Pokemon cards. Uh. Where do I begin. If you have little kids (boys in particular), I bet you find pokemon cards in your house like you find Christmas tree needles in July. They are everywhere and I swear they spawn. It is no wonder we can’t catch them all, we can’t even keep the cards in one single place.
Just like a house of cards, when dealing with pokemon cards, they can make other parts of your daily lives come crashing down in not careful.
Those little cards will brainwash and distract your kids from doing the simplest of things. They also will take their powers of annoyance outside of your house and infiltrate school, after school, friends houses and anywhere they sneak them in like contraband.
Raising one kid is challenging. Raising two, well it doubles the fun. We have two boys who are six and three. But the three years between them can be much closer or much further depending on the situation. Sometimes our youngest acts older to move towards his brother, sometimes our oldest reverts because he sees what can be gotten acting more toddler like. It’s a giant learning experience for us all.
So how does a very present aspect of our household (TV/Netflix) actually become a learning tool for the boys when they are at two very different ages? What conversations are sparked? Can they enjoy different shows as well as find common ground?
That was the question put forth for the #streamteam crew this month.
Being a dad to two boys is still a work in progress, but after almost six years of parenting, there are definitely some similarities to our boys.
For the most part, they follow the same path in terms of what they love and what they hate. Each phase can come at a different age and time of the year, but the topic is the same.
Based on talking to other parents who have young boys, they also confirm that the phases their boys go through have been very similar.
Hell, many of these phases, I went through myself over 30 years ago. Some things never change I guess.
Here are 20 phases that boys go through that never seem to change.
1. The Sesame Street phase – Our youngest is deep in this phase as we speak. He loves Sesame or “cookie” as he calls it. Sesame Street is timeless. It is an educational show that we have no problem letting our boys binge watch. I was pretty happy to find 30 minute versions on Netflix. They are easy to fit in before school or before dinner when everyone just needs some time to do what they need to do.
2. I hate food phase – This phase can be a little longer than some and also come back just when you thought it was gone. Both our boys starting out as little machines that ate anything that was put in front of them. But eventually, they got with the program of their peers and turned into “I only eat battered food” soldiers. Partly why I am filing this under a phase is I am being optimistic that it ends.
3. Being an animal phase – We encourage imagination as much as possible, but you don’t have to do much for your kids wanting to be animals. Our oldest went through a stage of being a cat. He was a cat for Halloween and likes to lay on the couch like a cat sometimes. Other animals we have experienced include a monkey, a hawk and a frog.
4. I only like to wear one type of clothes phase – Our oldest in is this phase. He only likes to wear “cool pants”, which basically consist of track pants. My parents will remember that for me, this phase lasted years and I was much older. Every day I tell Harry his clothes are out for him and every day he asks if I gave him cool pants. Sadly some days you just have to wear slacks.
5. The Thomas phase – Genius creation for a life long source of income. Kids have been loving all things Thomas for so long, I am amazed it’s still going strong. Our oldest certainly was into busting his buffers more than our youngest, but that probably as a lot to do with wanting to be into what big brother is into. It also helps that we have the toys already from our first trip down the train tracks. Netflix is keeping this phase alive much longer than it is needed in my opinion. That Gordon is an ass hat.
6. The Superhero Phase – Love the superhero phase. It is like reliving my youth. Plus the stuff these day is way cooler and way easier to access. You name your flavour and it’s everywhere. When I was little you were forced to really love Superman, Batman or Spiderman. Now kids can branch out to the most obscure hero there is. The Justice League is great for giving attention to the fringe heroes. Our boys though are still mostly into Batman and Superman.
7. The Lego phase – Again, I was thrilled when our boys hit the Lego loving stage. I got my stash as a kid and gave it to them to go crazy with. They spend so much time building the craziest pieces of art. Lego is phase that has never died for me and I hope it is the same for the boys. Again, I never had access to all these modern day kids. Building so many cool trucks, cars, ships and more is a great bonus to having kids.
8. The Star Wars phase – It’s like boys were born with a chip in their head that helped them learn about Star Wars before they knew it was a real thing. Before ever seeing the movie, our oldest knew all the characters and who was good or evil. Lego has a lot to do with that for sure, but it’s like he just knew it, like he knew how to one day walk. Again, it is such a treat to get to live the Star Wars thing all over again with the boys. I also find cool that the movie still holds water after close to 40 years. Must be the force.
