“Are they all yours? You have your hands full there!” “Do they fight much?” These are just some of the questions Gwen Loughman encounters regularly as a mum raising four boys.
Mister Husband likes to play a game when we’re out and about as a family and he spots another boy-heavy clan, roughly the same age as ours. He’ll ask if I want to flip a coin to see which of us goes over to enquire of the other parents are they going to go for the girl. Naturally enough, we never do. Chances are, they’re as sick of the question and its variations as we are.
Also that game is not as much fun as the “what’ll we buy when we win the lotto” one. So here we are; parents to four boys. Four! And all of them with very different personalities to boot.
I have plenty of opinions on what it is like to parent boys, possessing wrinkles and the odd grey hair to back me up. I know first-hand how difficult it can be. How loud, how scary. I am regularly exposed to random acts of violence. I despair over the cooking of all of the food. The shouting and roaring. By me! And them! Did I mention the endless laundry? The ingrained dirt? The testosterone?
And, of course, the laughs and never-ending affection. Boys are mental. Their energy knows no bounds. A ten-minute rest is enough to re-charge their batteries and they are off again; to cause more devilment and mess. Whilst their defeated mother cowers in the corner and wonders if 5pm in the evening is too early to have a drink.
Boys are huge advocates of toilet humour. The word ‘butt’ creates much merriment. High fives are doled out if one of them breaks wind and kudos is given to the one who manages ‘a silent but deadly’ effort. Belching competitions are frequent. Whilst their long-suffering mother wonders if they will ever tire of such juvenile high jinks.
The issue with underwear
Boys dislike changing their underwear. It’s quite remarkable the lengths they will go to in order to get out of this simple task. They are also sweaty beings with a tendency to strip. Anytime. Anywhere. They’re not fussy like that.
Boys are endlessly curious. And loud. They can be obnoxious and I say that with much love. They’re mad about nature. The outdoors and water. Boy, do they love water. It could be an ocean, a puddle, a bath or a swimming pool. They love the stuff.
Boys never walk anywhere. It’s all about the running. Once the door opens, it is similar to opening a box of frogs; they go everywhere. It is on these occasions their mother is always heard before she is seen.
Boys are endlessly curious about body parts. Their own and other people’s. When they were younger and I was breastfeeding, it didn’t matter to whose chest they were attached, breasts were fair game.
Boys are wrecking balls. I have accepted that the inside of my house will probably always look like the aftermath of a rave until they are of an age to move out. And by that time I will be too old and withered to care anymore.
The aim is off
Boys do not aim well. My bathroom has taken on an interesting look. If they sprinkle when they tinkle, they are not neat and hardly ever wipe the seat. Flushing may as well be a far-flung neighbourhood in America as far as they are concerned.
Boys grow in their sleep. Literally. I am demented buying clothes for them. Hand-me-downs don’t work when knees, elbows and backsides are ripped out. Shoes are definitely not made like they once were.
Boys are sensitive folk. They hurt and feel upset just as much as, if not more than, the average person. They also like to read. They have brilliant imaginations. They don’t hold grudges. They feel it, let it out and once purged, move on.
They are also hugely affectionate. All of mine love a hug and a kiss. This list is not definitive and refers only to my own observations.
Read more of Gwen’s articles on parenting on her wonderful blog: www.wonderfulwagon.com
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