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When I had my fifth son, friends and relatives seemed to think they had to console me. Maybe they needed to – after all, I was overwhelmed….and it must have showed.
Apparently, moms of boys (and especially those moms with no girls) are deserving of sympathy.
You see, back in those frantic days, it would have been really nice had I had the book, “Boy Oh Boy!” – Beily Paluch’s guide for mothers about the wonderful world of boys. Because if I had read this adorable and helpful book, maybe I would have breen more secure in my role as mom of boys.
If nothing else, maybe I would have been confident enough to let the annoying comments roll off my tired and harried back.
“Just think, you’ll have five wonderful daughters-in-law!”
Or: “Now you have a basketball team!.”
Yup – just a few of the comments from well-meaning friends, acquaintances and yes, even family.
Truth is, I wanted to tell them how if I had a girl (wishful thinking?), I basically wouldn’t know what to do with her. So, thank you very much. I’m fine. But sadly, I was too tired of making lists, figuring things out, and bumbling along to even respond to these (deep down) very nice people.
Those five sons (bless them) grew up…some are married (yes, to lovely young ladies) along with several grandsons. Through it all, I learned a lot. On the job.
I learned about the various Jewish-related customs that are special to being a mom of boys.
The bris (circumcision), the Bar Mitzvah, and lots of other boy-related events in between. Not to mention the various quirks and personality traits that are unique to boys, all leading me to conclude that I (the only female in this male dominated family) am from a different planet than my husband and sons (and grandsons).
So when I recently read this candidly written book by a mom of many boys (with even a girl thrown in there for good measure!), I felt compelled to share it here on my blog.
First, it’s hard to believe Mrs. Paluch has figured all this out with her oldest being (only) sixteen. It took me double that time to figure stuff out about my boys!
She’s got lists of books as resources for every stage a little boy goes through. She discusses every stage a Jewish child passes through from his first day of “yeshiva” (school), to his completion celebration (known as a “siyum”) of a chapter in school of the Torah (Bible), and many other milestones in between.
I reminisced the good-ol’ days (ha!), and thought “hey, we did that too with our boys!” – leading me to realize that as time moves on from generation to generation, some things never change.
I particularly had fond memories of the “Motozei Shabbos” (Saturday night) Father-son program, which actually was started (to my knowledge) in the mid 1980’s when our oldest was beginning first grade. I recall the rabbi of our boys’ youth group (known as “Pirchei”) had all the fathers and sons gather together each Saturday night at a huge hall where the fathers would review their child’s studies with them. It was a fun-filled evening complete with raffles, prizes and pizza.
And these days, our son takes his own son to that same program. It just boggles my mind how time moves on…and history repeats itself. Based on her own experiences and research, the author covers various trends and customs of raising sons in a Jewish world.
For example, she offers tips on what to do when a newborn baby has jaundice and the circumcision is delayed. Other topics include the frenzy of getting one’s child into the best school, and she relates a personal anecdote about her first phone call when her oldest son was born. The call was made (rather than to her mom or mother-in-law), to the school’s administration so that she could secure a place for her newborn baby in that coveted school in five years.
I loved this book for the thoroughness and detail. The author covers customs followed when cutting their little boy’s hair for the first time at age three. Known as the “upsherin,” this custom is popular amongst certain Jewish sects. The author relates the spiritual background for this custom, the practical and educational aspects and the psychological ramifications. For example, if the child is not properly prepared for the haircutting event and photos, he will be frightened. The author brings awareness to that facet.
“Boy Oh Boy!” is a page turner. I read it in only several sittings (with my busy schedule with my grandsons). The book technically covers topics from “bris to bar mitzvah” but actually covers lots of topics that are relevant to raising boys even after that age.
From how to get your kids’ shirt clean to the benefits of being an involved and supportive parent, to how to organize fun groups, play dates and carnivals, the author leaves no stone unturned.
“Boy Oh Boy!” is a great resource for any mom of boys, and makes a wonderful gift for new or experienced moms. Humorous anecdotes, common sense, insights from someone who really has her finger on the pulse of little boys are benefits gained from reading the book. “What to expect as a mom of boys,” tips and routines combine to make this a great addition to a family’s library.
Please share below any of your experiences as a mom of boys. Do you have any special stories to tell? Let us know. I’d love to read about it.
“Boy Oh Boy!” is available where Jewish books are sold, and from Feldheim Publishers. For pointers, tips, and folicking fun about raising boys, check out Mrs. Paluch’s Boy-Oh-Boy blog. You’ll be happy you did!
And don’t forget to share your experiences below!
Tags: bar mitzvah, Beily Paluch, Boy oh Boy book, bris, Feldheim Publishers, moms of boys, raising boys, upsherin