As has previously been mentioned the boy is living up to all of societies gender specific behaviours and stereotypes. He is a caroholic, craving them first thing in the morning, shaking when one isn’t around and at his happiest after giving one a damned good push around the sofa. He is already too big to fit in an F1 car, so the role of mechanic looks increasingly likely, I will of course do my best to steer him towards medicine so he can put me in a nice nursing home one day but the force is strong in this one. He can often be found sprawled out nonchalantly in muddy puddles, trying to corrupt a little blondie to join him in his dirty little sanctuary. His favourite colour is blue and if you try and put him in anything that is vaguely effeminate he has a penguin like ability to regurgitate the contents of his stomach multiple times until you put him in a colour more befitting of someone of his immense masculinity. This is a child who displayed such boyish tendencies that a mother in the library felt compelled to comment “at least you know he’s straight”, thanks for that bit of wisdom strange bigoted library lady (as she is now known).
If you compare that with my childhood I was not a bit like him. I went to ballet classes, albeit against my will and driven by the incentive of my 50p pocket money. Even so, Max would sooner choke on the 50p than be seen anywhere near a tutu. I have fond memories of making cakes with my mum in the kitchen, Max has a harem of toddlers who happily bake any imaginary cake he desires and feed it to him piece by piece. I had a stuffed pink elephant called Ellie that I would snuggle up to each night, Max has a plethora of cars, none of which are pink, that he sleeps with on a complex rotational basis that only he understands. I would make perfume out of flowers with my sister, Max eats flowers. Reading all of the evidence in black and white it’s a wonder I’ve even fathered a child.
No doubt my own Dad, a man who is at his happiest whilst watching sport in a shed, was sweating a bit over my unconventional take on being a boy, telling himself that it was surely a phase. Even now though I’m being out-testosternoned by a toddler of my own creation. Whilst Max regularly emerges from the bushes sucking on the local wino’s cast off beer bottle, I am edging ever closer to teetotalism. I am currently trialling vegetarianism, whilst Max is on first name terms with the local butchers. Whilst I don’t mind a salmon pink shirt, Max insists I walk ten paces behind him when I wear it. Whilst I enjoy a bit of downward dog and have been known to salute the sun, Max disrupts my inner peace by throwing a car at me and screaming “man up you sissy”. Whilst I love to cook and am a little too proud of my ‘food snob’ label, Max puts all manner of objects in his mouth, the other day I asked him to spit out whatever was in his mouth, he swallowed the offending matter and spat in my hand. Although I no longer make perfume out of flowers and 50p is not enough carrot to dust down my tutu I willingly accept I am not traditional alpha male material.
However when we recently bought Max his first bike, a major rites of passage for any transport loving child, I saw my opportunity to step up to the plate and show him what a big man I am. The bike came in 1001 tiny pieces and the assembly sheet was of epic proportions. The wife (as I call her when I am trying to display how manly I am) tried to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to do it and that my skills lay in other areas and that there was nothing wrong with flower pressing as a hobby. I brushed all that aside, put on my darkest of dark blue overalls and set about putting this thing together. “I will not be defeated” became the mantra I repeated over and over again in my head. Max peaked around the door, I could see the look of pride, surprised pride, he gave me as I calmly screwed (yes there was screwing involved) Part E34 to Part F32. This is it, this the moment you see in the movies, this is the moment I’ve read about on other dad blogs, father and son bonding over a mutual love, it’s happening to us right here and right now. Then I got stuck…..I was on my third instruction of the assembly sheet and I was out of my depth, Max smelt my fear and walked out of the room in disgust slamming the door behind him. He watched on through the window as I knocked on my neighbours door (a man with a shed full of tools and isn’t afraid to use them) and asked him to come and redeem the situation.
Differences aside we seem to get along pretty well. I have an immense and unconditional love for him that I know will always be there. The bond that we have developed over our time together is irreversible and irreplaceable. I will never try to change him in any way, shape or form, he is after all my little boy and he’s perfect. I feel at my most manly when I am hugging my son and protecting him from whatever the world might throw at him.