Monday, June 23, 2008

Snips and Snails and Football Tales

DavidI have two younger brothers and there is enough age distance between us that, watching from afar as they grew up, I knew raising boys wasn't for me. Midnight fishing trips, karate sparring in the kitchen, "made you look," and other manliness just confused me and I said for years that I never wanted to have boys. Just daughters if you please.

And then I found out that Spencer was coming. The day the doctor told me we'd be adding a son to our home I went out and bought the cutest little blue jumpsuit and a clip-on basketball hoop for his crib and I've been thrilled ever since.

I guess there's a difference between having brothers and having sons.

If I didn't have Spencer and David I would have missed out on the deepest conversations I've ever had: "Mom would you rather be eaten by a giant squid or a great white shark?" and would have never known the fascination of teaching little boys full of recklessness marbled with affection.

But as the boys grow I find them wading--no make that running and schlopping--into foreign territory. The latest example, professional sports, are completely not my thing but suddenly I have two little rabid sports fans in the house that only want to talk football (Spencer) and football plus baseball (David).

I haven't thought about football since my college days--who knew the L.A. Rams are now out to pasture in some other city? Or that there are Titans in Tennessee? What happened to the Oilers? (Apparently their well dried up). Are the Cowboys still in Dallas? Surely they haven't gone anywhere in the past twenty years? I think I still don't like them probably.

And whenever I'm alone with the boys--usually in the car where I can't flee to my happy place--they want to talk shop.

"Mom who's your favorite baseball player?" David asked the other day.

Now I actually do like baseball--kind of in the same way that I like spaghetti or fresh sheets on my bed--it's a pleasant thing to go to a game in the summer sun, eating peanuts and hearing that crack of the bat and it I can appreciate the difficulty of hitting a baseball. But do I know baseball? Heck no. I was too ashamed to admit the only player I remembered ever kind of liking was Mark Grace and I recalled that was only because he was easy on the eyes--who knew what position he'd played? I was pretty sure it was for one of the Chicago teams but I couldn't let my son down so I said, "Randy Johnson?" That's a name I'd remembered hearing around . . . somewhere . . . I thought maybe he played for Seattle.

"Yea," David said with approval, "he's good. He's 6'9" and . . . " I forget the rest. It was a lot of numbers.

"So what's your favorite football team?" Spencer interrupted

"The 49rs?" (Why did all my answers seem to be phrased in the form of a question?) "Yea, definitely the 49rs. I like Joe Montana."

"Mom! Joe Montana doesn't play for the 49rs. Not like for a hundred years!"

"Oh. Well then how about Steve Young? He still plays for them doesn't he?"

"Nope." And I felt their disgust growing. Suddenly I realized that it was all a test--a test to see if I was hip to it. Whatever "it" was. It was my chance to prove that I actually had a brain and could demonstrate the proper amount of knowledge and interest in the only topic of conversation they considered worthy. Suddenly I began to sweat because there was no way I'd pass and I doubted I could fake my way through like I could with Grace's algebra homework.

Sigh. "Well I'll just stick with the 49rs then and leave it at that--are they still in San Francisco?"

"MOM!"

So I'm learning and I'm having a great time talking with my boys as they teach me about their favorite things. And actually I'm doing pretty well. Here's a compilation of my new knowledge that you're free to use for any fans you might have in the house:

  • Randy Moss is cool and he plays for the Patriots--that's a team that's supposed to be pretty good. More or less.
  • Tom Brady is cooler. He also plays for New England. I know he's quite the ladies man though I didn't learn that from the boys but from the checkout stand tabloids.
  • Ladanian Tomlinson is an actual name of an actual man. I haven't yet learned what team he's on and it took me forever to figure out what they were saying when they said his name--their excitement tends to slur words together. Thank goodness for Google.
  • Plaxico Buress is another actual name. Though this one is probably trademarked so that he makes royalties every time someone utters it.
  • Someone actually named a child Deuce McCallister. And apparently when Spencer says Deuce and I say Dooce we're not talking about the same person.
  • Reggie Bush is the only Bush my boys know and is the "wickedest" player in the NFL (that's a good thing) who can run "crazy fast" (also to be encouraged) but he'd do better if he had a wonky name to go with his skills like his aforementioned buddies.
SpencerI've tried to keep up with this flood of cultural knowledge pouring into my brain because it's important to the boys and it seems to be a good way to keep those communication lines well trafficked. It's all sports all the time with them and my biggest worry is that I'll say something that reveals my ignorance of the subject. Er . . . well . . . the breadth of my ignorance let's say. I think they've figured that first part out.

