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Is it Because They’re Boys?

Written by Kathy Glow

Written By:  Kathy Glow @ Kissing the Frog

Thank goodness the triple-digit heat is finally over here in Nebraska (and here’s hoping it doesn’t return for a long while).  There were many days the last couple weeks that my boys just didn’t feel like doing anything.

Except sit and watch t.v.  And fight.  And play video games.  And fight.  And build Legos. And fight.

You get the picture.

I guess I thought when I had kids, life would be one endless board game/craft session/holiday project/organized backyard game/happy Fisher Price commercial.

All my years of being a teacher and subscribing to parenting magazines left me with the idea that the kids and I would never be bored.  We have a house full of toys, shelves full of books and puzzles, and two carts filled to the brim with crayons, markers, paint, paper, and craft supplies.

But it seems as though every time I think of a project for the boys and I to complete, I’m met with groans of, “I don’t wanna do that!” or “That sounds boring!”

And I’m left to wonder: Is it because they’re boys?

I used to love playing school when I was little.  I would sit at the school desk in our basement for hours writing on the chalk board, coloring, and “teaching” anyone I could, be it my brother and sister, neighbors, or – in a pinch – my Barbie dolls and stuffed animals.

When the boys were little, they all took art class at Gymboree, and every chance I got, I would pull out crayons and paper for them to scribble on.

Now it’s a chore just to get them to sign someone’s birthday card.

I know that boys are more physical than cerebral.  I know they need opportunities to run and jump and climb and wrestle, and believe me, we do plenty of that!  But I wonder why it is so difficult to get them to sit and do a simple craft.

Perhaps I’m trying to force them to like something they just don’t.  Or, a more likely scenario is that maybe my patience for four little boys doing crafts is not as strong as it should be.

Last week, after umpteen days of extreme heat, I was grasping desperately at straws.  I decided it would be fun to play outside in the sprinkler and make ice cream in a bag!

I’ve read about this project many times.  Super easy, and all it takes is ice, rock salt, vanilla, sugar, half and half and whole milk or cream.  The boys could jump and shake and wiggle with the bags, and would be granted immediate gratification by eating the ice cream right away.

I thought it was perfect!

The ingredients were carefully dumped and the bags were tightly sealed.

The shaking and wiggling and giggling began.

The potholders were needed because it was so cold!!

At first it was really fun.  And then it became just a mess.  And then a couple of the boys got bored and upset that their ice cream didn’t turn out as good as someone else’s.  Finally, the project was abandoned, boys went willy-nilly all over the yard and house, and I was left to clean up the mess.

As I put all the ingredients away, I thought of an anniversary card I had received from my friend.  Her daughter had drawn the picture and took time to cut and paste cute images for a generic card that her mom could use to send her friends.

I’ll bet that one afternoon, they  sat and made a stack of cards together.  How nice, I thought, but that would never happen here.

I imagine houses full of girls to be quiet, neatly organized and clean, crafts and artwork adorning the shelves and walls.

Sigh.

It’s not for lack of trying at my house; although, it may be for lack of patience – both the boys’ and mine.

Do you do crafts and projects at your house?  Do you find boys or girls like them better?  Or does it just have to do with a parent’s patience?

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About the author

Kathy Glow

Kathy Glow is a wife and mom to four lively boys and one beautiful angel in Heaven, lost to cancer. Most days you can find her under a pile of laundry ordering take-out. When she is not driving all over town in her mini-van or wiping “boy stuff” off the walls, she is writing about what life is REALLY like after all your dreams come true. Her writing has been featured on sites such as Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Good Housekeeping, and Mamalode; but Her View From Home is her favorite place to be. Her blog is at www.lifewiththefrog.com. You can follow her on Facebook at Kissing the Frog.

5 Comments

  • I’m sure you know I can relate to this. It’s not you. It’s them. 🙂 They are boys. I definitely think it’s different than raising girls. You can get away with fun crafty projects and activities a little longer even if there is at least one sister in the house. But a house of only boys just has a different dynamic. There comes a time when you as the mom aren’t going to be part of their action all of the time (unless you have a great throwing arm). And your household won’t always be run like a preschool. I think this shift happens earlier with a house of boys. Boys want to run around, wrestle, make messes, build forts, fight, and shoot hoops. And that’s OKAY. Unplanned activities that evolved organically seemed to be more successful when my boys were young. For example if they catch a jar full of worms after a big rain, suggest they build an obstacle course for the critters. That would have kept my boys busy for hours because they loved creative activities as long as it didn’t involve directions and guidelines.
    Bottom line, don’t beat yourself up. Your ice cream activity seemed to entertain them long enough for you to snap pictures of them having fun. So I wouldn’t consider it a failure just because they didn’t go the distance. You don’t lack patience. Boys just lack the ability to focus for any length of time and that seems to get worse as they age. Boys are strange little creatures. 🙂

    • Sanae, I swear I was writing this with you in mind! I’m grateful for your comment. I know I should just go with what my boys want to do, and be happy if we do ANYTHING for any length of time. I’m not so good with the bugs and critters thing, but just last night was an impromptu hose/water/mud session that was a blast (probably because I knew it was almost bath time).

  • Ahhhggghh!!
    I hope not!
    I have little kiddos. A girl (3) and a boy (15 months). I have the dreams of craft-a-day (or at least twice a week) as well!!
    Maybe it is the age? My daughter is loving the crafts right now. My son is too young. I HOPE they stay interested!!

    • Jennie, honestly, I think Sanae is right – if you have a girl in the house, there will be crafts. The friend I mentioned who’s daughter made the cards has boys and girls, and they all do crafts. Her daughters just do a neater job at it!

      • Yep Jennie…you have a girl in the house. She will be playing school with her little brother for years! My boys actually will play school when the neighbor girl is here. But if she isn’t around to initiate that activity, it’s back to mud slinging, ninjas and living room wrestling matches.