My Baby Boy Has Swagger

I have a baby boy.

Sometimes this fact, one that’s been true for exactly seven and a half years today, still blows me away.  There are times when I still can’t really wrap my brain around it.

After having two girls, the boy was a paradigm shift.

I’m all about gender equality and boys and girls playing with things that are non-traditional for their gender.  What fascinates me though is that my little guy definitely does gravitate toward more aggressive toys.  Being brought up by the same two people in a house filled with Polly Pockets and Lalaloopsies and dolls galore, he’d rather play with his Rescue Heroes or lightsabers or Mighty World figures.  When he and his sister first started playing together instead of co-playing, they often played Mighty World and Lalaloopsy World.  His people waltzed in and rescued and wreaked havoc and built and destroyed, while our Princess had the Lalaloopsies going to school, dancing, and playing with their pets.

This was with no model; it was just how they played.

Yesterday morning, in one of those “wow, this really happened” moments, I caught Cooter as he was running through my room on his way to build Legos or save a planet or something.  It was early in the morning, so the transgressions from the day before had been forgotten.  Okay, well forgiven anyway.  I knelt down,  pulled him close, and gave him a big hug.

“Do you know how tickled I was to have a baby boy?” I asked him.  “I was so happy when you were born.”

“No you weren’t.  You didn’t want a boy,” he said, with a mischievous look in his eyes.

“Yes, I did.  When I knew you were a boy, my heart was filled with joy.”  I smiled at the look on his face.

Then the real mischief kicked in.

“Ohhhhhh,” he said.  “So you were happier than when you had the girls?”

Oh me.  I see what you did there, bud.  I asked for this, didn’t I?

“No, I was happy they were girls and I was happy you’re a boy.  There will never be a moment in your life that I won’t be happy you are who you are.”

He smiled, ducked my hug, and dashed off.

Sigh.  He’s growing up on me.

Yesterday afternoon after we moved Aub, my college sophomore, and her stuff into her room for the coming year, we all went to the Mart to pick up the last-minute things she needs.  And the fixings for our supper.  My game plan was to divide and conquer.  I sent Aub in one direction and the littles and I headed in another.  When we were just about done, Cooter announced he needed new shampoo.  Really?

“I’m serious.  I’m out.”

I looked at Aub and calculated what I had left to get.

“Can you please take him to get his shampoo?  He knows what it looks like and I’ll take Princess with me to finish up the list on the other side of the store and we’ll be out of here.”

She looked down at Cooter, took his hand, and said, “Okay, but I don’t know why he can’t use her shampoo.”  Both Cooter and our Princess groaned–apparently this would not be okay.

We all headed out to finish our list.  When we met back up with them at the checkout, Cooter was grinning from ear to ear.

“I got some new shampoo.  It smells really good.” He was BEAMING.

Aub shrugged.  “He didn’t like the kids’ ones, so he asked me where the boys’ stuff was.  We headed over and found this.”

My boy's new shampoo.  Old Spice SWAGGER.  Oh good gravy.

My boy’s new shampoo. Old Spice SWAGGER.  It’s Old Spice.  For the Hair.  Oh good gravy.

Yeah you did.

Because it’s a scent she’s quite fond of herself.  Ahem.

Y’all.  For the past two nights this boy has come out of the shower with exactly what it says on the bottle–swagger.  He has me sniff his hair and then emphasizes that it is HIS shampoo.  No one else is to use it.

I’ll have to admit.  It’s a nice change from Fruity Watermelon Peach Apricot Utopia.

But I am not sure I like where this is heading.  Big guy shampoo today, what’s he going to want tomorrow?  The full-size meal at the drive thru?  Shaving cream for a whisker or two?  Jeans without *gasp* an elastic waist?

Say it ain’t so.

Tonight after he headed to bed, I stepped on a Lego and found two Matchbox cars–one on my kitchen counter and one in my tote.  The lightsaber in the middle of the floor doesn’t bother me quite as much.  I’m thinking for now I might be safe.

