Friday, March 04, 2005

To Be Chauvanistic, or Not To Be

Being the mother of two boys, I've always felt it my duty to the fellow womenhood out there, to make sure they are in touch with their feminine side...or maybe the correct phrasing would be..'non-chauvanistic'...the feminine side thing sounds a bit poofy. I wanted my boys to be independent and sensitive to their counterpart's when the time arose. From an early age, despite my best intentions, it really wasn't practical (or possible) to expect a 3 year old to be cooking his own meals or doing his own washing.

Occasionally, when the boys were both toddlers, my sister's husband used to take off up north with his mates and go motorbike riding (in other words, a weekend of adrenalin rush and beer drinking). Whenever these weekends came about I would leave my children in the care of my husband (with huge lists attached to the fridge door) and disappear for a weekend. God, they were bliss! No schedule, noone hanging off my leg, noone whining and calling out to me in the night. It was only a couple of nights, but it seem to do the trick to rejuvenate my energy levels to get back into it when I got home.

One such weekend, my sister and I went to a local county fair. All manner of items were up for sale, including the good old fashioned wooden toys. As it was November I chose to buy my boys a wooden oven as part of their Christmas stash....I then went to The Warehouse and bought various 'play' pots and pans and plastic food items to compliment it. Before I forked out any money I rang my husband to gauge his reaction to this brilliant idea of mine. He paused, then just said "yes ok, if you feel you must". (He was awfully chauvanistic so I was surprised by the answer, but hey, maybe the worm had turned?).

The boys enjoyed Xmas day, they loved their new oven** and we had constant dinners of various descriptions that we had to continue pretending to eat. Living next door to two girls that were about 8 years older than my kids helped my cause...the boys were forever coming home with nail polish or make up on...my husband wasn't pleased with this new turn of events...he was concerned his boys were going to turn into pansies. He soon discovered that you can't take the boy out of boys and relaxed that his kids were still males in every sense of the word.

These days I sometimes feel I'm fighting a losing battle. Although I still manage to slip something in there that you wouldn't say is the 'norm' of everyday boy stuff. 15 is doing pretty well at this side of things I think. I've had him go into the chemist to purchase me tampons...he's painted my toenails on a couple of occasions...and with a fair amount of bribery and corruption, he's stood patiently, used a brush-comb and dyed my roots for me. (The most recent time was New Year's Eve, I had said goodbye to Canada the day before, and I sat in the chair and cried almost the entire time that 15 silently walked around me parting hair and painting hair dye on, pretending not to notice.) I said "how much is left in the bottle?"...he holds it up..."oh, I don't think you've used enough, when Anna does it for me, she usually only has this much left" *holding up fingers to show him*...his response "yeah, well that's Anna, I'm accurate". He did however, draw the line at the supermarket one day as I was standing in front of the tampons and sanitary pads, and asked "so, which ones do you think I should buy this month?" Ok, I wasn't really asking his advice, that was for pure reaction amusement. He bites so well.

13 is another story entirely and I believe that's my fault. I did attempt to educate him in the trials and tribulations of grocery shopping, but the fact that he brought every mushroom to me for my approval before he put it in the bag turned the incident into a painfully long session and I have to admit I gave up. He was always fantastic at the deli though, never had a problem asking for anything...in fact he often still does the phone calls or stepping forward to be the spokeperson for 15 (who is painfully shy in asking for anything). And faced with the same question in the supermarket about tampons etc, he surprised me by saying "here, how about these ones? *selecting box and reading side* it says their comfortable and easy to use and they have yellow flowers on them". Was he being sensitive and helpful, or had I taken this mission too far?

I am yet to get either of them into the toilet with cleaning equipment. My next hurdle to overcome.

**the oven was eventually sold and the money was used to buy a playstation game
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