If Greeting Cards Told the Truth About Little Boys. Recycled Sundays.

a-young-latino-boy-playing-on-a-playground

Whenever I browse through the card shop, I’m always impressed by the birth congratulations.

Little boys are portrayed as adventurous charmers. Ahead are years of sweet discovery. Parents can’t wait for all these precious joys to unfold.

The cards are true, of course, but I’d like to see one that prepares a new mommy and daddy for the realities of having a son. Just picture it: a foldout card with a toddler on the cover, both knees out of his pants, black marker on his arms and stitches in his lip. Inside, is the deeper truth about sons.

Baby boys grow so quickly. Before you know it, they’ve mastered the qualities of boyhood. For them, steps are not for climbing. They’re for jumping, launching an attack rolling down laundry baskets with the cat inside and volleying vehicles that fly into forty-five sharp pieces.

Any carpet with a minimum of three square feet is used for wrestling. Dolls are great, especially when boys can rip off heads and stick silly putty on the neck – even better if the eyes come out!

Halls are perfect for playing ball, preferably with an obstacle course of breakable photographs and mirrors.

Chairs are points of reference and not to be seated in for more than a second.

Fried and poached eggs are finger food for little boys, but raw carrot sticks must be eaten with a fork no matter how many loud, clanking stabs it takes.

Hard candy is chomped. Jelly is swished. Drinks are sucked with at least four straws. Dribbles in the bottom of a glass can last an hour.

If a boy sees an older one doing a difficult activity, he would rather cut his eyes out with a spoon than admit he’s too young to do it.

If there are two boys in the same room and they’re both still conscious, they are competing.

If there are two loose objects in a room, boys must test them against each other by banging, gouging and grinding.

Finger snapping is second in coolness only to whistling which trails behind belching.

Boys know, if it was assembled, it can be disassemble but probably not reassembled.

Boys teach us patience, persistence, to live in the moment, and that stuff is only stuff. Best of all, nothing beats a little boy’s hug.

    

Click on the cover for more info or to buy the book.

Published Sunday, July 22, 1990 in the Chronicle-Journal/Times-News.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

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