May 2015

Life with Boys

Author: Laura Jacobi

Being a parent to boys or girls, whether they are biological, adopted or inherited is the hardest job E-V-E-R. As an only child and the youngest of my cousins I had very limited exposure to helping raise anything except a cat. And I certainly didn’t grow up with lots of boys. So, when my husband, Curt, and I learned our first child was a boy, the initial joy quickly turned into severe dread. I was thrilled to learn he was healthy and all was good. But then, I’ll admit, I was scared to death. “I know nothing about boys. What do they like? What do they do?” I was used to Barbie’s and dance parties. What did I know about entertaining, taking care of and raising a responsible, respectful and well-mannered young man?

Thankfully, several wise people advised me to “stop obsessing” and realize, no parent ever knows exactly what they’re doing. You just do the best you can to love them, show them the ways of the world, and let them become who they’re meant to be. So, as a proud mom of seven-year-old Coleman (Cole) and four-year-old Cameron, my patience and sanity have been tested over the years. But Curt and I are doing what we can to raise happy and healthy boys.

This past Easter Sunday, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my mom and mother-in-law watching my boys play in the backyard with their cousin, also a boy. Our conversation was interrupted every time one of the boys fell down, hit each other or yelled, because the grandmothers would gasp, start to stand up or yell back “Are you okay?” As a somewhat seasoned mom of young boys, I said to them confidently, “They’re boys. If they aren’t bleeding, they’re fine.”

This is a far cry from my over-protective ways early on in my parenting career. Even though I continue to worry, I’m trying my best to let boys be boys…for now.

And so it began
After Coleman was born, I quickly learned I had lots to learn. First lesson of being a mom of a boy: Be prepared to get peed on. Even if you have something to cover him when changing his diaper, there will be times you’re not quick enough to escape that stream of surprise. Of course, that’s not where the “potty” challenges end, but more on that later.

At Cole’s first birthday party, a friend gave him a set of “baby-friendly” crayons. I looked at the mom, who had a one-year-old daughter, and said “Thanks. Does she actually sit and color?” The mom looked at me puzzled and answered, “Yes, she sits and colors or ‘reads’ a book. Coleman doesn’t do that?”

“No,” I said. “He doesn’t sit still for much of anything.” And that’s my first distinct memory of realizing that, besides the biological basics, boys didn’t behave the same as girls, even at the early age of one.

Typically, boys are louder, busier and messier than girls. Note I said typically. You might have a girl who is just as crazy, loud and messy as my boys—bless you. But I can only speak from my personal experience.
I recently saw this anonymous poem posted on a friend’s Facebook page:

The Mother of Boys Handprints on the cupboards and shoes in the hall. Toilet seat’s up and there’s mud on the wall. The shelves in the kitchen are continually bare. There are toys on the couch and clothes on the chair. Wrestling and mud and cars and noise; you’ve guessed it … I’m a mother of boys!

That’s a pretty good summary. My house is rarely clean, my kids are rarely quiet and my grocery bill continues to grow weekly.

Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?
Most of you are probably familiar with the TV show, Kids Say the Darndest Things. Every parent could write a book on the crazy things their kids say. But I began thinking of all the crazy things I say as a mom of boys—phrases I never imagined would come out of my mouth. That got me wondering what other moms of boys have said. Thankfully, I have a huge support system of other moms of boys that I can turn to when the need arises.
One mom of four boys (I pray for her every time I think of her), shared with me these words that have come out of her mouth: “Don’t pee on your brother. Why are you standing on top of the car? Please don’t bring the pogo stick in the shower! Why is there an animal skull in the car? Quit licking the Playdoh!”

Other moms shared these recent comments, “Stop fake licking the bird poop off the van.” “Please use at least one hand when you pee.”

I have found myself several times saying, “The couch isn’t a trampoline. Stop tooting on your brother’s face. Please don’t step on the worm. Stop rubbing dirt on your legs [while under the bleachers at a baseball game].”

And as I mentioned, there will always be comments about bathroom etiquette. My most common: “Watch where you’re peeing,” and “Please pee in the water.” And my least favorite: “Did I just step in water from the shower or is that pee?” You can guess what the answer usually is.

Despite all the craziness, wrestling and boxing matches and constant bathroom cleaning that goes on in my house, I am proud to be a mom of boys and realize that God knew exactly what He was doing. Even though I was a ballerina, (still) love Cinderella and like my quiet time, I’m not so sure I’d know what to do as a mom of girls. I can’t handle hormone swings and can barely fix my own hair.

It’s said that boys will always love their mom, and I hope that’s true. Although they usually request to play with Daddy, roughhousing or drawing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, they still enjoy a Kids Bop dance party with Mommy on occasion and give me the best hugs always.

One wise mom of two boys who happened to also be one of my English teachers, provided me with the sweetest sentiments of her experience. She said she tells her boys every day to promise her they will always love and take care of each other, because they will always have each other. She says she reminds her oldest to be the big brother God destined him to be. “The band of brothers in this house is strong,” she said. “There might be lots of fussing and fighting, but mostly love and laughter.”

I whole-heartedly agree. To all moms, Happy Mother’s Day! May you remember how blessed you are to be given the name “Mom.” But I also hope you are treated to champagne and a pedicure or whatever makes you feel like the queen you are.

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