But they're patiently teaching me and pointing out all the best players and their stats and calling to me to come look at the rookie card they just traded for--every once in a while I can chime in with my own opinions and questions and tag along in the conversation.

It tugs at my heart to see my boys so excited to share their favorite baseball card with me or tell me all about the Honus Wagner or Satchel Paige biography they're reading or ask me if I agree that the Chargers are the greatest football team ever. I may be an idiot when it comes to the games but it makes me feel so loved to know that when they have something exciting to share the first person they want to share it with . . . is me.

I guess you'd say I'm their first round draft choice and I love it.

***

As a side note--you'll notice the sponsor link below and I ought to mention that I really outdid myself with this one. You see Mr. Druckman sells his sports photos on his site and I showed it to the boys, asking which pictures they liked best. It took them an hour and a half to decide which two photos were their favorites, debating the merits of each player and arguing which play was better. They drooled over shots of Brett Favre and Hideki Matsui and mourned that there was none of John Beck (aka Captain Universe around here) and when I surprised them with the pictures later that week you should have seen the end zone dance they did in the kitchen, spiking grapefruits left and right. I pretty much became Greatest Mom EVER just like that. They've already picked out a place on their bedroom wall for the framed prints and bragged to their friends about how their mom was the coolest mom in the history of the planet. You just can't can't buy PR like that anymore folks. Maybe they'll remember that moment the next time I get on their case to take out the trash.

Oh how I love my boys!

Sponsored by Gold Medal Impressions--Limited edition sports photographs by Dick Druckman.

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49 comments:

Melissa G. said...

Great post.......boys certainly keep you on your toes at ALL times!

FYI - Mark Grace, 1st baseman for the Chicago Cubs.....YUM!

Sheri said...

I have 4 boys and I totally know where you are coming from. Great isn't it??

FallFleur said...

I've got 4 kids but only one boy. However, there's never a lack of testosterone...yesterday (at dinner time) he brought 8 of his friends to the house. I've learned that as long as there's food they'll forgive my ESPN ingorance.

Thanks to your post I'm much more informed than before.

Summer said...

This is an area in which I actually know almost as much as my husband, and certainly more than my boys at this point. I've been a baseball fan since I was a young girl and married to my hubby I've grown to appreciate football. I know all the players you mentioned and who they play for. I love watching pretty much every sport.

Killlashandra said...

Your such an awesome Mom. :) I'd have done the end zone dance too if I was into NFL like they are.

However, I relate to it at about the same level you do, and if my husband didn't keep telling me Joe Montana does not play for the 49ers I'd be considered completely obsolete too. Although ever year I learn a little bit more about how the sport is played and may actually like it more too. :)

MommyK said...

I'm curious to know which you think is harder? Some magazine (Parenting, maybe?) just recently had an article on which gender is harder to raise. (The short answer: both, but in different ways.)

I never had any burning desire to have a daughter. I thought I'd rather pass on the boys/clothes/angst that comes with teenage girls. Then when a sonogram showed my second child was a girl and not the boy I was expecting, it took some getting used to. She is 19 months old now and I wouldn't change a hair on her head. I think sometimes God has a way of overruling what we think we want.

chelle said...

I am in deep deep trouble if my boy gets into sports ... I know NOTHING.

I do think it is awesome they are sharing it all with you. Makes it all worth it eh?

Robin said...

The sports obsession started very early around here - by the time Itai turned 7 all he could talk about/watch on tv/play was soccer - pro soccer, youth soccer, soccer cards, soccer toys, soccer clothes, soccer heroes, soccer-playing friends...

Are you noticing a pattern?

We thought we'd finally get a break when the season ended but no, now it's the European Cup! Aaaahhh! It would be cute if it wasn't so darn annoying ;-).

Sandy said...

Oh, the things I get to look forward to in a few years!

P.S. Last week I made both your lemon bars and sticky buns -- both were delicious with a capital D! I'm seriously considering that cookbook of yours.

Scribbit said...

You know I think both boys and girls can be tough in different ways and of course the child's unique personality figures in but in general, general terms of my experience I'd say boys take more physical work, especially in the early years. Running after them, keeping up, etc. while my girls have required more emotional effort--dealing with traumas and such. Though that's not true 100% of the time--our youngest is much less girly than our oldest for example.

They're both fun though.

Mirien said...

I'm learning from my boys (same ages as yours) right along with you, except around here it's basketball and football. Even though I fail miserably when they quiz me about players and stats, I am still the first person they tell, in great detail, about the best plays in last night's games. And all it takes to be the coolest Mom ever is to produce tickets to a BYU or Jazz game here and there and then do my best to follow along. I just may be a real fan one of these days!

bethiclaus said...

