Friday, December 11, 2009

The Truth About Raising Boys

1. People will say things like "You live in a zoo." This is totally untrue. A zoo has paid staff to clean up the messes, people willing to give you popcorn and cotton candy, and, most importantly, cages that actually keep the dangerous animals where they belong. YOUR life is a safari. Think of it as a wild, dangerous adventure through mostly uncharted, crocodile-infested waters with breath-taking rapids, incredible scenery, and zero bug-repellent.

And poo jokes. Lots of poo jokes.

2. People will say raising boys is easier than raising girls. This is also untrue. It's not that boys are harder, it's that they are different. Comparing the two is like comparing downhill skiing with riding a sled coated in Crisco down the sheet of ice currently adorning your roof. Both are a wild thrill but only one has ALMOST CERTAIN DEATH as a viable side-effect. Boys' brains are flooded with testosterone before birth. This short-circuits every thought-pattern that doesn't end with them trying to achieve world domination through death. Theirs or someone else's. They aren't particularly picky.

3. People will say boys aren't nearly as emotional as girls. This is nonsense spouted by those who don't understand how to recognize emotion in boys. Girls get upset and scream, cry, pull out someone's hair, or go sulk in their room with their cell phone. Boys get upset and shoot their brother in the face with a Nerf shotgun, explode a can of leftover paint on the neighbor's driveway, and do their best to burn down everything in a seven-block radius. If you're pregnant with a boy, go ahead and add riot gear to your baby shower registry. And liability insurance. And a lifetime supply of chocolate.

4. People will say unenlightened things like "Why do you have a lock on the OUTSIDE of your son's bedroom door" or "Who hides their chef knives behind the bags of frozen peas in the freezer?" These people do not understand that you are doing what you must for the good of society. And so you don't exceed your daily ration of Prozac.

5. People will balk at the noise level in your house and ask you how you can possibly tune out something that sounds like a herd of moose challenged a rabid parrot and a hormonally-challenged pack of hyenas to the war of the century. They don't realize that your noise-tolerance has grown along with your children as an act of self-defense. You are now skilled in recognizing the "I'm bleeding and probably broke fifteen bones" scream from the "You opened the bathroom door while I was peeing and now you must die" scream. It's all in the nuances.

6. People will remark on your children's behavior while you are out in public. If your boys have been replaced by aliens and are acting like perfect gentlemen, people will think you are Mother of the Year. It's okay to accept these accolades under false pretenses. It won't be long before the aliens grow tired of risking life and limb and find another host. When your non-alien infested boys let loose in a grocery store, burping the alphabet while trying to pop a wheelie with a cart full of soup cans all while remarking at top volume that the man in front of you MUST be pregnant, you are left with three options. A) Run. B) Pray a hole opens up and swallows you and when it doesn't, run. C) Have in place a Family Emergency Plan For When Boys Are Boys In Public (FEPFWBABIP for short). This is easy to implement. You simply give the agreed-upon cue (a blast from an air-horn usually does the trick) and the boys scatter, meeting up at the car in five minutes. Those precious five minutes are enough for you to deny you've ever given birth to a boy to every onlooker on the premises. To really sell it, buy something pink. Anything pink.

7. People will think you're joking when you say you wear a hazmet suit to clean your boys' rooms. Of course you were joking. You don't wear a hazmet suit to clean your boys' rooms. You wear two. You know this is a necessity of life since while boys understand a myriad of fascinating, wonderful things like architecture, skateboarding, and the quantum physics needed to force their younger brother into the hamper, they don't understand clean. They use dirty socks as bookmarks. They hide half-eaten snacks under their mattress. They load the blades of their ceiling fan with legos and wait for you to turn it on for the day's entertainment. You take your life in your hands every time you cross through the doorway into their bedroom.

8. People who understand items 1-7 will mistakenly offer you their sympathy when they hear you have a household full of boys. This sympathy is misplaced. Yes, boys are loud. Yes, they get creative with glue sticks, popcorn, and the family dog. Yes, they once held a Pee For Distance contest in the middle of the cul de sac while every neighbor was out on their front porch. But you wouldn't trade one second of your adventure because boys are also enthusiastic, affectionate, smart, funny, talented, and endlessly entertaining.

Even when what they're doing will probably lead to someone's imminent demise.


  1. I rt'd this. It is awesome and true. Although if I could trade one thing in it would be the peeing everywhere in the bathroom but in the toilet water. The bathroom reeks!!

  2. I only have one boy. 4 girls, but one boy. Sometimes I wonder how that's going to turn out. Really.

    But I can tell you, there are times, my one boy makes one me feel hopelessly outnumbered.

  3. #5 perfectly explains something I experienced this very afternoon. As I was paying the plumber (not a euphemism) a loud crash followed by angry screams echoed through my house.
    "Do you need to go check that out?" Mr. Plumber asked nervously. "Nope," I replied as I calmly wrote my check. "That's the 'my brother just pushed me off the couch and I'm totally pissed but not actually hurt' scream."

