How Do You Tuck In A Superhero?
And Other Delightful Mysteries of Raising Boys
by Rachel Balducci
If you have a son, even just one, you will LOVE this book! I found myself laughing out loud, tearing up, and realizing how not alone I am in this boy world up and down adventure. Sometimes raising a boy is challenging, they are coming and going so fast it seems sometimes I cannot keep up with my son! Other days boys are the sweetest little creatures I've ever known. They have a unique sense about them, which all kids do, but there is something extra special with little boys who steal their Mama's hearts.
You will LOVE this book! It's written by a true boy guru - mother of 5 boys, Rachel Balducci is a wonderful, hilarious, straight-forward writer. I could not put this book down.
Balducci is so real about her experience with her boys. It's not always a pretty sight, she isn't about perfection in the slightest, which I find so humorous and refreshing to read in a parenting book, I have to say!
"There are those days when life feels like enough of a whirlwind without fixating on this one day with this one meal (and its abject lack of nutritional value). Some days I simply cannot stop long enough to nitpick about having enough purple or green or orange on the plate because I'm busy stopping the wrestling match in the front room or protecting my china cabinet from an errant soccer ball." (page 20)
Balducci covers all of the typical things about boys - how they are wrestling maniacs, how they run super fast, how they are into everything, never stopping. If you've been around the average boy, you know and can relate well to these things. This made me smile so many times reading this book, feeling like, "Wow, someone else GETS it!" I've hung around many friends with those *typical* (note: not all girls are sitting quietly, I have one of those busy girls myself in fact!) girls who are sitting quietly reading a book, doing as they are told, never questioning, and did I mention SITTING?! that it's hard sometimes to realize you are the one with the Active Boy in the bunch.
This book makes you feel like you are NOT the minority, that the Boyness is SO normal and FUN even!
"After all these years with boys, I am still amazed at how boyish they really are. All the stereotypes you hear about boys are true - they love trucks and weapons and running with knives. They want to hang off the side of a moving vehicle, and build things and take things apart. They love danger and all of her accessories." (page 59)
Boys avoid taking showers, love making sticks into weapons, regardless if like this mom (and myself) you are anti-playing with guns in the house, they find weapons out of their food sometimes! She talks of how they have poor hygiene, don't clean up after themselves, but can be so sweet sometimes, when not "tooting." She loves how they say what they feel, when they feel it, and mean what they say.
"I hate to admit it, but so much of what drives me crazy with boys is what I love most about them as well." (page 79)
They are very creative, which Balducci considers a "wonderful, beautiful gift." They can come up with all kinds of ideas for play and working through problems.
"I continue to be amazed, for instance, when I see the wide and varied lists of things that a simple stick can become. I see a stick. My boys see a lance, and then a spear, a javelin, or possibly a high jump pole. Later on it's a fishing pole and the world's skinniest rocket. And that's just the first ten minutes." (page 83)
She said however teenage years can be difficult, and partly because of how our boys brains are wired. "During that (puberty) season, the two sides of his brain are literally not touching, which means that the side of the brain that thinks up actions will have very little communication with the side that deals with consequences." (page 83)
She said it's incredibly difficult sometimes to be a woman raising boys, and to know how high the expectations should be. "What a challenge to be a woman, with a woman's feelings and ideals, working to raise tomorrow's men - men who will be manly and strong and also respectful." (page 101)
"What an incredible duty I have as a mother of boys - the sweet, impish creatures in my care today are the men of tomorrow. The weight of the world is indeed on my shoulders." (page 108)
Balducci talks about how she gets the infamous questions all the time with her troupe of boys, "How do you do it? Did you want all boys?" She admits, sure she's exhausted, but so are moms of girls and so are moms of one boy.
"We women with boys (and it's a heck of a lot of us, really), we need to encourage each other. Yes, it's tough. Yes, boys can be wild. But it's worth it. You're doing great. You're going to make it. You're raising tomorrow's men. Make warriors, not wimps." (page 109)
Balducci even talks about taking her sons on vacations- armed with Calvin and Hobbes books, she said they are great!
"It is easy sometimes to fixate on what a vacation with boys is not - it isn't quiet or calm or terribly relaxing. But is fun - it's my life, and it's quite an adventure." (page 140)
When she is asked how she does it with all of these boys, she replies that she has great friends, with whom she can be herself, comfortable and open with. She said all moms need friends like this, but especially those with boys.
She writes on page 189 about how it'd be nice to sit outside and read with quiet children, having everyone in order and peaceful, but instead her life is full of more adventure with busy boys. "Instead I am outside chasing a toddler who is hardwired to climb on everything in his sights, who is immediately gunning for another tall object the moment he is removed from the current one."
She said it's a balance between letting boys be boys, having adventures, figuring things out, jumping, etc. and keeping them safe.
"I spend my days trying to find a balance in protecting my boys from the dangers of the world while letting them discover the beauty of it. I want to let them run and jump and climb and build, without crashing and burning in the process," Balducci wrote on page 190.
"The scary part of being a female raising males, or maybe just being a parent in general, is that I have to guide and mold the nature of these boys without working against it. It is not in my nature to run screaming through the backyard while carrying a large stick. But it is in the nature of my boys, and I don't want to squelch who they are simply because I don't always understand it."
My favorite part about this book, in addition to how she talks of we moms being responsible for raising the future men of tomorrow, is how SWEET she refers to her boys being. She talked on page 198 about how boys show their nurturing and caring side differently than girls sometimes, by commenting on her cooking or a skill mom has.
"Battles are won and lost in the million details of the day, and when I feel love in these tiny ways, I am reminded over and over that boys are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made," Balducci wrote on page 199.
"They might swing from the rafters and dream of jumping off the roof, but they are also incredibly thoughtful and loving and have a tender side that will occasionally reveal itself. You just have to be looking, to be paying attention to the small things so you are sure not to miss it."
Boys are so very sweet.
I LOVED this book.
It's one of those that I'll keep and take out someday in the near future when my son is driving me nuts or I can't possibly keep up with another mess he's made, so that I remember to appreciate how vastly different he is from his sister, and how truly special that is.