Little Boys / by Christina Rosalie

Dreaming of Treehouses 1. Treehouse, 2. Treehouse, 3. MAJ_The Ultimate Tree Fort II *, 4. 2nd February 2007, 5. Tree House, 6. DSC00145

We're building Bean a tree house and we're discovering that it's uncharted territory. DH never had a tree house. I grew up climbing trees with my sisters, and there were certainly a few make-shift tree forts that are scattered throughout my memory, but never a real honest tree house with a ladder and a roof.

Because neither of us have real experience we seem to get sucked into substituting nostalgia in its place, with dire consequences. Having spent most of my childhood with scraped knees and in trees, I picture a helter-skelter little tree nest tucked up in some branches with a few log stairs nailed into a tree trunk. DH's childhood was all about suburb sidewalks and and swimming pools and green lawns, so his image of the perfect tree house includes functional windows and an shingled roof.

Thus far we've settled on a platform built between three trees within eyesight of the kitchen window. Bean wants two stories, and a secret tunnel. I want to use logs from our property. DH wants everything to be built with two-by-sixes and six inch screws. We're a mess.

Really, I'm a mess. I am outnumbered, and this is becoming more and more apparent every day. I have no idea what to do with little boys, I am discovering. They are not like little girls (though apparently this might be my fault.) They like to be LOUD. They like to smash things, and run really fast, and make skid marks with dirt bikes and dangle from tree limbs. They like to make plastic alligators eat the heads off of Lego people, and they like to make sharks attack. They like to have their pancakes in the shape of monster faces, and if you make beets and polenta into a similar design (with the beets for bloody teeth) they will acquiesce and devour them.

Other than that, I have no idea what to do with little boys. Or specifically my little boy. My frog-catching, fearless, stubborn, shy, determined, goofy little boy who loves to use every 'big' word he hears, and who has an opinion about every single thing under the sun.

Take naps for example. What do you do with a little boy who is determined that he is beyond naps, but still desperately needs them? He becomes the monster when he's overtired--which is almost every afternoon. And what about refusing to wear certain articles of clothing? Or arguing about brushing teeth? Or? Basically, help. Mamas of boys, I need a primer, STAT. What are the top five most important things I should know/learn about parenting little boys? Because clearly, I'm in for it.

And also, about that tree house... What's your idea of a perfect tree house? What's essential? What's overkill?