Diving headfirst into the pool of teenage boys didn’t work quite as well as I expected. You could say I belly flopped.
I still have the red belly to prove it.
My experience with boys involves small boys, not big ones. The four years I went without seeing these boys didn’t help.
So amid the stinky socks, rough play, and fist flying fights, there’s a gem in the rough. The one boy who ceased to be a child long before he should have is proving to be my greatest ally.
He has his moments of sheer defiance, of course, and there are times when the depth of his rage scares me. Those moments are becoming fewer and far between these days as I see him doing more to help our family become one.
He still takes his brother’s side a bit more often than I like, but he’s getting better. I think he has begun to realize that it’s not all on him, even when he tries to take the blame for something another child did, we don’t let him.
He can get his brother to calm down in a way that I can’t (and vice versa). I see him interacting with Jellybean, even inviting her to walk around with them at the mall or including her in things she felt left out of before.
When the big storm hit on Friday, unexpected and sudden, with winds that bowed even our tallest trees to the ground, a lightning show, and thunder so powerful it shook our house, he was right there, the whole time, doing everything in his power to help keep the two younger children (who were terrified) calm. When the lights flickered and the power went out, though it was brief, he was right there, running to grab the emergency candles, even with Scooby clinging to his neck for dear life.
He is great with all the kids when he wants to be, dependable and helpful more often than not.
Now if he could just tame that mouth and stop the bullish behavior when he’s mad…