“I have so many penises to deal with.”
This unforgettable line was uttered by a fellow baseball mom, as we sat on the sidelines together. The oldest of her four boys was playing, and she was breastfeeding the youngest.
I nodded sympathetically – although as a mom of two boys, I guess I probably only know the half of it.
The experience of living with boys goes well beyond their anatomical equipment. Ask anyone who is the lone female in a house of males. Boys are strange and wonderful creatures: sometimes they’re truly wonderful, and sometimes they’re just strange.
Some of my boy-related complaints may sound familiar – for example, the state of the bathroom after they shower. Boys are not careful. They drip. Everywhere. Sometimes I think my teenager skips the towel completely and instead shakes himself like a dog that has just bounded out of a lake.
They cannot grasp the concept that when someone in your household is speaking into a phone, it is not the time to scream, yell and cause a general ruckus in the background. I am sure that my dentist’s office assistant thinks I live in a noisy telemarketing call centre – or a howler monkey exhibit.
They comment on my appearance with zero sensitivity to my feelings or potential insecurities. The other day, my younger son studied me for a moment and said: “Mom, you look tired. Even your hair looks tired.”
Although I diligently take them for annual eye appointments, they cannot see their “lucky shorts” (or a similarly enchanted article of clothing) even when it is right in front of them, in their drawer. Instead, their brain signals them to yell: “Mommmmm! Where’s my jock????”
They are incredibly happy when I make a mistake. I once left the milk behind at the grocery store – especially humiliating, given the fact that I had scanned and bagged it myself at the self-serve cashier. That blunder will live on forever, as they cheerfully bring it up at least once a week.
They have no idea how much work it is to be an adult, parent and homeowner. Yesterday, I asked my older son to go close the front door, and his actual response was: “Well, I guess I have to do everything around here.” (Not thinking before they speak – another classic boy quality.)
Some of their choices leave me shaking my head. My younger son decorates the walls of his bedroom with posters of the creepiest Star Wars characters and images of killer sharks with gaping blood-rimmed mouths. To him, this somehow constitutes a calming sleep environment.
And, why do boys wear their underwear until it falls apart? My guys refuse to “retire” a pair until it is a limp, ragged shred of its former self. When it comes to socks, however, they have no mercy. If they discover a hole in the toe, they immediately view it as an invitation to rip it open the rest of the way.
Another well-documented rule of the male species: any gas leaving the body – from any opening – is not to be hidden, covered up or politely ignored, but instead acknowledged, discussed and even celebrated.
It isn’t all bad, though. I should point out that my boys also have some redeeming qualities. In fact, there are times that I wish I could be more like them.
For example, they don’t fuss or worry about looking presentable. They don’t care if they have spaghetti sauce or ice cream smeared on their face or shirt. It truly does not matter to them. How liberating that must be.
They live in the moment, something I find very difficult to do. I can’t relax until things are checked off my to-do list and the dinner dishes are done. My boys have no problem living “in the now” and can guiltlessly defer any task to “later.”
They don’t hold grudges. When an argument or difficult discussion is over, it’s over. That’s a guy thing, for sure.
They have a terrific sense of confidence that they are right about things, even when they probably aren’t. When my younger son was trying to make a decision and I suggested that he collect all the information he could, he shook his head and declared: “Information, shnin-for-shnation.” He firmly believed that his well-honed 10-year-old instincts were enough.
I don’t give them enough credit for this, but they are actually quite intuitive. I am usually in a pretty good mood, so when I am “off” or a little bit down, they notice right away. Then they ask: “Are you okay, Mom? How can I cheer you up, Mom?” and proceed to make me laugh with some goofy joke or dopey voice.
Life with boys is truly an adventure. Even though I don’t always understand them – especially when they’re being weirdos – they’re my weirdos, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.