all things considered. We spent the next several hours in the ER waiting for x-rays, waiting for doctors, waiting for results of x-rays, and so on.

My son hadn’t had his lunch either, having fallen during recess which comes right before they eat. So, between the pain and discomfort of his injured arm, the pain of hunger and being denied food because he had to be sedated for treatment, and the pain of sheer boredom, it was a lengthy ordeal for both of us. One I hope I never have to repeat.

I’m a mother of three active little boys, and there’s always been a sense of inevitability about this sort of thing. I wondered when the first incident would come. Which of my three boys it would be.

The inevitable has happened. After three days of adjusting to life with one useable arm, of having to help my son dress himself or use the bathroom and of doing my best not to allow my other two children to feel neglected in the wake of their brother’s obvious need, I am exhausted. Both physically and emotionally.

Today, I am grateful for a normal, ordinary day. A day filled with ordinary things. Normal things such as reminding my children more than once to get dressed, forgetting essentials like earrings and the daily squabble over who gets the first hug as I’m on the way out the door for work.

Party Time!

One thing I love doing for my kids’ birthdays since the very beginning is to create a fun party centered around a theme. I probably go a little overboard with the cake, decorations, snacks and hand made invitations. I’ve done bug-themed parties and lion-themed parties. Dump trucks, monster trucks and fire trucks. There was Batman, the Avengers and the Flash. Most recently it was a Pokémon/Minecraft party.

When my boys were really little, I had freedom to choose the themes for their birthday parties. Now that they’re getting older and have distinct interests of their own, I let them choose the part theme. Then, I go searching online for ideas. I prefer to keep things simple, but I also want them to be fun.

The next birthday comes up in early March. The theme this time is pirates. Or, more important – treasure! My middle son is obsessed with tiny things—figures, cars, coins—that fit inside his fist. Sparkly things are especially attractive to him. A treasure hunt birthday party wasn’t a hard sell.

First I went looking for the perfect cake. There are some seriously talented bakers and decorators out there. I’m no professional cake decorator, but I love making cakes for my boys. I found treasure map cakes

and treasure chest cakes

and even this amazing pirate ship cake

Again, I’m no professional, but my children think I can work miracles. My version will not look nearly so cool as one of those. But I’ll have fun with it.

Before I can make the cake, and before I go all crazy with pirate-themed food and games, I’ve got to make the invitations. It will be a pirate’s treasure chest, complete with gold coins and sparkly gems. They might look a little bit like these invitations, but not nearly as adorable.

I’ve got some work to do. Sometimes I get a little carried away with the birthday parties. But it’s about having fun. And making memories for my children.

I Am Mom

In response to The Daily Post’s daily prompt, Sanctuary:

Arms and legs dangle over my chair. He’s too big really, but it doesn’t matter.
Tired bodies, scraped knees, angry tears from fighting with brothers.
Wherever I am, they will find me, climb into my lap.
A hug, a kiss, a snuggle, and all is well.
I am mom. I am a sanctuary.