You’re having a boy! You might not have even brushed off the blue confetti from the gender reveal party before you bought his first bowtie. Is this your first or will he claim his space in a long line of boys? I bet you picture him as a mini-me of his daddy. Then again, maybe you’ve only lived the life of a girl mama and just want to peek through the fence to see what’s lurking on the other side. No need to hide your curiosity. Come and visit! For those who have never experienced the sheer joy of boy-dom, let me introduce you to boy mom life:
Boys are loud. They yell without realizing it. An “inside voice” sounds less like a shrieking bird of prey and more like a diesel engine. Their mouths create superficial pops, blasts, crashes, and whistles that I cannot seem to mirror. I’ve tried. Their sound effects, their superhero baritones, their conquer-the-world pretend play, their requests for more milk, or to turn on the TV, all register on the Richter scale. (Ever wonder why there’s always an “earthquake” somewhere? Yeah, think on that for a minute…).
Boys are destructive. I’m on my 3rd or 4th set of dining room chairs. The legs all wobble because the boys can’t seem to sit in them and keep all four chair legs on the ground. They scrape against the walls when they lean too far and wear off the fabric corners. About a decade ago, my oldest son drew a target and taped it to the back of one of my chairs. That kid sharpened homemade arrows and shot them directly at the target. Each time he hit it, he punctured the chair.
If you look at my walls, you’ll notice dents and patched holes in various stages of repair. That rogue skateboard keeps sneaking inside the house just long enough to pepper my floorboards with dings. Regardless of the rules posted on the wall, underthrown footballs still shatter the dishes on the countertop. A pillow fight cracked my vases, darts nailed the picture frames and sent them hurtling to the ground. Towel and curtain rods hang precariously crooked. One day, they’ll rip right off the wall. I’m sitting next to a desk that has words whittled into it, and a hole in the top where someone got a little too excited about the computer game. My couch has no springs. We zip-tied the exercise bike wheel together.
Send them outside you say? Pitching practice corroded my brick wall into a concave mess. The loose stucco keeps getting picked off like loose scabs. My backyard neighbor knocked on my door to tell us that tennis balls and tree branches keep landing in their pool. We notified the insurance when the neighbor across the street reported rocks hit over the fence. Each one puckered the side panel on his car. If there’s puddles, the boys will jump in them. If there’s dirt, they’ll roll in it. I guarantee someone will walk in the door crying and the other will claim it’s not his fault.
Boys are fascinated by gross things. The boys aren’t ashamed of anything. They proudly admit when they pass gas in the confined space of the car, 30 seconds before we need to pick up a friend. Poop, pee, butt, boogers, farts, burps, spit—all part of our everyday vocabulary. They learned (the hard way) that when a loogie flies out over the edge of the Hoover Dam into a strong wind, it whips around like a boomerang.
They’re obsessed with slime. If it resembles blood or pus, even better! They collect bugs and stomp on them just to hear the sound. They’ve retold the story of my friend’s ferret being squished to death by the leg of the chair many times. They buried a lizard skeleton in the backyard to see if it would come back as a zombie. (We’re still waiting to see the results of that Apocalypse).
I’m tired of finding Nerf darts in the butter and Lego pieces in the bathtub. I have yet to find the source of the smell in the boys’ room. They eat everything in the pantry one day and then barely pick at their food the next. We can’t go anywhere without climbing on the rocks, the curbs, the trees, the benches, and the fences. If a store has a slick, polished floor (I’m looking at you, Walmart and Target!), you know my boys will run and slide down the aisles. They’ll bring me reptiles caught in the back yard and it’s always a surprise to empty their pockets on laundry day to see if anything is still moving.
Someday, I will not have to wipe down the seat of the toilet before it’s my turn. I won’t have to keep Clorox wipes handy for anyone who overshoots the mark. We won’t have to shout, “One customer at a time!” or discuss the dangers of “crossing the streams” when it’s a mad dash to use the potty before bed. We won’t need to lecture about the importance of changing into clean underwear, or just good hygiene in general. Someday, I’ll look back on this and chuckle.
But let’s get to the good stuff…
I get all the flowers. Even with all the boy quirks, every time we pass a dandelion, the boys will place it in my hands with a shy smile. They’ll shimmy up and grab the buds off the tree or the bright blossoms off the school’s landscaping (Sorry!). I find withered weeds on my seat in the car, or a lump of dried playdough formed into a rose. They’ll paint me in watercolor looking suspiciously like a Disney princess, and their first written word is usually MOM.
Creativity. I knew my boys were innovators when I first saw the entire ball of yarn spun, twisted, tied, all over the house. My house became a spy-in-training, laser-obstacle course. I found deconstructed radios, and toys busted open to see how they worked. Now, I’m proud of the engineers’ minds in Lego creations, in paint, in woodwork, in problem solving. I’m raising little MacGyvers who fix the broken things (thank goodness!) and assemble new ones.
I love being there. I smile when the little catcher behind the plate turns and waves to me, “Hi mom!” when he hears me cheering. I watch for his consistent “thumbs up” on first base. I wear the hat and jersey, pacing behind the fence, with peanut M&Ms in my hand as my lefty takes the mound. I’m on the first row at the piano recital even though I’ve heard the Star Wars theme played night and day for a month. I save the program in a special box. I don’t always remember first day of school pictures, but I’m there for it all. Every developmental milestone. Every win. Especially the personal victories that no one else gets to see.
They love hard. Even though he’s a year from graduation, my oldest will always give me the sign language, “I love you,” before he leaves. It’s our thing. My youngest squeezes my hand three times as a morse code “I. Love. You.” My third wrestles me to the ground, and while I’m grunting to get loose, he’ll put his head on my stomach, and for just a moment, he hugs me as tight as he can. When dad walks in the door, they’ll jump into his arms and chatter freely about how the Star Wars Club took down the Stitch Club at recess. They want dad to do the voices for the Elephant and Piggie books at bedtime. They crave dad’s hug when it takes three times to pass a difficult exam.
As parents, we aren’t the only ones who benefit from the sloppy, rough love. They cart the dog around like a baby doll asking her, “Who’s my good girl? Who’s my good girl?” When they’re upset, they’ll cuddle her and stroke her ears until they calm down. When the dog took a baseball to the snout on a line drive, it was the first time I ever saw my son break down, kneel gently beside her, and pray for her life. Thankfully, she survived. He keeps her next to him every night.
I’m a mama bear. Blood doesn’t bother me. Injuries don’t phase me. I worked as an athletic trainer on the sidelines of football games for a short time and, initially, went to school for physical therapy. When that didn’t pan out professionally, life surprised me with three active boys. I’m still on the sidelines of their lives, buddy-taping fingers together, and applying bags of frozen peas to ankles when they jump off the top bunk bed. Even when my little guy started seizing, changing color, foaming at the mouth, I drove to the hospital faster than Paul Walker in Fast and Furious. I refused the paperwork. No, thank you, I will not sit down. I demanded to be seen immediately in the ER. When my boys need me, there’s no stopping this mama bear!
It all works out being a boy mom. Even though we need to battle the ever-present bump in the sock, or the texture of jeans versus sweatpants, our getting ready is quick and painless. I can hold my own in a debate about the Marvel Universe and what will probably happen in the next Star Wars installment. When another pillow fort takes over the downstairs, I have a system to get it back to normal in 10 minutes flat. We visit the park often for “energy burns.” I know the secrets to get dirt stains out of clothes.
Our life is crazy. Our life is an adventure. I wouldn’t have it any other way.