Yesterday I had two encounters with this little phrase and it got me thinking. "He's all boy" has bugged me before every now and then in little ways, but yesterday really made me wonder, "What are we talking about??"
I took the kids to the park and we met this sweet mom with her two boys. Her oldest was 8 1/2 and just a darling boy. So caring and kind, just wanted to play with my kids and share his bubbles with them, concerned about them if they cried, so sweet. His little brother was 2 1/2 and while still very sweet, also in that experimental, boundary pushing phase. We had brought a plastic bat and a large bouncy ball with us, and after playing with the ball for a while, the boy decided to see how well it would bounce off Evan's head. If you know my son at all, you know that didn't go over particularly well (tears and "I don't like that!!"). Just a bit later the boy took the plastic bat and proceeded to bonk Charlie repeatedly on the head with it. The mother apologized profusely and threw out those magic little words, "He's just all boy!"
For just a tic, it made me think...what do we mean when we say that? I know the general idea that surrounds that phrase that I'm supposed to pick up, but really, what are we saying there?
Then later that evening someone commented on my son's scraped up knee, "Look at his knee (chuckle), he's just all boy", I laughingly pointed out that Charlie had a matching scrape on her same knee from climbing the same dirt hill before I could catch myself and think, "Wait, does that infer that she is also 'all boy'?"
It's one of those silly things that rolls around in your head needlessly. In all my spare time (insert emoji crying-laughing here), I think I figured out what we're saying with this colloquialism. We use it when a boy is running around like crazy, being aggressive, hurting themselves, being loud, doing something physical with little to no thought of harm to himself or others. It's a very physical, loud, unaware boy, this All Boy, boy. So we're saying the essence of being a boy is kind of a very primal (or caveman like) idiot of sorts. We also use it to excuse behavior, I've noticed. For example, the hitting of my daughter with the bat. While I don't think that action made him a "bad kid" or anything like that at all, I think it made him a curious toddler quite honestly, I don't really know why we excuse the behavior with that saying. It's just weird, no?
I'm not trying to get all hyper-feminist on us all either, because I actually do think that the true meaning of "he's all boy" is actually pretty legit. While I do see my daughter doing some "boyish" things - she's much louder than my son, looooooves wrestling, and scrapes her knees climbing in-conquerable dirt hills, I can recognize that these behaviors in their extremes are mostly found in young boys. Yes, when my son does any of the previously mentioned things (being aggressive, not thinking about consequences...) I do think that when it's not simply him being a toddler of any gender, it is the fact that he is reverting to his primal, caveman, idiot manhood.
I suppose at the end of all this, I have to say...1) I am glad I'm not a boy. 2) I'm glad my son is not "all boy" but...partially girl? Huh. He's kind and more often than not, thinks about how others will feel, smart, and sensitive. And 3) I need more adult conversation in my life.
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