A close friend recently commented on Facebook that she couldn’t remember uttering the phrase, “Take your finger out of your butt,” before having a boy child. I can relate. Boys are like that. They make you think outside of the box and talk outside your normal lexicon. I haven’t fathered a girl, but I just don’t see a little girl looking at a ceiling fan and seeing carnival ride possibilities. If you have a boy, keep an eye on your ceiling fan.
Before I get too far into this, let me say for the record that I have boys because God is merciful. I have wanted a daughter for years, but God knows that I am simply not wired to be a father to a little girl. I would be great for the first ten years or so but things would go south the first time she got a phone call, email, text or even a long look from an evil little boy. My brother has two beautiful daughters in their mid-teens and he and his wife are handling it beautifully. The girls were raised well and are smart. But still . . . out there somewhere are boys who had the same thoughts I did at that age and that would drive me nuts.
Boys don’t offer those specific issues, but as my Facebook friend is finding out there are still issues. Think about some of the things you have actually said to your boys. The following favorites have actually been said to one or more of my boys.
“Don’t sit on the brussel sprouts.”
“Stop licking the dog.”
“Get out of the dryer.”
“Don’t run naked with your hockey stick.”
“Get the scissors out of your pants.”
“Untie your brother.”
We have to say these things because boys don’t see the same world that we do. For my boys’ sake, I have to look at it from a standpoint of somebody with no fear, little judgement, an adrenaline dependency and who doesn’t pay his own medical bills. I look at a playground slide and see something that needs to utilized by a child sitting with his feet going first. My sons see it as a platform to dive on at full speed, preferably headfirst. I see a swing. They see a launching platform.
We have two flights of stairs in our home. We also have laundry baskets. What is it about the boy brain that sees the link between the two, turning a very viable way to go from one floor to the other into rug burns and a possible trip to the emergency room? I wonder if a little girl’s parents ever had to clean up a laundry-basket-down-the-stairs crash site.
Boys are challenging on many fronts, not the least of which is home upkeep. Everything my boys do is at full speed with things that leave stains. It is not uncommon for one of my boys to be running full speed down the hall carrying something that will trip him and a cup of juice. I know what you are thinking. “He should probably exercise a little more parental control.” If you are thinking this then your children are probably at day care or asleep. I constantly tell my boys not to run in the house and they generally comply. They comply up to the point that they realize that I never told them not to run in the house with juice in a cup and a jump rope tied to their neck and ankles on a weekday. That is a boy thought process. They hear what you say then add circumstances that provide loopholes. Ever asked a boy to wash his hands and he comes back with wet hands because you didn’t say to dry them. You then tell him that you told him yesterday that he was to dry his hands after washing them. Then he explains that he didn’t think he had to because he used a different bathroom. Been there. Like I said, it’s a completely different thought process.
This thought process constantly leads to touch up paint, cleanser, scrub brushes and in extreme cases spackle and carefully placed pictures and throw rugs. One of my wife’s aunts raised 5 boys. Not just boys, but boys that all grew to be six feet six inches or taller. I can’t imagine having 5 teenage boys the size of professional power forwards having a friendly roughhouse in my den. That would be a problem for two specific reasons. 1. The house would suffer structural damage. 2. They would work up an appetite. I have two boys that can bring a dairy cow to her knees and I remember how much my brothers and I ate. I can imagine my wife’s aunt’s kitchen being ravaged like a combination doughnut shop/pizza parlor across the street from a Grateful Dead cover band concert on 4/20.
I think it would be nice to take a little girl to a dance class and watch her dance around in cute little shoes with a bow in her hair. I think how nice that would be when I am opening a stinky hockey bag and dressing my child in armor and giving a big stick. Parker was an accomplished hockey player and Charlie is showing talent. In fairness, there are more and more girls playing hockey, but I believe the innate desire to collide with another human being in the name of sport then not properly ventilate the bag their sweaty equipment is stored in is a predominantly male quality.
My boys’ other favorite sport is football. Parker was a standout offensive lineman and Charlie played in a tackle division for 7-9 year olds when he was six. Eli is two and can do a very acceptable three-point stance. He can’t quite remember to tell me before he pees in his diaper but he can hold his stance to the second count and drive block. My wife asked me once if the boys could be involved in a sport that didn’t involve body armor and collisions. I assumed she was joking.
The best part about having boys is watching them grow into young men. Parker grew out of his sullen teenage years quite nicely and is doing quite nicely in college. People regularly tell us how well-behaved and polite Charlie is. Those particular people don’t have to wake him up in the morning or make him eat vegetables but generally they are right. Then there is Eli. He just handed me a booger and a handful of dog hair. He’ll get there, but there is a lot paint and spackle in our future.
Thanks for reading spreading the word about This Side of the Diaper. I appreciate all the feedback we’ve gotten. I will be out of town and away from the computer for about a week. Take care and I will see you then on This Side of the Diaper.