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Growth Spurts: Boy, Oh Boy!

LEGOs, comic books, football, video games…These all have two things in common. (1) I have never had much to do with them. (2) My son is crazy about them.

Caleb Partridge is my only son, and he’s sandwiched between two sisters. Over his 11 years of life, he has had to deal with being surrounded by baby dolls, Barbies, princess attire, American Girls, sparkly jewelry and hair accessories, and a host of other girly things. But he has held on strong to his own world of Minecraft, Drew Brees, and Origami Yoda. It can be tough for him at times, because he feels outnumbered, and the girls’ regard for his hobbies and interests is approximately as in-depth as his is for theirs.

As his mother, I have tried to enter and understand Caleb’s world, which is fairly foreign to me. I admit that I am utterly inept when it comes to video games; I often don’t “get” the humor in comics; and I get completely turned around and confused in the digital world of Minecraft. On the other hand, though, I have a great appreciation for LEGOs and the skills and creativity it can spark in my son, and I have learned a great deal about the game of football (and I actually kinda like it). These aren’t things that are naturally easy for me to get into, but I love my son and want to understand his world and be interested in the things he’s interested in, because he’s interested in them. Truth be told, I don’t always get into everything my girls are into, either. But I make the effort for each of them.

As a newborn, my boy captured my heart with a smile that makes his eyes look like moon slivers, and that smile continues to delight me. I am intrigued by the aptitude he displays in building, inventing, and creating. And if he really sets his mind to something, he can be a hard worker. (He might not like to do schoolwork, but he will spend a good deal of time doing independent research on the educational benefits of Minecraft, just to convince the skeptics–parents included.) He is thoughtful and considerate, and little kids as well as adults love to be around him. His hugs and his attention to me, personally, make me feel so good; his dance moves make me jealous; and oh, how he makes me laugh!

I cherish the fact that Caleb wants to share his world with me, so you’d better believe I’m going to dive into waters that are unfamiliar to me for this boy! Even if my own lack of hand-eye coordination keeps me from playing video games with him, I can at least congratulate him on his new personal high score and listen to him describe how he did it. Even if comics are not my favorite genre, I can applaud the planning, storytelling, and artistic endeavors that result in his original comic strips. Even though my own lack of architectural creativity prevents me from attempting much with LEGOs, I can fully appreciate and praise Caleb for the concentrated effort and detail that he displays in his creations with the brightly colored bricks. Even if Origami Yoda is not my personal top literary pick, I can certainly get excited over Caleb’s giving an impromptu oral book report on it. And even if I don’t really appreciate bathroom humor… (Well, I may have to draw the line here.)

The wonderful world of boys. Moms, let’s not write it off simply because we may not understand it. Dads, the same goes for you. Don’t dare miss that next tea party with your daughters!

Carrie Bevell Partridge still doesn’t know all the positions in football, but she no longer falls for the fake hand-off when watching a game. Well, not as often.

About The Author

Carrie Partridge

Carrie Bevell Partridge grew up in Memphis, TN with her parents and four siblings. She attended Mississippi College, where she met her husband Kevin. They have been married for 20 years and have five children. They live in Ridgeland, MS. Carrie has written the “Growth Spurts” column and managed social media for Parents & Kids Magazine since 2011. You can read more of her work at carriebevellpartridge.com and Facebook.com/carriebevellpartridge.

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