Boys DO cry!

22 Feb

On Monday, I got a call to come pick up my three year old son from preschool because he had a low-grade fever and in the words of his teacher, “Just isn’t acting his nomal self.” I arrived at the school 15 minutes later. The first people that I encountered were staff, who aware of Aidan’s condition, were awaiting my arrival. I was then ushered up the stairs to his classroom where I found all 15 littles boys and girls (Aidan included) calmly sitting around the table eating their lunch.

And that’s when it happened.

Other students saw me before Aidan did and they asked their teacher a perfectly normal question, “Who is that?” And their teacher gave a perfectly acceptable answer, “That’s Aidan’s Mommy.”

I rounded the corner and caught Aidan’s eye.

And then it hit.

A fraction of a second before I caught his gaze, Aidan was just another normal little boy eating his lunch. But as soon as our eyes locked his tears began and he called out a quiet yet happy “Mommy” as he made his way toward me. At that exact moment, I was remembering those myriad of times that I was feeling crap but managed to hold it all together until I ran into someone from whom I could not hide the truth. And that’s exactly what it felt like that day; like I was the one person from whom my three-year could not hide the truth. Despite that he’d been doing his best to hide from his teacher and classmates all day that he was feeling bad…he couldn’t hide it from his mommy. His sobs seemed to come from a deep place of relief. And I was happy to catch them.

We went home. He went to sleep and I would have thought that it would have been all over. But no.

Later that day, after he’d woken up from his nap, he needed to go ‘pee pee’. He was a little hesitant to go to the potty this time and then he said “it”. It was hard for me to digest. He said, dejectedly, “Aidan crying.”

A light bulb went off for me. He was embarrassed about having cried. While I was comforting him at school, I remember hearing some of the other kids saying, “Aidan crying.” Like it was a putdown,  a weakness. How do other 2 and 3 year olds learn so early to equate crying with weakness? With failure?

While his Daddy and I employ a “shake it off”  policy when he accidentally trips and falls down, we DO NOT and NEVER WILL endorse a ‘no crying’ policy for our boys.

How do you feel about the subject?


One Response to “Boys DO cry!”

  1. nicola baird February 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    Poor Aidan, sounds like he was really feeling ill and out of character. I think you are right crying is fine – boys or girls (and actually it’s a far better emotion than lashing out). But personally I feel very uncomfortable when confronted with a little child crying and always do my best to stop them, as often as not by distraction. As a result I can’t remember my girls crying while they were growing up (but their dad says of course they did!).

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