I've often wondered if I could mother boys well. So far, it's not been an issue, since we have two daughters. This story is much more encouraging to me than some of the stories that people tell about how boys poop sunshine or some such thing. Those stories always make me feel the need to defend daughters and how awesome they are. But this post didn't make me feel defensive, but still gave me a glimpse at life with sons.

Annette Lyon said...

I have one boy, and he's not much of a sports kid. But that doesn't mean I'm not inundated with stats and trivia. He's all over superheroes and fantasy books and computer stuff. And like others have said, he's a totally different animal than my girls!

Lisa said...

I grew up with all brothers, sports knowledge is definitely a necessity when it comes to boys. I think that would be one of the cool things about raising boys, you get to learn all about things us girls usually have no idea about.

Michemily said...

I love the pictures and the post itself. Just one question: do your brothers read this blog?

Scribbit said...

No, they don't generally read. They're great guys though and my kids particularly like their Uncle Luke who still causes trouble with his manliness around here :) He still can confuse me but the kids absolutely love him because he is so crazy sometimes if you know what I mean.

Sheri said...

That is so sweet! I've got 2 boys of my own. When I was pregnant with the first I remember saying I was kind of hoping for a girl because I "wouldn't know what to do with a boy". Now I wouldn't know what to do without them. Love those little guys.
And I'm clueless about the sports stuff too, it's a constant joke in our house.

MiaKatia said...

I have five brothers and no sisters. I was pretty sure I was better suited to raising boys. My first was a girl and I was terrified. But you know what, it turns out I make a pretty good girl mom too. I can't wait for my son to grow up and get excited about sports. I hope I get to be his MVP too. Great post!

An Ordinary Mom said...

Thanks for making it sound fun to have boys :) !! When I found out I was having my second boy this time around, I kind of was in shock. After all, I can barely keep up with the energy level of 3 year old Little Man. Maybe things will get a tad easier once they are all out of diapers ...

Edi said...

I grew up with 4 sisters - so when I was pregnant I just wanted a girl...and got one the first time around. 2nd time, terrible to say, but I was a bit disappointed that I was gonna have a boy - b/c I was already a "girl expert" and thought they were so wonderful, cute etc. etc.

How foolish that was! It has been a great delight to have a son! And to just see how differently boys think and act and what they are interested in. And to see my boy - being such a "typical" boy. I love my girl and I love my boy - and I'm just glad I wasn't the one picking out the gender.

laughingatchaos said...

Here's it's Star Wars. Please...please make it stop!!!! LOL!

perilloparodies said...

I LOVE this entry!!! Totally understand where you are coming from. Love the line "and would have never known the fascination of teaching little boys full of recklessness marbled with affection." And thank you very much for listing the things you have learned about. will have to go over that one soon. have a great day. Have a great day enjoying your boys. intend to do the same with mine and my little girlie, too... :-)

Alice Wills Gold said...

Wow....hadn't thought about made you look in a long time. Isn't that the whole philosophy behind blogging? I must be part boy.

Nan said...

I am lazy, I say "I dunno, ask Dad."

Jessica said...

You should be made a honorary guy, you know a lot!

sean said...

Boys are certainly a challenge!

Daisy said...

Of COURSE they were crazy about pictures of Brett Favre. And Randy Moss? He's talented, but he's a jerk. Really. You don't want your boys looking up to him.

planetnomad said...

Ok I got an error msg and then it said my comment had been saved but I don't see it. Sigh...here we go again...

I LOVE having boys! You're right--much better than brothers! (My oldest brother was in town this weekend and I was reminded again of how very bossy he still is! Sigh...they never outgrow it)

Yvie said...

I've always wondered how it's gonna be when my boy grows up. I would be happy to hear loads of stories from him, how his days went by. Though I may not really relate with it---I appreciate how this wonderful story unfolds.

:) Your boys are beautiful!

tjhirst said...

Boys are a different breed; I can see that parenting my one son. I like your photos of your boys so much. You did a great job of capturing them, even though I don't even know what they really look like for you to not capture them, but anyway, good photos.

Melissa-Mc said...

Gotta love those boys!

After 2 of mine saw the movie "How to Eat Fried Worms" they went outside, caught a worm, nuked it to death, and put it in a pb&j sandwich and ate it.

I was horrified. Oh well, growing boys need their protein.

therapydoc said...

How're ya', Scrib? I had 4 boys and a girl. At each birth, when they said, "It's a boy," I felt a twinge of disappointment, just a twinge. But as soon as I set eyes on the little bugger, it would be love at first sight. And it never changed, not ever. Of course. She's the fave. :)

Rena said...

