Gender roles are ascendant among the Pelagic crew.
Alisa, looking a bit gobsmacked (as they say here) by the physiological rigors of first, parturition, and then, lactation, glanced up at me from her nursing station in the front room of our housesit the other day and said, "Oof, I feel like one giant breast."
Meanwhile, I have been spurred by the arrival of son number two, and the continuing, sometimes startling, precociousness of son number one, to think about what it takes to raise boys into balanced, capable, well-adjusted men.
Because, let's face it - if you're not careful (and often enough even if you are), one moment you have a delightful three year old boy, and the next you have a glue-sniffing sixteen year old wastrel on your hands.
So I've been thinking, in a disorganized sort of way, about what sorts of qualities I might try to instill in Elias and (eventually) Eric to help ease their path through teenagerhood, and to make them into the sorts of men that I can be proud of in my dotage.
Here's the first bit of essential male-ness that I came up with to pass along to the little fellows... Men Should Know the Score. They should know what's going on, in a practical, man-of-the-world sort of way. Men should be able to buy and sell things, they should have a grasp of how decisions are made in the world, and they should have a sense of how to bend those decisions in their direction.
Alisa is much too subtle and good-humored to ever roll her eyes at this sort of thing. But she is also of that part of the world that is a bit dubious of anything so broad as "essential male qualities". When I explained this to her I saw her eyes light up with a poorly-hidden smile that spoke volumes of her opinion about the whole thing.
Elias, meanwhile, is a beginning to identify with the male world. When I visit on the front verandah with a male friend he comes marching out of the house, hands thrust manfully into his pockets, shoulders swinging in a John Wayne sort of walk, to "hang out with the blokes".
But I'm not sure that he's quite ready to absorb my lessons on desirable male qualities - when he gets over-excited he runs around the house, yelling to Alisa and her mom, "I'm a bloke, so I know what's going on!"