My son has been exhibiting some new behavior lately. It appears that he has reached that stage in his development where he is trying to figure out (aside from the physical differences) what is grown up "man" behavior and what is not.
And, since Air Force Guy is TDY for most of the rest of the year, I have been thrown into the enviable (insert sarcastic snort here) position of trying to facilitate this.
My son has been watching the interactions between men and women like a hawk. I first realized what was going on when he told me, "Big Mens have lots of hair," after seeing his Dad wearing shorts for the first time this season.
This was followed after AFG left with "Big Mens barbecue," and "Big Mens mow the lawn." Apparently, "Big Mens take out the trash," too.
Let me throw in here that I'm doing my darnedest not to raise a future chauvinist. I mean, when AFG is gone, I mow the lawn and the kid doesn't seem to notice anything untoward about that. Apparently, according to the approximately 26 parents of boys I've questioned about this behavior - it is a normal part of their development.
It's just that I sit up and take notice, because he would normally take this stuff to his Dad.
The kid's definitely caught in a weird kind of limbo - Dad may be gone a lot, but he is an overwhelming force in my son's life. Without exception, the things "Big Mens" do are all things his Dad does. But I think my son would normally do these things with his Dad, too, and instead he is discussing them with me.
I don't know about other moms who go through this - or something much more difficult, going through this during an 15 month deployment! - but I feel very nervous that I'm going to screw up this phase of the kid's development and he'll turn into either The Most Sensitive Man in the World (from the movie Bedazzled), or a caveman. And not the Geico cavemen, either.
When I was pregnant with my son and I had the ultrasound that told us he was a boy, my first words were, "But I don't know what to do with a boy!" After three girls, a boy was certainly something new. I still find myself saying this a lot. I hope winging it will be good enough, because I don't seem to see much discussion on this in the baby raising books (none of which have been helpful in any other situation previously, anyway).
Oh, and the latest thing "Big Mens" do? Well, it was related to me a few days ago at swim team practice, when my son came over and told me, "Big Mens fart like this," and raised his leg.
I'd like to know where he learned THAT one.