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30.1.11

Boy, oh boy



About a month after he started school Maxi-Taxi came home and announced that he had a 'brother from another mother'. Hmmm... I thought, where did he learn that experession? That bro from another ho is certainly the more sophisticated brother.

I have watched their friendship bloom into mutual adoration. They simply cannot get enough of each other and it's a beautiful thing to see. Their conversations (shamelessly spied on by this ho) are simple and direct.

"Do you think Ben 10 is the best fighter ever?"

"Yes. He's the best."

"Do you think there will ever be a better fighter?"

"Maybe when we're bigger we could be better than him."

I cherish these sweet little boy moments because over the course of a year I have also watched their friendship move into 'mandom'. The longer they were at school, the less they held hands, hugged goodbye, leaned into each other and just enjoyed being together. Within a single year they have morphed from sweethearts to wrestling maniacs, who punch each other to express a joyous greeting and lifting up and throwing each other to affectionately say goodbye.

What happens to our boys? Maxi and Jamie have obviously learned how boys handle friendship from the older boys at school, who learned it from the older boys at school, who learned it from the older boys at school. Like a school yard chant that's been doing the rounds since the seventies, there they are: the role models for our boys. Relics from a bygone era, teaching them that feelings are for 'sissies' and you're 'gay' if you show affection.

Little boys are quite possibly the most affectionate and loving creatures in the world. And then they go to school. Of course they are still those loving little boys, but how can we teach them that it's okay to show that love to each other? That true friends are vulnerable and affectionate with each other? That learning how to open up to each other may well be the thing that saves them one day?

Where do we start with that?

45 comments:

Kate said...

I know nothing, nothing, nothing about little boys, I have three sisters, three neices and three daughters. But I do often look at how adoring and affectinate boys are with their Mums and wonder how it would be to have a little boy.

Joni Llanora said...

What a keen observation. It's a little frustrating how society & culture affects them. And how helpless we are about it.

Sarah said...

I've observed this with great interest also. Last year my eldest and his bestie would hold hands in the back seat of the car and hug and chat all the time. Recent playdates have been more about wrestling and role playing Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. It's still adorable. Different now, but the affection for each other is still very much there.

Megan Blandford said...

No advice, I'm afraid, but that conversation is gorgeous!

BOB & MABEL said...

Seriously gorgeous! Boys are a strange and funny species.

Mrs Woog said...

Loved this post Maxi, but in answer to your question, I have no idea....

Suz said...

gorgeous just gorgeous. I have no idea to answer the question but if you find out the answer before me will you let me know for my two little men? :)

BLWC said...

Loe this post, it brought tears to my eyes. My little man is only 14 months and I'm loving every minute. I'm so excited about what's ahead, but like you, have the same worries. We make sure that he gets lots of affection from both of us and sees us being affectionate with each other and our friends. My husband's always giving him cuddles and saying "I love you" hoping that'll help him grow up well adjusted (until the little bird decides getting a kiss from his dad in front of his mates is just plain embarrassing!) We're still very new at this parenting business so we could completely be on the wrong track...Who knows? Looking forward to reading more.

DanniiBeauty said...

My son is 7yo and he is very affectionate with me ( a mummys boy) and hubby, but this last year at school he tries to impress his friends. So although he still gives his mama a kiss, he does it very quickly and at the same time is looking to see who is looking at him. Cheeky bugger!

Michele said...

Have you read Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey? Great book and one of the best parts of it are the conversations and relationship between the main character Charlie and his nerdy friend Jeffrey (eg "would you rather have a spider hat or penis fingers" and all about cricket stats etc). Well worth a read - a coming of age book, Australian, likened to To Kill a Mockingbird. Not really like it (hard to reach that level of classic) but definitely some similarities and a great read. This photo and your capturing their conversations made me think of it

Toni said...

I have 3 older boys aged 27, 23 and nearly 18, as well as Mr 9, and I have adult brothers, plus my hubs is from an all-boy household.
They all say wrestling and punching is HOW boys show their affection for their mates and brothers, and that it's just a normal part of growing up to be a bloke.
My husband is very physically affectionate with our boys, and sometimes that's hugs and sometimes it's punching. (gently) (just sayin')
As long there's someone they can hug and kiss when they want to, they'll turn out just fine.

Ruth said...

this was beautiful... i miss my teachings days when i would watch the boys and girls learn and grow...

Clara said...

Loved this post. I have 4 brothers. My mom raised them to be men and to be very individual in their ways. I see every so often times when I think they would love to shed their manly ways but society won't let it happen.What I mean is, times when they might like to be silly and not so serious and to be more loving and open. I think lots of conversation and lots of love is the way to go.

Taryn said...

