Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Stronger Than Gravity

Some may think that gravity is the strongest force on earth. I know better. The strongest force on earth is the magnetic force that permeates space between my boys and any number of things that I would prefer them to avoid. As sure as a compass will point toward magnetic north, there are things that my boys are drawn to anytime, anywhere. And the same way people are powerless to resist the pull of gravity, I am powerless to resist the magnetic forces that rule my male-dominated household (MDH).

Here is a list that I put together of things that have magnetic control over my boys. Each of these things attracts my boys with a varying level of force. The force depends on the appeal of the item and its distance from the boys. The closer and seemingly more dangerous something is, the higher the magnetic force.

Holes – I used to work in environmental remediation. Anytime we dug a hole, we’d attract an audience of every Y chromosome that happened to be walking by. Are boys enraptured by the possibilities of what may be buried or living in a hole? My boys can’t walk by a hole without stopping to inspect it. If it is a small hole, they poke around in it and try to dig it out to see what may be hiding. If it is a big hole, they want to live in it.

Big piles of dirt – Nothing invites a climb like a big pile of dirt. Our school district is building a new concession stand at the soccer fields. To do this they needed to bring in a huge pile of dirt. On a Saturday. During soccer games. See where this is headed? Before long, the big pile of dirt looked like an ant hill. This pile magnetism also applies to big piles of sand, bricks, salt, logs, rocks, etc.

Water – Water is a huge attraction. And I don’t mean swimming pools, although they have their mainstream appeal. I mean running outside in the rain, splashing in puddles in parking lots, waddling in mud puddles in the yard, and wading through creeks in the woods.

Fire – We bought a huge chimenea for our back yard. I’d like to say we use it for warmth, but it’s more often used for burning leaves and sticks. Whenever we have a fire going, I have to stand in front of it with my arms out to keep my boys from getting too close. They love to throw things in it and watch them burn.

Construction – Boys love construction. Can you blame them? Look at the marketing directed at boys from birth. It’s all trucks and construction play sets and blocks and Legos. John took us down to watch the old Busch Stadium being demolished. My boys were in construction heaven. So were the other men lined up and down the sidewalk with portable chairs, coolers of beer and video cameras.

Caves – My dad and stepmom live in a wonderful little country home with a spring-fed pond and lots of acreage. My dad, who is all boy at heart, is quite the explorer. He has found many caves near his home. When we visit him, he shares with us stories of his adventures into the caves. My boys hear this: “Blah blah blah blah cave blah blah blah explore.” Some of the caves are more than we can handle, like the one in which the spring originates that is accessed through a hole in the ground followed by a 60 foot drop (a hole and a cave!). I’m not completely insane that I would let them go into this one. Others, like the one that is a short hike up a hill with a wide opening and a high ceiling, I can deal with. The boys even have their own head lamps for wearing when exploring caves.

Sideshows – Anything that’s a little freaky and out of the ordinary gains an audience. I tell them staring is rude, but they fall into a hypnotic trance and have trouble looking away. We recently stopped at a gas station where we encountered a dog with one eye being carried in a baby sling by the owner who was riding a motorcycle, and a miniature pony roped into the back of a pickup truck that had a wood fence built around it the driver of which had one glass eye and another eye that was only partially in working order. I really wanted to take pictures because you had to see it to believe it, but I thought that would be disrespectful and most likely get me shot.

Anything that can be turned into a makeshift playground – This is especially true for things that can be used as slides and swings. Picture a vine, hanging over a ditch that is filled with water and housing hungry crocodiles. No worries, mate. A swing is a swing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine having to raise a little girl. The only prissiness I can handle anymore (having 2 boys and a hubby) is my husband!! I enjoy your blog. Give Shannon and the 3 boys a kiss from Aunt Foo. Love you all