I’ve given birth only to boys. I believe I am more likely to give birth to a purple unicorn that farts glitter than I am to give birth to a girl. I always thought I’d have at least one girl, but my dreams of nail-painting Saturday nights in tutus and tiaras have been replaced with a reality full of dirt, penises, and trucks.
Life with boys has taught me a number of things. Above all else, you have to be able to laugh. At yourself and at them. Because if you are going to stress when your four-year-old boy goes through a phase of wearing only a superhero cape and a mask to the grocery store (My son will pull a Kate Winslet and tell me, “I want to go grocery shopping wearing this. Wearing only this.”), raising a boy will be a very long 46 years.
Here are a few universal truths I’ve had to learn as a mom of boys:
Boys Name EVERYTHING
We have “Rick” the dinosaur, “Mr. Frog” the (dead) frog and “Mr. Worm” the – you guessed it – (dead and even petrified) worm. Everything and everybody gets a name. I imagine girls name things, too. Like, butterflies and flowers. But do they name body parts? Because I have been introduced to “Peeper Peeper McDoodles” and instructed specifically to communicate with Peeper any time I want my four-year-old to use the bathroom or put on clean underwear. If it isn’t obvious, Mr. McDoodles is my kid’s penis.
If It’s Yellow They Let It Mellow
I blame my oldest boy (my husband) for this one. My son walks out of the bathroom chanting “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” No. Just, no. If you use my toilet, flush it. I tried to explain why pee left in the toilet makes mommy crazy (the smell, the stain…) and this only encouraged my boys to up the ante. Nothing gives them more satisfaction than leaving me a bowl of highlighter-yellow asparagus pee. One saving grace is that the toilet is typically last on the list of places my boys like to pee.
And If It’s Brown, Well . . .
Leaving poop in the toilet is not nearly as much an issue because my son rarely uses the toilet to poop. He loves to poop in the woods. Occasionally he’ll poop on the lawn. He’ll pretty much drop trou and poop anytime the urge strikes UNLESS we’re in a situation that would require him to do so. Then, he needs an effing bidet. I don’t have any empirical evidence, but my gut says girls do not do this. I mean, I know girls poop too, but in my mind they poop rose petals and fart fairy dust. Boys also derive from their turds an extraordinary sense of pride and accomplishment. I remember the first time I left my son to poop on his own – hearing his screaming from the bathroom, I went running to his aid only to find him jumping up and down and pointing in the toilet: “Mommy, look at the size of THIS one!” I suppose I should be proud (and to be honest, it was impressive . . . )
‘The Great Outdoors’ Inevitably Find Their Way Indoors
I’m all for getting close to nature, but when it comes to noxious odors and unsanitary conditions, I have to draw the line somewhere. Somehow, Mr. Worms and Mr. Frogs – along with a colony of their dead relatives – manage to take up residence inside long before I discover they’re there. A Mr. Worm was sealed in a jar under my car seat and A Mr. Frog and friends were in a glass under my son’s bed. I explained “natural habitat” to my son. The result is a minefield of branches, rocks, and insects in my living room.
Lego Minefields Everywhere
Speaking of minefields. If you’ve ever stepped on a Lego in bare feet, you know what I’m talking about here. Bonus points if you’ve done it in the dark and tripped and landed on a second Lego piece. We have Legos all over the damn place. In the shower, in the bed, in my pool filter. I stupidly bought a “Lego suitcase” thinking that would keep them all in one place. No. And here’s a little piece of Lego trivia for you: Legos do float in the toilet. Ask me how I know.
Naked. All The Damned Time
Despite appearances, my home is not the set of Naked and Afraid. We are not running a nudist colony or even actively encouraging exhibitionism. And yet, my kid wants to be naked around the clock. He is disappointed any time we have company and I require him to dress himself. He refuses even to wear undies while sliding down his sliding board, or wear a bathing suit in the pool. I am told it’s just a phase but every time he comes running naked to the dinner table I am reminded of Will Ferrell in Old School. I think this “phase” could follow him well into his thirties.
Wrestle Mania All The Time
I’ve accepted, but will never get this one. Boys love to wrestle. If I didn’t learn this in Kindergarten or at college frat parties, I know now. I swear my sons were born and the second (maybe even the first) thought in my husband’s head was “Dude! Another guy to wrestle with!” The need to wrestle is as much nurture as it is nature. In our house, wrestling is an acceptable excuse from the dinner table. I’m just a casual observer but to me it looks chaotic and painful. Thank God my husband is the one to humor their need to roll around on the floor until something gets knocked over or breaks.
They Cry About The Stupidest Shit
There’s a reason “Reasons My Son Is Crying” is a thing. In the span of 15 minutes, my son cried because I would not let him use my mascara to paint “hair” on his bald baby brother, and because I would not allow him to eat an ice pop for dinner. Now, look – I get that girls cry, too, and probably for what seem like dumb reasons. But they are also more likely to put stuff away in their database, only to be brought out later for a monumental explosion. Boys just put it all out there. No drama, just ugly cries. And not for reasons worthy of ugly cries.
Construction Sites Are Like Quicksand For Their Attention
If it runs like a Deere or is yellow like a Caterpillar, it has my son’s unwavering attention. Even Oreos can’t hold his interest like a 30-ton piece of equipment digging a hole. He could watch a crane boom swing for hours and will spend all day imitating them: “Mommy, you be the excavator and I’m the back hoe!” That gaper delay (known in some parts of the country as “rubbernecking”) traffic going by the construction site on I-95? It is highly likely the leader of the backup is a mom . . . with a car of boys.
I am not complaining about my life with boys. It is delightfully chaotic, funny, and fun, and I can’t imagine it any other way. Boys are intensely loyal and loving. There is never a dull moment or an empty laundry basket in a house of boys. I may never know what it’s like to have a girl, but I wouldn’t know what to do with one anyway.