9. The Dinosaur phase – This might have been my favourite phase as a kid. Dinosaurs are pretty much the coolest thing and T-Rex was their Don Draper. We have dinosaurs all over the house. Big ones, little ones, stuffed ones, ones that transform and ones that roar. You ask either one of our sons if they are a dinosaur and they will roar on cue no matter the situation. Wait until I can turn them on to being a Toronto Raptors fan.
10. The Pirate phase – Arrrh maties, yes you know this phase. Every boy has had a pirate birthday party. Eye patches, gold coins and parrots that sit on your shoulder. These are not the pirates from Captain Phillips or the ones that help us download free movies. These are the cartoony pirates like from Goonies. Nothing like listening to the boys walk around the house talking about walking the plank or looking for their bounty.
11. The Power Ranger Phase – Go go Power Rangers. Again, Netflix really brought this back into my life. Harry went through a phase of watching each version of the horrible live action show. Then the trading cards came into play. Then the costumes, dolls and back to the show. Harry always seemed to love the Red Ranger, but it changed depending on his mood. This phase is by far the one I figured would have ended long ago. It’s so bad. Why are parents letting this continue?
12. The Pokemon phase – Or as I call it, their first taste of learning about supply and demand. The cartoon was just a vehicle to what the boys really got hooked on, the trading cards. Wow. If you have not been through it yet, get ready. It takes on a life of its own. Our son’s teacher refers to those cards as contraband. Every boy (and girl) seems to go to school with a few cards and come home with more, less or different ones each day. For us, the phase seems to have ended, but when I see 10-year-old kids on the streetcar still talking about it, I am sure it will return.
13. I figured out how to play parents phase – Again, call be stupid, but I am hoping this is a phase. Our oldest has moved towards this period of life where he bounces back between parents until he gets the answer he wants. For the most part he fails as he does not do it quietly. Dude we can hear you. But he has pulled off a few capers and scored more game time, snack time or TV time.
14. I want to be a baby again phase – We have seen this with both our boys. This is especially true if there is a new-born in the mix. I mean who wouldn’t want to be treated like a baby again. You don’t have to do anything. You get carried, fed, cuddled and have all your demands met without question. We are starting to think our youngest does not want to leave the phase because we can’t get him out of his crib. I guess one day he will discover how much more comfortable an actual bed can be.
15. The hockey card phase – We have not experienced this one yet but like higher interest rates, we know it is coming. I have all of my cards still from when I was a kid, so I am sure all it would take is seeing those and Harry would be hooked. This can include baseball cards as well. Sadly, the gum is no longer. Loved that shitty powdery stick gum.
16. The digging giant hole phase – It could be the beach, park or backyard, every boy loves to dig holes. The deeper the better. They still believe that they can dig so deep they will come out the other side. Once the snow melts and the ground thaws, our two will be outside digging a hole somewhere. All we can do as parents is provide them with the best buckets and shovels possible.
17. The taking random things in their pockets everywhere phase – We can’t leave the house without either of our boys trying to stuff something in their pockets. I think they feel it’s a test at how well we are paying attention. Nothing like getting a note from a teacher about your kid bringing weird stuff to school and disrupting class. Harry once smuggled a fancy bracelet to school. It’s mostly random Lego pieces these days.
18. The Cars phase – Another franchise that has run through two kids. Lightning McQueen is a legend. There is nothing left to say.
19. The favourite stuffy/blanket phase – For our oldest it was this grungy hamster stuffy that he called baby. Baby stuck around for years. He could not sleep without baby. Let’s not lose baby. Where the hell is baby? Thankfully that phase ended. Baby is in a toy bin somewhere, never to be seen again. With Charlie, his thing is his blue blanket. He is very much a Linus, walking around the house with it. He is also the only one who can handle how it smells. $20 bucks to whoever can inhale that and keep their lunch.
20. The kicking/hitting/scratching/biting phase – Towards each other, I bet this phase never ends. That is the life of a brother. But the phase both boys went through was directed at mom. They both liked to hit, punch, head butt, bit and generally be rough with her. Katie took some beatings. It’s hard work being a mom to two boys. Thankfully other than the occasional tantrum this phase has ended. I wonder at what age it will be dad’s turn to be a punching bag?
Did I miss some? Can you relate to some? What are your thoughts on the 20 phases that boys go through? What phases are still to come? Be gentle.