I have two boys. I am a girl. Save for the occasional time they to pretend they're carrying a purse, my two boys are ALL boy, ALL the time. As a girly girl, and the only girl in my house, I find a lot of their behaviors unrelatable.
Summer is coming in hot (no pun intended), and we've had a stretch of really nice (and hot) days here in Chicago. If you're from here, you know that the weather in mid-May is always like the real life equivalent of the emoji of the person throwing their hands up: who knows what could happen. Anything, really. Heat, sun, storms, freezing rain, snow...it's anyone's game.
Anyway, since the boys have an abundant amount of energy lately (like cannot be contained amounts of energy that if not let out will end up coming out in very unproductive ways), we've spent all day (and some evenings) outside. Actually, I'm sitting outside as I write this post. And I recently had an epiphany: let them be boys.
Ok like within reason here, folks. I'm not on board with them launching themselves from my couch to their beanbags. I'm also not a fan of them outwardly expressing the various bodily functions that are normally associated with boys. Outside, I'm going to let them be boys.
Let them be boys who only take two licks from the homemade dinosaur popsicles and then watch them melt...
Will they get dirty? For sure. Will they end up soaking wet? Highly likely. Will they create a mess that I have to clean up? Most definitely. But, will they have the time of their lives and let their imaginations run wild? You can count on it.
I came to this conclusion the other day.
The boys were "painting" with sidewalk chalk paint. Now, we started with distinct and vibrant (read: unmixed) hues of red, green, blue, and yellow. We ended with variations of brown and gray. I started to feel myself get a little annoyed...like, guys don't you want to paint with red instead of a shade of gray resembling the sky right before a bad storm (aka my worst nightmare)?
You see those vibrant colors in there? And also the new summer fan fave: the spinning snack tray.
After a whopping 10 minutes, they realized they could rinse their brushes off by using the spout on this old school Igloo drink cooler Ryan convinced me to buy the week before (after seeing me refill their cups about 74 times from the hose). Cue the next activity: filling up red solo cups.
I'm not yanking your chain when I tell you that Jack and Nick filled up those cups for the better part of an hour. About a minute into this, they started to fill up the cups just to dump them out. Yet again, I started to question it...guys, what's the point of filling up the cup to literally turn around and dump it? And um, should I mention the obvious here, we're totally wasting water.
Then! They insisted on taking off their shoes. Whhhhyyy?! Guys, the ground is hot, it's rough, the grass makes you itchy. Why why why.
This was actually taken a different day, but still no shoes. I don't think they've worn shoes in the yard for the past 2 weeks.
And then I realized, who cares? Why do I actually care? As long as they're happy, isn't that what matters? I watched them play together, talk and laugh with each other, and saw their imaginations fly off the charts before my eyes all afternoon.
The best part? There wasn't one meltdown! Not a single one. They even decided together to use their new, not-yet-named color to paint their playhouse.
Look at those shades of brown and gray.
By the time we went in for naps, they stood at the door with soaked, paint-covered clothes and filthy feet. Gross. And very unlike...well, me. But, they couldn't stop talking about everything they did that afternoon for like three days straight.
So I decided, I'm going to let them be boys this summer. I'll embrace all that comes with it--bugs, dirt, water (everywhere), and endless amounts of energy. I'll be more "love and light" (shoutout to the true RHONJ fans who appreciate that reference) and less structured...outside, at least.
Wish me luck. I also decided that I'll embrace the afternoon cocktail this summer too.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.