Feed on

He’s starting to get aggro. For the last two months, a huge part of Simon’s leisure time has involved wrestling with Matt. He thrashes, kicks and punches (lightly), and generally never gives his dad a moment’s peace. In Hilton Head, Uncle Dan was on the receiving on the assault pretty much non-stop for the entire week and never once lost his cool. Matt and I think he deserved some kind of medal for not flipping out; he definitely earned his Uncle stripes!

This isn’t to say that Simon is getting violent. I know it sounds crazy, but all the thrashing and kicking is done with a smile on his face and no malice aforethought. He’s still lovely to animals, crazy about babies, and friends with girls. Simon doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but he’s certainly getting much more physical in the way he wants to play—especially with boys or men— and he needs to learn proper boundaries.

And have I mentioned that he’s started to growl? When he gets worked up or is play-acting, we hear a more than occasional “grrrr” coming from him. It has a slight trill to it and has become a regular vocalization. Matt’s the one who noticed this change, and he’s also the one who remembers our nephew Ben doing the same thing at this age. When I think back to our earliest years in Ann Arbor, our friend Tim’s young son Ian exhibited much the same behavior.

It’s got to be a testosterone surge, right? The same thing that’s putting thicker hair on his legs, putting a little bit of muscle on his legs, and ever-so-slightly deepening his voice? I’ve read that hormone surges are a part of the fuel behind Middle Childhood, something we started seeing last summer. Back then, the changes were mostly cognitive, with some added coordination thrown in for fun. Now I think we’re about ready to put the serious “boy” in boyhood. I also strongly suspect that while I will stay in the picture and be Simon’s primary emotional and physical caretaker, that his increasing preference for his Dad, grandfathers, and uncles is the new normal.

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