On mothering a boy
Last night, we had my mom over to the house for a Hanukkah dinner. Not growing up Jewish, I make sure it’s a well-choreographed occasion, with little margin for error. Brisket bigger than smallest child? Check. Gobs of oil, normally forbidden, because it’s how you honor the holiday, and to hell with calories when you have to honor a holiday. Of course. Cans of Le Sueur peas because that makes any holiday special for Mr. IT? In da house.
But what would Hanukkah be for the kids without presents? Grandma brought a fun one for IT Boy – a Chevron train set.
Cute, huh? He sure thought so. When he opened the box, he started flapping so much I thought he was going to take off. Daddy frantically began trying to take the thing out of the box, while Boy screamed OPEN! OPEN! Grace under pressure, huh. Anyhow, the packaging wasn’t as bad as what’s used by many kids toys, so it didn’t take long until we got the trains out for Boy to examine.
Originally, we asked him to take the trains and the sign to the den, where he has a big honking train table with about 25 trains and 100 tracks. Or something like that. It certainly feels like that many when we’re cleaning up the room, or rather when I am bribing encouraging Soccer Girl to clean up the den after Boy has had his way with it.
Initially this was fine, and he was happy. Then, he demanded that the new tracks be assembled. While the rest of the family was occupied with “The Magic Kingdom Game” (Disneyphiles, yes), I pulled out the tracks and tried to put it together.
I looked on the box and saw it was a big standard oval. I started putting tracks together in a random configuration until I realized that I was getting no where. Whatever I did, the tracks would not come together when I used all of them. Finally, I pulled off a few tracks and I got something going. Eventually, it was time for bed, and we packed up the new train set. Mind you, at no time did the tracks from this set come into contact with any tracks already in his possession.
This morning, he demanded requested another crack at his new train set. I sat down and was determined to get it right. I’m an engineer’s daughter, after all. This is something I should be able to do.
So, I figured that I would take all the straight tracks and the curved ones, separate them and then divide them in half. That would make the correct oval formation Boy wanted.
Except I couldn’t. When I divided the curved tracks there was one left over. Same with the straight tracks. IT WAS NEVER GOING TO WORK!!! You cannot have a continuous circular track when they are not an equal amount of tracks. THE DECK WAS ALWAYS STACKED AGAINST ME.
But I persevered. Boy had another curved track piece from an older layout we could use in this set. The track was then made circular, and all was right with the world.
It made me quite nostalgic for the days of girl play. Where there was active play, yes, but there always had to be a story and lots of talking. “Mommy, you can be the mean queen, and I’ll be the pretty princess. ”
Sidenote – Not to quote The First Wives Club but is that all there is for women out there? You’re the pretty princess, then the evil queen?
It sure is different having a boy. Can’t have too many trains or trucks. Wouldn’t know what to do with a tea party set other than continually throw the plates on the ground because the sound is long. I’m grateful to have one of each, to be able to see, appreciate and cherish their differences. Even if putting their toys together seems to be a descent into madness.
How are YOUR holidays going??