I’d like to introduce you to this week’s boy mom, Vandy, from The Testosterone Three and Me (another boy mom blog) and mom of two boys!
I love that Vandy and her family have some quirky traditions — a bedtime saying, snow dance, New Years, etc. — that’s what creates so many fun memories for our children. She shares some of these traditions in her “something special” section below. Check them out!
Turbo (5/03) and Bruiser (1/09)
Describe your sons.
Turbo is a bundle of energy, always moving or fighting. He loves Legos and video games. He is goofy and affectionate, which I better enjoy while it lasts.
Bruiser is very smart and stubborn. Being the baby of the bunch, he is always playing catch-up and desperately wants to be like Turbo. He’s thrilled to be going to preschool this year. I am wondering where my baby went.
How do you stay calm when surrounded by ALL that energy?
I hide. No, truly I enjoy it to an extent. If it does get too much, I retreat to the bathroom and take a bath with a book and a glass of wine. Dad runs interference pretty well too.
How do you instill gentlemanly behavior, actions, thoughts?
By stressing the rules. We insist on apologies and really try to keep the yelling to a minimum. Manners are important too. We try to talk things out and communicate. It’s getting easier now that they are getting bigger.
What do you like to do with your sons?
We love to go camping, on road trips, play video games, yes even I play video games with them. They enjoy impromptu dinners on the deck, baking with me, and getting goofy and dancing to rock music.
Where is your favorite place to shop for them?
Thrift stores. I have found that if I am careful, I can find great deals on name brand clothes at thrift stores. If I can’t find what they need there, we go to Old Navy. Turbo is tall and thin. Old Navy pants are longer and fit him better longer.
Bruiser is getting all of Turbo’s hand-me-downs. I fill in with a few shirts with the current superhero or cartoon character, but have saved tons by saving the clothes.
How do you maintain close relationships with your sons as they age?
I read aloud with Turbo. He’s struggled with reading in general at school, so we tandem read–he reads a page then I read a page. I’m right there to help with tough words and he gets to follow along when I read and we do it together.
Bruiser is still little enough to snuggle. I love cuddling with him and he gets a story every night before he goes to sleep, even if it’s just a really fast made up one from my head as I tuck him in.
We do family movie nights, eat dinner together, and spend time together as a family.
What type of sports or activities do they participate in?
Turbo swims. He is almost ready to join the swim team, just a couple more lessons. He is quite proud of his abilities in the pool.
Bruiser has yet to try an organized sport, but I think T-ball is in his future, he loves sports.
What are some books/series do they like to read?
Harry Potter is big in our house. Turbo and I are reading the first one together right now. Turbo loves Garfield, the Bone books, and has an interest in Percy Jackson, but we still have to get to reading that one. In the car, I like the book on tape and have been reading David Eddings’ first five book series, The Belgariad, and Turbo is totally hooked.
Bruiser is big into the Bearenstein Bear books, Curious George, Dr. Suess, and Scooby Doo. I try to vary the bedtime book selection, so I don’t get terribly bored.
How do you handle violence in play? Some of this is normal “boy” behavior, but when do you feel it crosses the line? How do you guide them?
We talk with Turbo and discuss that video games are not real and the difference between real life and games and movies. Just because you see it does not mean you can do it in real life. Curtailing the wrestling that the boys do (along with the noise that comes with it) is usually my job. Rough housing can only go so far before someone gets hurt and both boys don’t really know the limits yet.
If you have a fighter, how do you handle?
Separate and talk then apologies and move on. The nice thing about boys, they don’t hold a grudge.
Turbo once covered himself in plaster–like the kind used to tape and mud drywall. He was with Papa and Papa left him alone with the mud bucket just a bit too long.
Bruiser came home with colored toes once from Papa’s house. They had been playing with markers and when I picked him up, Papa stressed to me that the markers were washable, which, since Bruiser was in shoes and socks, I thought was odd, but OK. Then I got Bruiser home and took off his socks and shoes and found rainbow toes.
I love being a boy mom because ______
boys have fascinated me since I figured out they were different–but also they mystified me. Getting to see them grow has opened up some of the mystery. They are fun, affectionate, enjoyable people, and I love every minute I am with them.
Give us your best boy mom tip!
Roll with the punches, enjoy the reduced drama, revel in the messes. Sometimes a good stomp in the mud puddle is just what is needed.
Around our house we have what some might call quirky traditions. Oh, we have normal ones tied to the holidays but there are also some that we do that are purely for us, no holiday needed.
Ever since Turbo was little I have put him to bed with the saying “Good night, Sleep tight, No bad dreams”. I couldn’t bring myself to say don’t let the bedbugs bite. I didn’t want to leave him with the thought that bugs could be in his bed. No need to feed fertile imaginations. I still say it to him when I put him to bed. I also say it to Bruiser.
No bad dreams.
It’s a fitting thing for bed time. Turbo has taken to saying no bad dreams back to me to finish the ritual. Bruiser says it too. It’s become the last little goodnight as I turn off the light and close their doors.
We have a method or tradition of banishing bad dreams if they make it past the saying. I help the boys make the images they had from the dream funny. A bad dream about zombies? Those zombies are dressed in purple and orange polka dotted pants with huge shoes they keep tripping over. A scary monster—he’s holding pink kittens and blue puppies that keep licking him. Whatever I can say to make the boys laugh and think about the funny rather than the scary. It’s been effective so far. It acknowledges the scary and helps them take control of it.
Another small tradition we have is to have the kids do a snow dance before it’s supposed to snow. It’s a silly made up dance that I started with Turbo when he was two. It tends to be a spin, wiggle wiggle, jump jump, twist twist, wiggle, spin, or something along those lines. It works. It usually snows when they do the dance (mom and dad are very good at looking at the weather report and having them dance when it will have results). It’s a way to make snow storms fun. Even the end of the winter season snow storms are more fun if we dance them in.
We love to go on long drives into the mountains and find dirt roads to bumble down. On long car trips the guys like to have me read to them. I’m lucky in that I can read in a moving car with no stomach trouble, so I am our book on tape. It really does make the miles pass much faster if you are caught up in a good story.
These are some small everyday traditions that we share. I really hope that my boys take these traditions and share them with their kids one day. Do you have any quirky traditions in your family?
Thank you Vandy for letting me feature you this week.
Don’t forget to read about the other boy moms and their little men!
If you are interested in being featured, please fill out this form. Remember you don’t have to be a mom of all boys just one. NOTE: there’s a waiting list and I will contact you about a week or two prior to your scheduled date.
Thanks for reading!