Boys are cheeky, everyone knows that. I do. Are they all though? Oh, it matters not who is and who isn’t, it’s not a pageant of any kind. Boys. Tell them what to do and they snap: I’m old enough to know and why should I listen to you? Because cheekiness is a capital sin, you silly boy, that’s why. It is, it is. But they don’t stop at that because boys miss their sense of self-preservation completely at times. They charge, they’re stubborn that way, you see tears mixed with teeth grinding, but they don’t stop. Cheekiness, what a disaster!
But if you don’t tell them what to do they’ll whine and say why didn’t you. Because I am still that little boy, mom, really… Ah, the joke! They sneak behind you and make faces, they are a different species, you see, the fidgety(and)screaming(and)laughing(and)crying(and)talking back species that makes your heart stop with wonder, joy, but anger too. They do that, they rake all your emotions, make a big pile and jump like they jump in leaves come fall.
Their cheekiness powers some big volcanoes, I admit to that terrible truth, and when they explode… that shouldn’t happen, you’re a composed mom. You’re not, not now, they’re cheeky and playing on your chords so stretched at times from the daily grind. But you said life is beautiful, you did, mom, you did. I did and I do, but you’re cheeky again, how dare you. They dare, they love you so and they know how loved they are, that’s why they dare. And when they do, you turn around, you’re a kid again, when will you ever grow up. Now, now, do it now because there’s no room for other whiny foot-stomping kids.
Here’s a chocolate, I bought it for you, mom, you know, I was kind a cheeky, right? How nice, they think, those silly cheeky boys who think a band-aid like that will heal mom’s feelings but it won’t. You push it away, but how ungrateful. Their eyes grow big. Did she push it away? No way. She did. Really? How? But… Why? Sit down, loud boys, sit down, please, will you?
Talk about hurt. Talk about time to heal. Talk about boundaries and time to mend hurt feelings. They matter. You matter. They matter, from the first cry, you tell them. Children. A child’s cry means “I’m here. Listen.” Don’t pacify them with toys and swirls in the air, so high their cries fall flat and stare at the ceiling from then on. No toys, no sweets, no ice cream or imaginary birds hiding in bushes. Let them breathe, let them cry. Talk about hurt. A broken stick, a bug that’s dead and dry but they care, a scraped knee and that droplet of blood, how tragic, please care. No pacifying. Talk about hurt, their feelings matter. Pacifying to stop them crying is a no no. They learn to do it too. Another capital sin. I am guilty of it, I did it at least once.
You can’t turn them into wall flowers, you tell yourself. But they won’t, you know that. They’re tough and tumbly like rocks. Just learn to listen. Learn about boundaries. No stomping. Talk? Listen. Shh, I said listen. Now the chocolate. We can have it now. Wanna bite? Eyes grow big. They’re happy big. Really? Just like that, bite? She won’t say no anymore? No, she said chocolate after please. Now it’s after. She smiles. Chocolatey grins are cheeky too but so sweet.
Mom, do you want to know the future? No no, you silly boys, that’s when you’re all grown up, that’s when you forget the ways of sneaking behind and making faces that will get me to smile and forget about your cheekiness. Didn’t I tell you that growing up is a sin? It is. So don’t. I won’t either.