1. Not allowing pretend weapons.
We would like to think we are a peace-loving family. When we started out, we piously said that we would never allow for violence or weapons in our house. Then we had three boys in less than three years. We quickly learned that foam swords hurt less to be hit with than sticks. Because here’s the secret, folks: boys seem to have weaponry in their genes. If you don’t give them a pretend armory, they’ll fashion their own. And while I like to encourage my boys’ creativity, I’m not sure that I want to purposefully prepare them for a future of crafting shivs in prison.
We have recently converted our boys’ diet from processed-only to one that is colorful and daytime-television-doctor approved. My husband and I have high-fived each other while simultaneously patting our own backs for being such responsible parents. What came after was something we could not prepare ourselves for: the gas. Not only is it epic in proportion, but they AIM IT AT US. Yes, because not only are boys super stinky, but they are also foul, foul creatures.
3. Limiting Screen Time.
The TV. This is one I never even tried to be a good parent about. I swear from the time my boys were able to roam freely, I’ve done all that I could to encourage them to just sit for a minute. Watch something. Because no matter how messy that crazy Goofy can get on TV, it’s not a dumped-out 10-pound bag of flour in my living room.
The same goes for video games. I have never ONCE had to clean up the unused pieces of a Minecraft game. But the Legos? They’re everywhere. Just when you think that you’ve picked up every last piece and hidden them safely in the crawlspace, you find one the only way a mom knows how: by stepping on it in the middle of the night. Swearing so loudly that your children wake up isn’t great parenting, either.
4. Buying them good, sturdy shoes
Winter is a splendor of lovely smells. A log, crackling in the fireplace, hot chocolate on the stove, and feet. Winter always smells like feet in my house. Because I buy my boys good, sturdy shoes that eventually get wet, get dry, get sweat in, get dry and REEK. This process happens in a matter of days and should be studied and harnessed for biological warfare.
5. Appropriate Safety Measures
We bought a trampoline. Being good parents, we bought the one with the big bulky padding that is enclosed in netting. Our boys took one look at it and thought, “Cage Match.” They learned that they could bounce off the sides of the netting in an effort to body-slam their opponents. You know what happened the first time they went on a trampoline that didn’t have the same safety measures? Jumped right off the thing.
Proper safety in sports is crucial, but it also makes for some poor choices. Like buying your son a cup for peewee football, only to find them “testing it out” in the backyard. Or bundling your child up in knee, elbow, and wrist pads to learn how to skateboard. It restricts mobility while at the same time making them feel invincible. A deadly combination in boys.
Helmets are good. Children should always wear helmets. Okay, not always. One time my four-year-old decided to wear a motorcycle helmet when we went downtown. Choosing to encourage his originality, (*read: too tired to fight him) I let him wear it as he played around the fountains. The problem is, the helmet made him top heavy, so as he went to jump off the wall by the fountain, he nosedived. I guess I should be grateful he had it on, because it prevented a serious head injury…