He doesn't like to lose.
Young kids, little boys especially, are truly gifts from the heavens, with abundant energy, warm smiles, and a force beyond that which most moms can understand.
So, here's a primer on what you need to know about 9-year-old boys, so you can love them for exactly who they are and guide them toward who they will become:
1. He wants to snuggle as close to you as possible. All the time.
2. One day, that will change. But it may not be soon. And if it goes on for too long, his future girlfriends will really have a problem with you.
3. When he says he'll marry his mommy, he really means it.
4. And when he says he'll grow up and live with you forever, he believes it. Even if you don't.
5. He's genuinely sweet — so sweet that you just want to scoop him up and see no wrong with him. Even when it's there.
6. He feels things deeply. His ecstasy over a butterfly flittering across the soccer field is more heartfelt than you can imagine.
7. As are his tantrums, which are loud, passionate and long.
8. The only thing that can bring him back from an all-out passionate wailing session is your soft, loving voice ... followed by something sweet to eat.
9. He doesn't like to lose. This may be your fault for raising him to think everybody wins. But when his soccer team goes 0 for 10 games in a season, he'll never, ever, forget it.
10. The worst possible thing you could do is take him shopping. He'll whine and drag his feet and pout. But when you buy him clothes on your own time, he will insist that you should've known he no longer wears red.
11. He'll tell you he showered yesterday, when really it's been four days. He may be cute and cuddly, but he no longer smells like that sweet boy you remember.
12. It takes him a full three minutes to tie his shoes, which will have to be lined up perfectly by the door when he takes them off.
13. He can never remember to make his bed, pick up his discarded, dirty clothes from the floor, or put away ... anything.
14. Ice cream three or more times a day is normal. Really.
15. He believes you when you speak. About anything.
16. When he vows he'll never zipline/rockclimb/sleep over at a friend's, he really means he won't until he gathers the courage to do all of it and more. And it will take very little, like a family vacation with all the cousins climbing the rock wall or traversing the adventure course, to get him to try. And then he'll LOVE it and do it every day of the vacation.
17. He still loves to streak naked through the house and only giggles when his older siblings whine that they really don’t want to see it.
18. His favorite color is pink. And it's up to you to make that OK and gender-stigma-free.
19. He'll ask you question upon question because he believes you know everything, and if you say, "I don't know," you'll burst that bubble.
20. Some day soon he'll realize you don't know everything, so enjoy it while it lasts.
21. He loves good books, puzzles, any and every Lego set, and The Simpsons. But he'd be happy watching Tumblebooks, Caillou or The Muppets, were it not for the influence of his older siblings. Preserve his innocence as long as you possibly can.
22. He will play on your iPad/computer/iPhone/Wii for hours if you let him. But if you turn it off and tell him to jump on the trampoline, he'll literally be in heaven.
23. He needs to go to bed by 8 PM but he refuses. And you will pay for it.
24. He believes the world is built on goodness and people are kind, and he only wants to be friends with the nice kids.
25. Let him keep his quirks. And love him. Deeply.