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.