But just in case, I’m hugging that cute little missing both front teeth boy extra hard tomorrow.  And I’m going to hold his hand as we walk along for as long as he will let me.  I will tell him every chance I get how happy I am that he is my baby boy.  Because it seems like just yesterday that baby made me the Mama of a son.  And now–

now he has swagger.

Oh me.  For the love.

Young’uns, if you’ve got ’em, hug ’em while you can.  This whole time flying by thing is crazy.

Love to all.

Talking…..I Think It Might Be Genetic

During Cooter’s gym class I am sometimes sitting in the waiting area by myself.  It is quiet, and I sit and enjoy it.  The only sounds are the voices of the boys and their teacher in the next room.  And the occasional car that passes by.

I was sitting lost in my own thoughts when I heard the teacher call my son’s name and say, “Please stop talking to A.  Let’s listen.”


I had talked to Cooter about this.  Just before class.  Over and over.

You are there to learn gymnastics.  You are there to listen.  I am glad you like your buddies, but you shouldn’t be talking.  You have to pay attention.

I know they are talking because he comes home telling me the tales of what his friends have been up to.  This is the first year he’s been in an all boys’ class, so he is THRILLED to be “hanging out with the guys.”  He likes them all, but the boy who is the oldest has Cooter starstruck.  And that would be A, whom he was busted for talking too.  Not for the first time, I am sure.

I called him on it after class.  He stopped, wrinkled up his face, cocked his head, rubbed his cheek, and then proceeded to tell me the story about the time when there were bats in A’s attic.  How a guy said he could take care of them, and he sprayed their attic with water.  And the bats didn’t go away.  The guy told them “he wanted forty-twelve–twenty-nine, four hundred and fifty-seven dollars.  And they said, ‘We’re not paying you, all you did was wet our attic.'”

*sigh*  AGAIN.

That was not a “hey that’s a cool shirt” quick kind of conversation.  No wonder their sweet teacher looks tired some days.  It makes me tired listening to the retelling of the conversation.

It reminded me of a story from when I was in the first grade.  Just like Cooter.

My teacher was wonderful.  I loved school.  Mama had taught me to read the year before, and it was my first year in school.  I was making all A’s.  I was lucky.  School was a game I had figured out how to play, and I was good at it.

Then the second six weeks (that’s how our “periods” used to be divided up) I think it was, I brought home my report card.  I had all A’s and the things that teachers checked off  were all good, except for one.  “Talks too much” was checked.

Mama and Daddy sat down with me after he got home from work.

“Tara, are you talking to your friends in class?  Does Mrs. P ever ask you to be quiet?”

I thought for a minute.  “Yes ma’am, she does.  And every time she does, I be quiet.”


That’s the stuff family lore is made of.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard them tell this story.

And now, I think it might be genetic.

My boy can talk.  As a matter of fact, I don’t remember the girls being so verbose at this age.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he talks to me.  I’m thrilled.

But it is funny to remember how he when he was almost two and wasn’t talking much, I was worried.

Dear Past Self,  STOP IT.  No worries.  At all.

He is making up for lost time now.  And how.

Anyone else have a little talker in their house?  Do they come by it naturally?

Tonight I am thankful for my little guy who changed my world from the moment he entered into it.  I am thankful he has found his voice and wants to share things with me, like Star Wars and Harry Potter and Legos and Indiana Jones and his thoughts on George Washington’s battle strategies.  I also give thanks that when I reach my hand down as we are walking and talking together, he still reaches out and takes mine.  Most of all, I’m thankful for that face, the one he makes when he’s full of the mischief and he knows I know.

Tonight after a full day of talking, talking, and more talking, he came up to where I was sitting and started motioning with his hands and pointing at his mouth.  I knew what he wasn’t saying.  He wanted dee-zert, as he calls it.  I told him I found it very funny that after a day of non-stop conversation, all  of a sudden he wasn’t speaking.

That boy cracks me up.

And I love him so.