7 Indisputable Facts for Moms of 7 Year-old Boys

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My little guy won’t be 7 much longer but here’s what I have learned in the past year about 7 year old boys.

1) They don’t have an off switch. It’s constant full speed ahead until, of course, they spontaneously combust. For both the hyperactivity and the ensuing meltdowns, I suggest you invest in a good pair of ear plugs and an eye mask. There’s not point in fighting it and these tools will make you better at ignoring it.

2) They have no fear. They will jump off of, charge into, ski down…, just about anything without consideration of the bones, ligaments, or internal organs at risk. The good news is, 7 year old boys are pretty resilient and most wounds at this age will heal without consequence. So enforce basic common sense and personal safety (e.g., helmets, no diving in shallow water, look both ways before charging forward) but let them wear their wounds like badges of honor.

3) They are always hot. They will wear shorts to school until December. In the middle of winter they will be shirt less when everyone else is clad in fleece. It will be -11 out (yes, that’s a minus sign and I don’t live in Antarctica) and they will refuse to wear a jacket. Be grateful for heated throws, Northface, and UGGs and just agree to disagree on the actual ambient temperature.

4) They love all sports. Even if you never encourage athleticism they will beg until they are blue in the face to do gymnastics, and football, and lacrosse, and skiing, and baseball, and karate, and soccer, and golf…. (You will wonder how they even learned about lacrosse.) Before you know it you will have committed all of your weekends for the next decade to your kid’s athletic pursuits so find a good family calendar.

5) They know more about technology than you do. You may think you are savvy at limiting screen time but when your iPhone is on the futz they can fix it. If you want to rally for family movie night, you will have to rely on them to change the input on your AV system to Netflix. Oh well, you suck at IT but you may have future engineer on your hand.

]6) They have fleeting interests (other than sports). Your dog will get a bowel obstruction from all the elastics that no longer are needed in that damn loom. You will realize the deep, searing pain of stepping on legos because all of those elaborate sets never make it back into their original boxes. You wonder is it Pokemon they are obsessed with or Minecraft… and one day you will find him doing Sudoku?! Well at least none of the above involve screen time.

7) They don’t really want to snuggle anymore. They have too much kinetic energy to want to curl up with their mammas. They’d rather be doing something dangerous. They’re too hot to be tucked into your heated throw with you. You won’t be able to overcome the House Hunters vs. SportsCenter divide necessary for the TV watching snuggle. They are mad at you because in your technology errant ways you unintentionally offed one of their favorite tech toys. They are more interested in being big boys than little boys. You miss the old days.

And your heart breaks just a little as that 8th birthday approaches. Sniff.

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My Kid Finally Sucks at Something, Yah!

I think we have gone a little too far with coddling our children in modern parenting, educating, and coaching. So when my 7 year old participated in his first gymnastics meet today and did not win a ribbon in 5 out of 7 categories, I was thrilled. I wanted to cheer “Yah! My kid finally sucks at something.”

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I thought it very appropriate that he did not walk away feeling like he was super awesome at this thing that he is quite frankly just average at.

In every other activity he has participated in in his short life so far, he has been awarded for no particular reason.  Not because he’s most improved, or because he showed great spirit, or because he was badass on the field scoring more points than anyone else. Nope, even if he missed like 8 out of 10 games he would earn a medal or a trophy. I mean we paid the league fees so every kid’s a winner, right?

It’s no better in the schools these days. Classes aren’t leveled based on cognitive abilities or intellectual skills. If they are, they are couched in cutesy little labels or colors which lack any connotation of the spectrum between under performance and superiority. I get my kid’s report card and I honestly can’t interpret it. Gone are the As, Bs, and Cs that would clearly indicate where you child lies on either side of average. How do they know to strive for improvement if they are never told they have some weaknesses?

Let’s face it. No one is perfect. But, up until today my kid has been led to believe in every organized activity or educational experience he has participated in that he is. Here’s your award, couldn’t be any better.

Argh! This is infuriating.

While I don’t want to demoralize an entire generation, we need some sort of balance. We should create encouraging environments at home, in the classroom, and on the playing field where we teach our children the value of self-reflection, where we let them embrace their unique strengths, assess their specific weaknesses, and accept that sometimes they are just average no matter how hard they try. When did average become a perjorative term in our society?

I for one don’t want my kid to grow up to be the 30 year old surgery resident who recently told her attending that she [the attending] was the first person to ever tell her [the resident] that she wasn’t good at something.

And that’s the key. If we teach our children the value of hard work, feeling pride in their diligence–even if they don’t get a gold star–should be reward enough. They will be great at continually striving even if they’re not always winning, even if modern day report cards no longer offer an ‘A for effort.’

So my kid was bummed he wasn’t called to the podium for each event. Sure his sad little face broke my heart just a little bit. But quite honestly, as a mom who wants to raise a well-balanced kid with his ego in check I was delighted that he seems to have chosen a sport where they do level players. Much more important that sticking that landing is the lesson learned that he’s not perfect. He won’t always win. He might even suck some times. And someday soon he will decide if it’s no longer fun to keep trying to be better than average at gymnastics.

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