Posts Tagged ‘ pacifier ’

Boys Should Be Boys: Raising a Bambino

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Six months.

Do you raise a boy baby differently because he is a boy instead of a girl?  Should you treat him any differently because of his gender?  The obvious, implied, correct answer is “yes.”

As if this wasn’t already established, I’ll just go ahead and put this out there: I can be a bit funny about stuff sometimes. And I don’t mean “ha ha” funny.  I mean “peculiar.”  I’m just set in my quirky ways, leaving others to deal with the flashes of absurdity.

bambino

That being said, I’m realizing already how particular I am with how I raise Jack.  I know he’s only 6 months old and it’s basically irrelevant now to even think about these things, but it’s important to me that he is seen as a boy, not simply a baby. For example, Jack doesn’t use a “passy”; he uses a pacifier. “Passy” sounds way to much like “prissy.”

And when he gets a little older, he won’t be drinking from a “sippy cup,” which to me sounds like “sissy cup.”  Instead, he will be drinking from what I cleverly named his “bambino cup.”  (“Bambino” is Italian for “little boy.”)

I don’t like words that sound like they should be referring to what a cute little girl would say.   Yes, Jack is a baby, and he’s not yet a little boy- but he is a boy baby. It matters to me that he is treated appropriately masculine even in his first several months of life.

That being said, I should go ahead and point out some irony.  With a new cousin on the way (my sister is pregnant with a little girl, due July 2nd), when we take Jack to my sister and her husband’s house, he gets to try out some of his cousin’s toys before she gets here.  I have no problem whatsoever with Jack playing on an all pink play pad with a pink bird that plays a sort of girly song when he pulls it. Why not? Because it’s so obvious that he’s “messing around” with a girl’s toy.  It’s funny and ironic and something to joke about.

I carry Jack around with necessary caution, but I’m not too delicate with him.  He is an adventurous boy.  Sometimes as he’s rolling around on the floor he slightly bumps the back of his head down on the carpet rug, loud enough to make a [thud!] sound.  When he even notices that he’s “supposed” to be hurt, he gets over it in about two seconds.  Especially when he checks our facial expressions to get confirmation that he really he is okay.  Then it’s back to rolling around.

Jack will have manners when he gets older; he will say “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am.”  He will be respectful and well-behaved to both adults and his peers.  I will make sure of it. He will be a Southern gentleman.  And even so, he will get into some (innocent) trouble.

He will break a window with a baseball.  He will stay out too long playing out in the woods and worry me that he’s not home yet.  He will step out to the line of danger but will be smart enough not to cross it.

There’s nothing wrong with letting a boy be a boy.  And that’s coming from a former little boy who broke a window and stayed out past dinner time because I was having fun playing in the woods.  But I also knew how to behave in public.  So if there’s anything delicate about being a boy, it’s the crucial balance of being “rough and tumble” along with knowing when to say “please”and “thank you.”

Granted, it’s all about raising a well-balanced son.  Being involved in music and art are just as important as being a boy scout and playing sports.  Any of those activities he wants to do and he enjoys, I will encourage him- whether he’s artistic, athletic, or equally both.  As for me, I was never an athlete (or a good one, at least) and it ultimately led me to have an interest in writing- which is why you are reading this today.

Unnecessary Bonus:

All this testosterone in the air is causing me to consider renaming my blog.  I could just see it now…

Randy Savage Italian Jewish

Artwork courtesy of Jeremy Schultz.

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Baby Boot Camp

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Week 1.

Regarding immediate life in the home front and finding a method to the madness, my wife and I are starting to get things figured out.  When Jack needs a diaper change, I put in his pacifier, “shush” him, and place my right hand over his chest while my wife handles the dirty business, delicately cleaning around his healing circumcised penis and belly button (similar to playing the Operation board game by Milton Bradley).  Regarding sleep schedules, my wife has come up with this gracious plan: On weeknights, I sleep in the guest bedroom on a futon bed from midnight until 6 AM for 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, then I get ready to leave for work.  When I arrive home 12 hours later, I do whatever my wife needs me to, including but not limited to rocking him, holding him, and helping with the feedings.  But during the weekends, I pretty much just take naps when I can.

Yes, this is my new normal.  I look at the situation for my wife and I as “baby boot camp”.  We are being broken down to the point now where we see two hour naps as a valuable prize, as sleep becomes the new currency in life.  Though so many people have told us the “sleep when the baby sleeps” rule, he inconveniently sleeps between 4:30 and 8:00 PM, a time slot where I am always widest awake and eating dinner.  Hopefully keeping him awake during this time will push back his schedule enough to ensure better sleep time for his parents.

I figure if we can make it through the difficulties of breastfeeding and learning to deal with sleep deprivation, we can officially handle all else that will come our way in raising him.  So I remind myself that every good and present father has been through this too.  I look at parenting as a necessary rite of passage for myself as a human being.  It’s something I was meant to do in order to fully serve my purpose here on Earth; never really knowing all the positive chain-reacting side-effects that my influence on him will cause in the world.  Deep.


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