There is something that clicks in a little boy’s brain when Mom says “I don’t think you can do that.” That comment is an affront to their maleness. They do not hear the comment as it came out of Mom’s mouth. Instead, their ears pick up the message that they aren’t tough enough to do this task Mom has asked of them.
The gauntlet has been thrown. The lines have been drawn. Egos have swelled to ten times their original size and it is now time to show Mom just how manly they truly are.
I was folding wash and had four nice, neat, LARGE stacks for each of the older children. They were so large I didn’t want to put them in their usual spot on each child’s individual steps heading upstairs. I was afraid they might topple off and then all my efforts spent folding the clothes would be wasted.
So I left them on my bed and called the children to come put them away. I also said this: “I don’t think you can take it in one trip. You might have to do it in two.”
That was my fatal mistake.
Each boy’s chest puffed out while they swaggered in to take their pile in one trip only. They assured me it was no problem at all whatsoever. I could almost audibly hear that male ego shouting “why must females always doubt our manly capabilities?!”
Terrel, our vivacious, doesn’t-think-until-he’s-in-the-thick-of-it, 8 year old, took the award for Man of the Year. His pile not only got taken in one final swoop up the stairs, but his was carried with only one arm, not two. This one arm had to have been stretched to the max to reach around that huge pile of folded laundry so that the other one could swing free.
Whistling, he turned to head upstairs, but not before he peeked back to see if Mom had noticed his daring feat.
His look said it all. See, Mom, not only did I take this in one trip, but with only one arm! Never doubt my manliness again. And he disappeared around the corner.
I now have a healthy respect for little boy egos. And big ones.