    Of course there is also the 'I'm seeing how loud and long I can scream before you start pulling your hair out strand by strand' scream, and the scream that eventually turns into the intro to Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song.'

    But as you say, its all in the nuances.

  4. Now I really can't WAIT to get there! I'm sure we will get along very well considering all of that sounds riotously entertaining...and I have a few ideas of my own.

  5. could you have hit that any closer to the mark..... kudos my dear..... and yes I have a household full of boys... and one little demon spawn, I mean lovely little girl..... well done..

  6. I'm glad I waited until today to read this. Yesterday, I was too busy throwing the toaster with flaming/smoking toast (and, I suspect, other things) out into the frosty grass. My 3 yo son had decided to plug it in and toast some things. I did notice that by the time I tracked the smoke trail to him, he'd unplugged it and was standing six feet away.

    I love this life.

  7. And then they grow up...fall in love with a beautiful woman....and they get to "enjoy" the wonders of raising boys. NM Mom

  8. I don't have kids yet but I babysit a lot and know hows are --this was hilarious!

  9. clearly too tired to make sense--I meant how things are

  10. Came over from Myra's.

    I have 4 boys, 8 and under. Could hardly make it to the end without crying. This is hysterical and oh so true. Thanks a million.

    I know I'm in trouble when they are all in the bathroom and I hear "Ready, Set, Go!"

    Us moms of males need to stick together.

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  12. Thank God my son is not like that. Because I wouldn't know what to do. How does one get any quiet time to write in a household full of crazy boys?

    We are blessed with a quiet, clean (he refused to fingerpaint as a toddler because he didn't want to get his hands dirty), bookish boy who excels at math, reading, and yes, making up stories. He loves to write stories! And we live in LegoLand. And the Star Wars universe. I mean it's like LITERALLY living in Star Wars all day.

    But I actually got him a dog this year to liven up our household. I'm serious... it was like a morgue around here, it was so quiet. Unnatural, I say. Now he laughs and plays with our rascally rescue pup.

    This is partly because my husband is a 250-lb construction worker who doesn't put up with any nonsense. When he tells you to stop doing something, it's like the voice of God parting the Red Sea. Some boys would defy such a strong father figure, but my son is more compliant. Thankfully. I don't think I could handle that much conflict outside of fiction!

    People compliment me on my son's behavior all the time. I always say, "He came that way."

  13. Perfectly stated. I'd have to second Xjaeva's comment. You'd think being shorter, thus closer in distance to the toilet bowl they could hit the water. I'm considering converting the bathtub to a urinal. I cannot wait to move to a bigger house with a parents only (or better yet MOM ONLY bathroom!!!) so I can bathe without the odor of urine polluting my attempt at a serene relaxing moment.

  14. This was great! Reminds me of the time my oldest son (I am blessed with 3) decided that instead of a cooperative effort to cut the back lawn, they should do a controlled BURN! There is hope... he is now a 24 year old FIREFIGHTER! LOL Whoo! You gotta love 'em.

  15. Inspired. As the mom of two boys, 3 1/2 and 2, I must say, this is so true. 3yo is emotional and totally unsneaky, 2yo is evil mastermind and little brother extraordinaire.

    Much of the nuanced screams. Screams that mean, he's looking at me, he's touching the corner of my blanket, he stole my milk...little one stays quiet, self-satisfied smile on his face.

  16. My boys are 13 and 15 now, but I'm sad to tell you that the chaos doesn't really dissipate as they get older, it just evolves into drama. The kind of drama you watch on MTV's Real World and categorize as "preposterous and non-existent." Nope. It exists. Right in the heart of a 13 year old boy with one foot in adulthood, and the other back in ninja-make-believe-land. And it's every bit as maddening as it sounds - - for him AND everyone else in the household. ;)

  17. I've got 4 and can relate. I had to laugh at the "You opened the bathroom door while I was peeing and now you must die" scream I hear that often in my house from my oldest. And I am glad I am not the only one with a reeking bathroom....I think replacing the toilet and floor in there might only help the time we move I am going to seal all places around and under the tub/toilet/sink so that it cannot seep under there....

  18. This is just what I needed today. Thank you.

    While reading this my children have determined that I lost my mind. Why else would Mom be laughing so hard that she was crying. :)

  19. Fabulous!!! I can totally relate, I have one lively, gorgeous, absolute pain in the bum 6 yr old and I wouldn't change him for the world.

    Peeing everywhere is an artform to him! His latest is to not bother lifting the seat and aiming through the hole with the light off - usually 10 minutes before I get up and go - Yes I have a wet bum on a regular basis courtesy of this little quirk!!

    Fortunately I'm home alone, the kids are in bed and I'm loling away to myself!! I am now going to point every friend on FB in this direction for entertainment! And I might be back to see if the lazy boy in my tummy will move out to see what his mother is laughing about!


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