Oh dear. My baby boy is three months old and I'm kind of dreading having to educated on all this "boy stuff." I have a daughter and grew up in a family of girls so this is uncharted territory for me. But I love this post! Makes me think maybe it won't be so bad after all.

The Estrogen Files said...

So, is the moral of the story that I need to start learning about all that icky sports stuff? Or stop having boys? (grin) Thankfully Hubbers isn't interested in sports, much preferring computers and video games. I'm hoping the boys take after him in this.

Sarah Jewel said...

Ladanian Tomlinson is in San Diego. :)
I only know this because he is in ads ALL OVER here for everything (esp. artificial grass).
Otherwise I am more clueless than you about sports.

Melanie said...

Great post! I'm not much in to baseball, but football? Bring it! I'm so excited for this next season. Pre-season starts the day after my birthday!

I agree with Daisy, Randy Moss is not to be idolized. LaDanian "LT" plays for the Chargers.

mannequin said...

My sentiments exactly Michelle.
I think you summed it up most perfectly with the "recklessness marbled with affection". It's those moments of affection that make me understand the recklessness.
Having a son is the perfect concotion of "snips, snails and football tales".

Kathy G said...

Two of my boys were sports fanatics--which is easy enough to educate yourself on.

However, the third boy became a fan of obscure video games,even more obscure music, and Japanese animation (both book and video form). I REALLY expanded my brain learning enough to hold a meaningful conversation with HIM!

The Source said...

I've already been informed that I'll definitely have a grandchild named Plaxico one day. And probably a Tiger and a Chipper, too.

Janet said...

The 49ers aren't in San Francisco anymore? Gee, I must have been busy doing something else. Oh, yeah, the 2 kids, 5 cats and 3 dogs. And the birds and the tadpoles.

Damselfly said...

I love boys too. I grew up with mostly brothers. But as you said, thank God brothers aren't the same as sons!

2KoP said...

Years ago, when my best friend's son was 8 and I was still kidless, I was appalled to hear her say to him: "I don't ever, ever want to have another conversation about an imaginary character in a video game." At the time I thought How can she say that to her own baby boy? Doesn't she know how important it is to keep those lines of communication open?

Many moons later, I have a stepson and three boys of my own and recently heard myself saying: "I don't ever, ever want to have another conversation about an imaginary character in a video game." I'm all for communication, but I can no longer listen to all the details about something that happened on some fake planet to some fictional character in cyberspace.

Give me sports talk (college football) any day. By the way, this is a guy thing — my girls never talk about video games, even when they play them.

jubilee said...

Wow, faking your way through algebra homework?! I'm impressed.

Yes, my name is Arizona said...

Sons are definitely different than having brothers! That's for sure! For one thing, at least your son(s) like you! lol! It'll be amusing if my son gets into sports because neither I nor my husband are sports fanatics. My husband doesn't know who the latest players are on any team and couldn't tell you their stats. He's a fluke of nature, I know. But I'm so glad I don't have to suffer through hours of sports on TV. He's not interested. If you ask my husband about the biggies in martial arts or ultimate fighting...well, now, that's where you'll get him talking.

beth - total mom haircut said...

Oh, you should have stopped while you were ahead! I see this in my future - and my answers will also be interrogatives.

Have you ever seen "Diner"? Isn't there a sub-plot of one of the characters making his fiancee undergo a football quiz before the wedding?

Sharlene said...

As a huge football fan reading that cracked me up. I guess I will have one up on you when it comes to football. But when my son decides to become obsessed with basketball I am going to be in major trouble. You really do have a fantastic way of writing. I am quickly becoming a huge fan!

all over the map said...

It's amazing how cool you do become when you can show that you do know a few things about their interests.
I was tested, no joke, last night by my son asking me what Stockholm Syndrome was. I explained and then asked, "Why do you ask?" I was pretty certain he was reading a book, as he's an avid reader, but I was curious and thought maybe it was something they were talking about in school. He does often ask me what certain words mean when he's reading. I usually know but there are times I am stumped and we have to look them up. His reply, "It's in a book I'm reading an I just wanted to see if you knew what it meant." Well gee, I guess my 14 years as a flight attendant payed off. I was feeling pretty cool. Whew!

AlaneM said...

Oh my, we're not there yet but I know it's comming.

I must add that they are SO much fun. My youngest is wild, crazy, infuriating & hilarious...and cute, which has saved his lil butt more times than I can count :)

I never wanted to be a boy mamma either, but now that I've got em' I'd never trade for anything.

Shalee said...

Don't you listen to those boys. Peyton Manning is WAY cooler than Tom Brady. You call me and I'll give you all the inside scoop. Well, on football anyway.