Love it! We have a little Man in our clan, eek that rhymes. Although he is only 2, nearly three I try to teach him to show his affection for his sisters, us and his extended family. I think it is important to show our boys it is ok to be in touch with your feelings, because so many of them run into trouble as teenagers and adults. There is nothing to stop them from "learning" this macho-ness from other boys, hopefully they can be macho as well as loving, sweet, kind and affectionate? Here's hoping. x

Brenda @ Mira Narnie said...

wow - snap! I was only just admiring my son's affection for cuddles, emotions and truely being spontaneous with his kisses and "i love you's" to his family! I am soaking them up with all that I am because of exactly what you just wrote about - will it end, will his natural wonderful sensitivity slowly diminish as he grows up and - goes to school?? what will i do then - I think the best thing is to still encourage it at home, and always let them express their feelings...

ps - love, love love the little ben 10 convo ;-)

Lizeylou said...

How gorgeous. My little man Joe (aged 5 and half) will still happily hug his best mate hello, but just today when at the beach with me I asked him if he would hold my hand in the water .... His response "that's SO not cool Mum!"
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry!

therhythmmethod said...

I have 3 boys, and my eldest is about to start kinder this year. He isn't hugely affectionate, so I am a little worried we are going to lose what little affection he gives out. He is affectionate with his words though - ie/"Mummy, you look lubly. I lub you".
I will say, I have 2 big brothers and I was often the middle person in a game of 'stacks on'. Also, my eldest brother used to pick me up by the head - it didn't hurt, it was kinda funny *slightly scary*. This is definitely how boys show affection.
I think our job as their mums is to quietly let them know its cool to have feelings and to express your feelings with words, rather than vent through anger.

A Farmer's Wife said...

I have a boy and a girl. I get lots more spontaneous affection from my little boy... He is just a snuggle monster and has been from day one.

Littlemissairgap said...

When they're old enough, show your boy the movie "Stand By Me" (River Phoenix, Jerry O'Connell, Kiefer Sutherland). Such a great movie of mateship, love, growing up & loss of innocence. Maxi & Jamie's talk about whether Ben 10 is a better fighter reminds me so much of a talk the characters Vern & Teddy have about whether Mighty Mouse could beat up the Lone Ranger (or something like that) whilst Chris (River Phoenix) & Gordie are talking about what the future holds for them ... classic! Favourite movie.

Tanya said...

Charming observations. What we are actually seeing though is not strange but merely the pre-cursor to a mans' destiny. It is a biological progress. With the best will in the world, it still comes down to Females are the nurturers, Men are the hunters and protectors, this ensures the survival of the species. What you are witnessing in young boys is also played out in many other animal species also. Their "play" is a form of mock confrontations. They are and ever will be through various ages testing their place in the world and where they fit. Like any lioness I have watched my cubs and indulged them to a point and cuffed their ears when they have got out of line with socially acceptable behaviours. I have led by example and taught them as my mother taught me.

Tammi said...

We have four sons and they are all very affectionate in their own ways and openly show their love for others. I have observed that different cultures vary in the way they show affection towards each other but I think leading by example strenghtens what we are trying to teach them.
I had tears reading about your son's friend...my oldest was best friends with my best friends baby brother...they were inseperable until the day his best friend died suddenly at the age of 13...it still affects him to this day.
xx

Salamander said...

Oh, Miss Maxabella!! This very conversation occurred in my house not so very long ago - my eldest is my only son, and a cuddlier, more affectionate child you could not meet. He is off to school next week, and I am so excited for him (and am sure my heart will break when he toddles off with his enormous backpack...)His Daddy is a super-affectionate, kind, gentle man. I only hope Jack follows in his Dad's footsteps, and stays a gentle boy (on the inside at least - we all understand the external Ben10 loving / wrestling / punching is a necessary cover for the marshmallows on the inside!
PS. Thanks for your feedback on my blog yesterday - am still a novice and have read your blog avidly for about 6 months. I don't get that many comments, so thank you!! My 12 month old is currently trying to wedge her head into the DVD player so I guess I should get that...

x0xJ said...

This is a genuine fear of mine.
Thing is it starts with the parents. As always, it starts with US. We need to collectively encourage it in all of our children and then slowly but surely it will become the norm, all the kids will be ok with affection and the "gay" and "unmanly" thing will be gone.
Sadly far far too many parents, especially fathers, do honestly see it as a sign of weakness and "gayness".
I don't care what my children do with and in their life. Honestly i don't. I hope they will reach for the stars and try to make their dreams come true. I hope they will forever remain close with me, but most of all i just want them to be HAPPY.
I often ponder how to build their esteem, something which i'm sure we've all experienced is feeling inadequete, but by whom? The media, our peers, our loved ones. It's a problem much bigger than just one person changing their actions, but i guess we're only in control of our own actions.

Curvaceous Queen said...

We teach them to stand proud and not hide who they are, when they start to close off we open them up again. It's a work in progress but oh so sweet

Lou@Littlegreenshed said...

