Apparently boys have feelings - who knew?!
About 5 years ago, my cousin had a fund raiser. She wanted to travel to Romania, meet her birth family, and take them gifts along with food, clothing, and blankets to survive the winter. Her story (found here) was beautiful & I followed it at every turn. Part of that fund raiser was an online vinyl sale, and I had a hay-day purchasing vinyl to make crafts for gifts and to decorate my house. At the time I had only a 2 year old and a baby boy, so they had no say in what I used to decorate their room. I happened to find a definition that made me laugh:
Boys (n): a noise with dirt on it
I liked this saying better than the "snakes & snails and puppy dog tails" rhyme, because it was fresh & clever, and I didn't feel bad at all purchasing it, because boys are noisy & get dirt all over their faces - not to mention, buying the vinyl would benefit a noble cause. The grammar side of me wondered if I should peel off the 's' in "boys", or if I should just leave the sign as is, because no one would really care.
Much to our surprise (a mere 5 years later), Mitchell and I have come to find out that there are little people in our household who DO CARE about that sign that's been hanging on the wall.
Monday night, Mitchell was putting the kids to bed. It was a normal routine: putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, reading a scripture, telling a story, and saying prayers. Finally, he left to shower himself because he had had a long day at work & hadn't changed yet. Suddenly, while he was still cleaning up & showering, Tyson began urgently POUNDING on the bathroom door to get Mitchell's attention. Then Tyson slid the sign under the door. Mitch saw the sign being shoved under the door - "What are you doing, kids? Go back to bed! When I'm done, I'll hang that sign back up for you."
When Mitch was finished getting ready for bed himself, he took the sign back to the kids' room, and found them sitting up in bed all upset. Tyson had noticed the sign because it had been hanging crooked & he read it to Emmett. They didn't like the sign in the slightest. Now that they realized it was there, they couldn't sleep because of it! Tyson asked Mitch, "WHY WOULD MOM DO THIS TO US?!"
Mitch just explained it was a silly decoration and made light of it: "You know, we're boys; we get loud sometimes when we're having fun, and we get dirty, and it's okay." But the more they talked about it, the more distraught the boys became.
They were actually HORRIFIED. Emmett was especially offended, and LITERALLY BURST INTO TEARS! "WHY ARE YOU BEING MEAN TO ALL THE BOYS IN THE WORLD?"
That's when I got a phone call. I had left when Mitch started the bed time routine to finish up some work I hadn't finished earlier that day. Mitch explained what happened, told me they wanted to destroy the sign, and then handed the phone to the boys. Emmett was still sad and crying, "Mom! I just want to take that sign and chop it up into SO MANY PIECES that NOT EVEN A BUG CAN SEE IT!"
Tyson chimed in, "I WANT TO BURN IT!"
I tried to explain that it was just a joke, and that I didn't mean to hurt their feelings at all by having that sign in their room. I even said to Tyson & Emmett - "Come on, isn't it a little bit true? Just last week, you didn't shower for 3 days - don't you like to be dirty sometimes since you don't shower?"
Emmett reiterated, "No! It's just mean to all the boys!"
Then I was like - "Well, don't you guys get loud & crazy & noisy when you play sometimes?"
But my efforts weren't good enough. Tyson was emphatic, "I don't want that on my wall! It's obviously a RUDE sign, and it's hanging on the wall crooked, so everyone who walks in will notice it!"
To prove to them that I cared more about their feelings than a silly sign I made, I gave them permission to destroy it, but not that night - in the next day or two when their dad could help them so they didn't get hurt with his tools and everything. Tuesday evening, Mitchell was busy helping with an Eagle Project, and it about killed the boys to wait until Wednesday - by Wednesday, we were sure that we couldn't make them wait any longer - their little hearts and souls were still weighed down by the rudeness of this stereotypical notion that boys are just noisy & dirty all the time.
Well, Wednesday came & Dad was ready after work to help this noble effort. Boy oh boy, was it satisfying for them as they showed that sign who's boss. The boys wanted to destroy it so many ways, "Burn it, then karate chop it, then blow it up then run over it" Mitch decided to make a list so that everything could be done to it. After all, burning it first would not allow it to be karate chopped second. After a list ENDING with pyromania was made, the boys (and Dad) set out to destroy the offensive sign.
We discussed with the kids that they could only destroy the sign because I gave them permission, and that sometimes in life they'll have to just be tough in a different way if they come across someone or something that they disagree with. But all in all, I think this experience will only lend to MY advantage. For example, if ever they're tempted to make stereotypical chauvinistic comments about women, I'll be able to refer back to the time that I respected their feelings & let them destroy the stereotype that bothered them about boys. :)
Mitch & I are really glad that our cute little boys were able to use all the loud and noisy ways they could think of to make a dirty mess of destruction of that sign - we still laugh that in their minds, they feel their methods effectively proved that boys are not just "a noise with dirt on it". :)