There are a few things I’ve learned about boys over the past seven years. I’m sure these early rants won’t compare to the things I’ll learn in the next seven years. But here goes:
The crappier your house is prior to having boys, the better. IT IS GOING TO GET DESTROYED. Buy furniture second-hand. Avoid light colors. Use plastic corner protectors throughout your house. Brace, fortify, and secure all shelves, doors, and window blinds. Become a master of drywall plug, patch, and texture – or have a handyman on speed dial.
Do not waste money investing in toys. The only things you need are empty refrigerator boxes, PVC piping, yarn, duct tape, and bubble wrap.
Regardless of how “boy proof” they claim their houses to be, DO NOT accept playdates at houses with all girls. In no way can those moms anticipate the wrath that is heading their way.
Designate bathrooms “Men” and “Women.” I have sat in wet and/or dried sticky pee too many times to count. Only two of the four boys living with me consistently put the toilet seat up. The bathroom is disgusting. It smells. There’s currently a wet ring around our toilet upstairs and we can’t tell if it’s pee build-up or if our toilet is leaking. I’m totally serious when I say this.
Buy your crappy house with a yard or basement or three car garage. Or all of the above. Preferably with padded walls and an escape hatch (for you). Boys need room to run, wrestle, and rough-house. The Dirties are like wild animals who require wide open spaces for adequate exercise/energy expenditure.
Boys’ penises are the focal point of conversation/thought very early on. I often walk into the bedroom while one of the twins is changing only to find him holding his penis in his hands, as though he’s carefully inspecting and tending to it. It’s odd. I walk away without comment. Just know it’s going to happen. OFTEN. Simply ignore it and erase it from memory if you can.
Most of the time, boys’ hands are down their pants or up their noses. Or both. At the same time.
Boys like to experiment putting little things in small holes. As you know, this lasts a lifetime, but I’m talking more specifically about a time Abe put a popcorn kernel in his ear and it took five hours and two doctors to get it removed. I’ve talked to other boy moms and this incident isn’t unusual. And I can’t begin to tell you all the cryptic places I’ve found miniature Legos characters.
Don’t be alarmed when their first writing assignment comes home and it’s filled with violence. We don’t let Abe watch violent shows or play violent video games, yet in his first lengthy school writing assignment he wrote, “Now the ghosts are taking over the world.” And ended it with a picture of a graveyard. Dark place, for sure. I would have immediately entered him into psychotherapy if my mom, who taught kindergarten for 16 years, didn’t assure me this is totally normal. European Boarding School was also considered and deemed unnecessary.
Speaking of violence, boys will make guns out of sticks, Tinker Toys, playdough, and Barbie dolls – regardless of whether or not they’ve been allowed in your home.
Boys can’t keep their hands to themselves (when not in noses or down pants). I’ve witnessed it at Abe’s elementary school and daily at home. A WWF match can break out an any time. One child will be minding his own business while the other comes from behind and jumps on top of him. At that point, IT’S ON!
Speaking of wrestling. It’s a game. It’s a sport. It’s totally natural. Except when they’re wrestling in the nude before bath – and then it’s a little weird.
And despite how wild, smelly, and loud they are – The Dirties are still the sweetest, most lovable beings I’ve ever laid eyes on.
With any luck and a little guidance, they will grow out of the poke, prod, and penetrate stage and grow into contributing members of society. After all, the ultimate goal is to keep their pictures off the post office wall.