Briar often asks me to 'play cars' with him. This question always fills me with anxiety. My attempts to do so are always very clearly awkward and incorrect. "Oh! It's easy," you smuggly say. But you must have figured out some trick, some unspoken car-playing truth that has eluded me. I think my problem is that I always make them 'talk'. My little red firetruck drives up to Briar's flame-emblazoned muscle car and says in a deep and kindly voice, "Hi. I'm a firetruck. Do you want to play with me?" "No!", Briar shreaks, "You're doing wrong!!" I feel defeated and slightly embarassed. My poor boy doesn't have a parent to play cars properly. He didn't give me any tips or assistance until the other day when my feeble attempts were again thwarted by the 'Car Master'. "JUST DRIVE!!!", he yelled. So now, I keep my vehicular conversation to myself. I. just. drive. The only sounds that escape my lips are "bbbbbbwwwwwwww". Briar is content. To me, this seems...well, boring. But I am more than happy to comply with the politically correct car rules if it keeps my boy happy and filling some need that little boys have to 'just drive'.
But I worry that my boy is missing out on some testosterone specific secret code. Something that is ingrained in their boy brains and doesn't need to be vocalized....Goodness knows that cars don't speak - Why should boys?!
Anyhow, with Briar's thrid birthday coming at the end of the month, I am struck with a fear that I am going to do it 'wrong'.
I had been thinking that I would get him a bike. He loves to ride his cousin's bike with the training wheels. He looks so proud atop this little red steed as he wobbly pedals around the driveway. I began to price out bikes thinking that if I put a few dollars away here and there, I could afford one for him. Especially, if I bought a secondhand one. I've even thought that I could put the training wheels back on Liv's little pink sparkly bike, put a few car stickers on it and we're good. Then, I saw it. A Hot Wheels bike. I am tormented and torn. Briar LOVES Hot Wheels. I hate that he is a 'brand lover' but he is....Although, I try not to be one myself, there are times that I will purchase certain brands for their quality, where they were made, or there environmental or employee practices. But he sees the little flame insignia on the bottom of a miniture car and nearly bubbles over with glee. Not for any 'politically correct reasons, just cause they're cool. "Hot Wheels, Speed fast!", he and his buddy, Brody, belt out.
I would love to provide this bit of joy for my son. Isn't this always the parent's dilemma? Can I afford it? Does it go against my feelings of consumerism? Doesn't he deserve a new bike after all his little life has held so far?
We make all the sane justifications about why we should not do certain things and then go against our own moral convictions and financial impediments in an attempt make our children smile. Before I had children, I would have scoffed at the idea of going against personal ideals to please a child. Provide what is needed. Not necessarily what would be 'wanted'. Now I just want to see grins and hear giggles of excitement.
Now I have to figure out if what I pay for a 'boys' bike in the short run would be a better investment than paying for therapy for a young man who feels angry that he had to learn to ride on a bike that says "Magical Fairies" or some equally flowery phrase....I should ask my brother. He wore our hand-me-down girl jeans unknowingly for years, until I delightly announced it to him as he entered the most awkward and self-conscious stage of his life. Early adolescence. So kind.
Should I forget the bike thing and get a kid's camera for Briar? He loves taking photos. Oh, how I wish Jeff was here to help with this decision. I can only imagine that as Briar gets older, these solo decisions regarding 'boy issues' are going to get tougher. Lord, help me.