By Amy Shearn, REDBOOK
We recently acquired three potted peonies and placed them in a window, and they immediately captured my daughter's imagination to the point of taking on personas-the tall yellow one was the daddy, the medium-sized pink one was the mommy, and the smaller pink one was their baby. "Oooh, I love my baby son!" the mother-flower was crooning. "My sweet baby boy! We love our son!"
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Apparently someone around here is a slightly overly effusive toward the boy child. And I'm not talking about the drooping houseplant in the windowbox.
It's true. I croon love songs in my son Alton's face. I call him ridiculous pet names. I feed him out of my mouth. (Just kidding!) He's pretty into me, too. As my daughter (and Lola) would say, "I'm his favorite and his best." But you know what? Kate Stone Lombardi thinks it's okay too, and she just wrote a book called The Mama's Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger.
Stone writes in Time about how "our culture warns us about the dangers of mother-son closeness." And though the world keeps telling us that being close with our sons will turn them into warped sissy-boys, according to Lombardi, the evidence says otherwise. This is excellent news, because just the other day my daughter said, "Wow, you really love that boy."
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Here are five reasons why it's totally okay if my son is a mama's boy:
1. My other child is a girl. So while I feel a heart-tingling, near-psychic connection with her, she's been known to say things like, "Mama, no comfy pants. Don't you have some blue jeans that fit?" And she's only three.
2. The aforementioned girl-child loves her brother, but she also views him as a big, drooling, game-messer-upper and attention-stealer. In a way I feel it's my duty to defend the poor kid. There has to be one person who loves you uncomplicatedly, right?
3. I think I might be a little afraid that as he gets older, my son and I will have less in common. I've never been one of those "Just one of the guys!" girls. Let's face it, I'm into ladies pastimes: tea parties, quiet reading sessions, and sorting buttons and ribbons-the kinds of thing my daughter likes to do. When Alton's older, he'll probably prefer hanging out with his father, playing basketball, slopping in mud, eating frogs or whatever it is boys do. At the moment, however, we can still bond over a game of "pull tissues out of the box," or a round of our mutual favorite "snuggling into pillows."
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4. He's my baby. No, I mean, literally. He's literally still a baby. Before I know it, he's going to be squirming away from squeezy hugs and saying things like, "Mom! Don't smooch my mouth in front of my friends! Or, like, ever!" So I might as well nom away on his chunky baby legs while I can.
5. According to Lombardi, mama's boys turn out to be sensitive, caring adult men. I happen to think the world needs more of those.
In conclusion, this blog post will never embarrass my son. Right, sweetie-pie-lovey-dovey-Allie-Wallie? Mama loves you!
Amy Shearn is the mother of two small children, and is the proprietress of Household Words, a blog about babies, books, and Brooklyn. She also writes for Oprah.com and MommyPoppins.com. Amy is the author of the novel How Far Is the Ocean From Here (Shaye Areheart/Crown 2008) and a forthcoming novel about, what else, a Brooklyn mother, which needs a title and will be published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, in 2013.
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