Am I going mad? Ive read this post before somewhere? The picture and all. But in response, Charlie has started school last september and he went through about a month of guns and wrestling. Now he has become the most affectionate child more than before school. Rufus (who is 3 1/2) has now become Mr Ruffand tumble... I think it just comes in stages... testosterone surges. x

Naturally Carol said...

I think they still want physical contact with each other...just not in the feminine way there mums teach them. My boys are mostly in their 20's and will lift each other off the ground...kinda looks like hugging...but testing strength and a bit of friendly competition! Other times the arm will go around anothers neck but just has to tighten a bit as well...it's saying 'hi but just remember I'm a bloke and I'm strong..so don't think this is a sign of weakness!' When you think of it female greetings and signs of affection are laced with other messages too aren't they? It's part of growing up.

MultipleMum said...

Nicely tended garden patch that!

And yet they still hold hands with their little girl friends. What is with that? Mr Testosterone has a bit to answer for but so too does societal norms. It is such a shame because there is nothing nicer than a little-man hug.

Annieb25 said...

I love this so much. Both my boys still have the friends they cuddled and held hands with when they were little. Those special friendships have stood the test of time. xx

Dovic said...

Oh what a wonderful wonderful post. I have a 4 yr old and a 2 yr old (that Ben 10 conversation is so familiar to my ears). You made my chest open and heave with that post...I want my boys so much to stay as cuddly and as affectionate as they are right now. But I can already see with my 4 yr old that the universal tug to be a boofhead, in order to be like the older boys, is pulling.

Such a short post. So much emotion. Thank you xxx

Trish@Show and Tell said...

My older sister has raised 3 beautiful affectionate sons.
They have a mother and father who both showed them lots of affection while they were growing up.
The boys also played team sports throughout their lives.
While we have certainly seen plenty of the downside of professional team sports in recent times, I think that being part of a sports team (or similar) can help young boys grow into more fully rounded men. Team members have to rely on each other and often bond very closely, despite the rough and tumble that comes along with it.

Trish
xx

Becky said...

Somedays I look at my little man, who is only 10 weeks old and get all teary thinking about how he will change. I have three brothers and of 16 grandchildren only 4 of us are girls, so I know what's to come. *sigh*
Great post xo

Kymmie said...

My four year old son still hugs all his friends and tells them he loves them. And I know the day is coming where that will stop, because that behaviour will become unacceptable. But for now, we're encouraging it and loving it. And as soon as next week, it could all change...

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

My two little boys still hug each other and tell everyone that they love 'my brother'. I'm hoping that sticks around. As for friends, Mr7 tends to prefer girls. So far. Might never change. Mr4, however, is in full-flight bromance. Am watching keenly.

So Now What? said...

Oh. My two boys play together (4 and 8) but it often turns into a bit of a punching match for no particular reason.

My daughter however, this year has found what I think is her first, true best friend. One she is almost in love with if that makes sense? They talk on the phone all night, they hang out on weekends.

I'm glad. It makes me happy that she's happy. We'll see where the rollercoaster takes us.

Great and beautiful post xx

Melli said...

great post and how i relate to your story ..love it so much as i have 3 boys growing up too fast before my eyes,at the moment they show a lot of affection and love towards each other and there friends ..i guess we just show them and teach them that its okay to express yourselves in different ways..boys are very unique and sometimes surprising on how they really do show there LOVE towards others as they get older.

Ms Styling You said...

My youngest son who started school just last week dismissed me this morning "You can go now mum, you've got work to do," he said, as he ran to playground. I'm redundant ... and he's only done two days at school :(

Mama Zen said...

I wish I knew!

Michelle said...

You touched my heart with this one - my boy starts school next week and while I am excite. To see him grow and develop part of me just wants to keep him my little boy forever.

Michelle Twin Mum said...

I wish I knew where to start to teach my little boy about being gentle with his peers!

What a sweet relationship your little boy has with his mate, I dream of that for my JJ.

Mich x

Lea said...

what a beautiful post. thought provoking and spot on too:)

Stacy of KSW said...

Great question! Please let me know if you find an answer. My oldest will start school this fall and that's just one of the reasons I've been pulled so strongly to homeschool my children. I don't want anything to change who they really are ...

Tenille @ Help!Mum said...

Wonderful post Maxabella. I wish I had an answer for you.

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

What a beautiful post. How they grow up so very fast!

Suzie G said...

We have a brother from another mother! That is exactly what we call him. And he says the same of himself, in relation to our family. It started as a very close friendship between one brother and him, and grew from there to include all of us. Love it! This particular boy (although 22yrs old now) is going through a rough patch at the moment after a break-up, but has found he can still lean on my brother for support :)

Heather said...

Beautiful boy...what a lovely photo. I just adore and cherish my little boy. So many cuddles and I love you's. He is very needy of me which I find challenging at times but and I am sure that will change as you suggest when they head off to school. x

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