* Warriors and dolls

Of all the toys a young warrior could request, my little Hercules begged me for a Polly Pockets doll. Of course I bought it for him, because my Hercules, he is very secure in his manhood. Nobody questions that.

He has a couple of other dolls, too, including a mermaid Barbie-like doll who used to join him in the tub. I think she got disemboweled or met some sort of tragic fate, but she was well-loved. Rio would probably own a lot more girl stuff if I let him, but, sadly, I have to draw the line somewhere.

It makes me sad that I can't buy him that pink and black and glittery backpack, or those boots with the fluffy pink fur lining that he wanted so badly. Not because I object to mixing boys and pink, but because I know that if he ever wore them to school he would be mercilessly ridiculed, if not attacked. And I'm not even worried about him getting beat up, because Hercules is more likely to come out on top (at least with kids his age). But I've been working much, much too hard to teach that kid some anger management, no way am I going to set him up to be the object of ridicule. He can't handle ridicule. If there's one sure way to ignite the wrath of Hercules, it's making fun of him.

I remember when Rio was three years old and we were trying desperately to master potty training or, more specifically, the art of pooping on the toilet. His Uncle Kurt was visiting and thought maybe he could embarrass Rio a little, and made some remark about how only babies poop their pants. It was just one remark, he didn't make a big deal out of it, but he wanted to exploit a little boy's desire to be like the big boys.

Rio promptly slapped him across the face as hard as he could. He knocked his glasses off. And Uncle Kurt, he is one big dude.

So yeah, I'm not concerned about Rio's manhood. Quite the contrary, I wouldn't mind toning it down a notch or two. But what I'm trying to come to grips with is that Rio is what he is. I cannot make him something he's not. He will never be one of those children who just does what he is told. He is mischievous, rebellious, and impertinent. Not because he's a boy, or because he's spoiled, but because he has a warrior spirit, and a cunning one at that.

A few hundred years ago or so, boys like Rio had a place in their clan. They were praised and encouraged and their warrior spirit was celebrated. They were fearless defenders of their tribe, leaders of men, fearsome enemies. Now, I'm afraid, it's more difficult for young warriors to find their way in this world. As a result, most of them are on Ritalin.

It's a tough situation for a mother like myself. I don't want my Hercules to grow up to be some ego-driven power-tripping bully (even though one of them managed to become president) who thinks that might makes right. I think a warrior can also be compassionate as well as mighty, be gentle as well as fearsome, be merciful as well as powerful.

I guess that's why I've got him into a martial arts program. I'm starting him out in Tae Kwon Do, but I'm hoping that as he gets more mature I can stear him toward Aikido. He's already captured the heart of the woman who runs the office at the dojo. She's put all four of her kids through the program, and at least two of them were medicated for behavior issues at one time or another. She claims that martial arts worked better than any of the drugs, and she is a strong proponent of martial arts for kids. She told me the other day that she's been talking about Rio all over town, just because he's stolen her heart. She has a soft spot for active boys, she says. I said, well then, Rio's your man!

As for Rio, he just says "I LOOOVE girls, don't I Mama?"

But that's another story, another blog post:)

* Spring Arts Program

Spring Arts Program
Originally uploaded by Renee May.
This is a shot from Rio's Spring Arts Program at his new school. That's him in the very center. He looks like he's wearing all black, but it's really navy blue.

As you have noticed, I'm not being overly attached to frequent posts! Although this may disappoint some of you and drive others away, it's working very well for me. In fact, I have always favored the photoblog format and this may sort of evolve into a Rio photoblog. I don't really know. I guess I just won't be attached to any sort of format, I'll just do whatever works.

Rio continues to do well at his new school, although he did some backsliding after Spring Break. No big surprise there, seeing as how he got to spend the whole week watching TV and eating burgers with his Papa. Going back to the structure of school was a bit difficult, but his teacher was able to turn it around again by the end of the week. She is fantastic! She's really great at emphasizing the positive and trying to make Rio feel good about school. That seems to be making a huge difference.

So I gotta run and get Rio to an appointment with his counselor today. Hasta luego amigos!