Oh this boy. He just makes me smile every day. (And yes, I let him pick his own clothes because, really, there are more important things to worry about. I don’t mind hitting the grocery store with him dressed like this.)
This month there’s been a lot of talk about Julia and girls being strong and girl power. And Julia might need more of a longterm push to express herself and to be assertive, but I don’t think girl power is isolated to the girls. In fact, I am seeing Max’s own inner strength shine through, and not just in his wardrobe choices.
I want to show you how:
- Last night, we were reading books. Junie B. Jones. And at one point, Junie B. taunts her classmate,Jim, “Liar. Liar. Pants on fire!” Max’s head pops up. “That’s not very nice,” he said. What’s not nice, Max? “You shouldn’t say ‘Liar. Liar. Pants.’ That’s not nice.” And he’s right. I love knowing that he recognizes other people’s feelings, no matter how fictional.
- We got through one gate and a security door on our way to preschool three times a week. Max has started holding the both the door and the gate open for me, and he watches for people who are walking behind us too to hold the gates for them as well.
- Max loves to dig the wood chips in the backyard. He develops elaborate plans and roads for his trucks to dig and drive on. And sometimes Julia wants to dig too. I watch the two of them. The way Julia barrels into any situation and tries to do things her way. The way Max sits back and watches until he can’t watch any more. “No. Julia.” He says it with strength enough to make her listen, but not so much that she would be hurt. “This tuck drives here.” And he shows her where she should drive. And you know what? She listens.
- Max is going through a phase. A wet-the-bed phase. But more than that, it’s an I-pee-so-much-I-soak-through-a-pullup-and-the-rest-of-the-world-every-night kind of thing. He’s been potty trained for 10 months now, and this just started happening, so I know there are other factors at play than training issues. So I took to the Internet. And I found a book about staying dry at night. And it’s meant for older kids, and it uses words we don’t typically use like “bladder” and “urinate,” but I know he’s listening. And he’s not just listening, he’s internalizing. And he’s been dry all night for the last several nights. He’s 3, and no 3-year-old can be labeled as a good listener, but Max is trying. And that’s is powerful.
- My boy is full of love. I mean overflowing with love. He wants to hug and kiss me. Extra hugs at bedtime. He wants to hold hands with his best friends, Addie and Eddie. His teachers use the word “sweet” to describe him. He smiles, like a genuine happy smile, when other people succeed. His love shines through, and if that’s not a sign of strength, then I really don’t know what is.
So Max’s strength isn’t demanding and angry. It’s a quiet strength, but it feels very powerful. And I love watching the person he’s becoming as that power grows.