Thursday, 28 April 2011

Boys will be boys

It is an established fact that boys are different to girls.

Ok, moving away from the obvious, I mean given the same parents, upbringing and influences, boys will generally seek out more masculine pursuits than girls.

This is, perhaps, why my 10 year old son has injured himself for the third time in as many weeks.

Firstly, it was his arm, the result of getting stuck in a tree –happily he escaped with wounded pride on having to be rescued, but no broken bones.

Then he hurt his foot during the final match of the season (Achilles tendon to be precise – which has blighted the careers of more than one professional footballer). This not only put him out of the second half (luckily his team still won) but curtailed all sporting activities for a fortnight.

This week, having returned to full health (and school), he slipped on the newly laid Astroturf and hurt his back resulting in him being immobilised for a further two days.

Then there is his collection of (toy!) guns. When my son was born, after two girls, vowed that I would never let him play with guns. This went out of the window very shortly after his second birthday when it became apparent that if we weren’t prepared to buy him the aforementioned toy, he would improvise with whatever came to hand.  We relented and he now has a Nerf arsenal worthy of a small arms dealer. (I should add that my son remains one of the most gentle boys I know and would not intentionally harm so much as a spider.)

Added to this is the sheer joy he gets from taking things apart to see how they work, even though he has long since found out that they don’t always go back together again! Lately, he has come to the conclusion that the toy manufacturers don’t always deliver and he has started designing his own games, cars and toys (ok, yes, guns too!). We have diversified from Lego and Meccano into elaborate creations handcrafted from wood and metal. If the football career doesn’t play out(!), I can foresee a career as a designer.

My girls love shopping, my son hates it. I have just taken him on the bi-annual trip into town to buy enough shorts, t-shirts and sandals to see him through the summer months. A similar trip takes place in the autumn.

My daughters have inherited their parents’ love of books whilst their brother has just enough attention for a Simpsons comic.

The girls like rom-coms, he prefers action thrillers.

I could go on. The last month of injuries has confirmed what I always thought to be true; boys are definitely different to girls. 

And as the doctor said when I presented him with the latest injury: "Boys will always be boys."

Friday, 15 April 2011

(Not so) green fingers

A strange event occurred last weekend. I decided to try and turn the abandoned wasteland at the rear of our house into a garden.

Now, anyone who knows me will, at this point, be laughing loudly. I am not known for my ability with plants. In fact, no matter how hard I try to look after them, watering, pruning, feeding and yes, even talking to them encouragingly, they eventually repay my kindness by dying.

Knowing that we are not the best when it comes to gardening, hubbie and I have opted for the safe approach; a large grassed area we call a lawn. It actually doubles as my son’s football pitch which is perhaps why it is rutted and full of holes for most of the year.

The remainder is what could best be described as a cottage garden; or weed patch to the uninitiated!

But every now and then I have the urge to create something beautiful to look at through the window.

So, last weekend found me weeding and mowing and raking and planting. Yes, planting. I even dragged hubbie to the garden centre where we spent a pleasant afternoon marvelling at the ability of others to grow things.

I carefully selected the unlucky plants that would be coming home with me. The cost of it all nearly had me heading for the nearest park under the cover of darkness – they surely wouldn’t miss a few!

Back home, my plants looked pathetically inadequate to fill the space they had been chosen to occupy but I am told that they will grow!

Several rubbish sacks (yes, I know that the bin men won’t take them away if there is even one twig sticking out – I sent hubbie to the tip)  and one bad back later, I was pleased to find that we still had an ornamental fence underneath the undergrowth.

I scrubbed weather worn containers and planted geraniums and pansies and one or two other things that promised to grow well with the minimum of care.

By Sunday night, I was pleased with my handiwork.

Now if it will just stay that way until this time next year, everything in the garden will, as they say, be just rosy!