Thursday, June 18, 2009

Guest Post: The Mysteries of Boys

Please welcome another blogathon blogger, Sarah E. Ludwig. Sarah is the mom to four mostly wonderful kids, 11-year-old fraternal twin girls and a nearly-7-year-old and 5-year-old boys. She works from home as a freelance writer and blogs about the necessity of flexibility in raising kids at Parenting by Trial and Error. Sarah is also a contributor on Larger Families.

I have to admit that I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to all things boy-related. Because my experience is so limited, I could be noticing differences between my boys and my girls that are purely personality and not pertaining to gender at all, so please excuse any inaccurate generalizations I may make regarding boys.

I was raised in a family with two sisters, so there are some boy areas that still mystify me, even though my sons are nearly-7 and 5. For instance, why are boys so ridiculously entertained by potty talk? Just mention the word “underwear” or “poop” and it unleashes a series of endless giggles. Bodily functions are also a major source of amusement, often forced and always embellished, sometimes at the dinner table, much to my dismay. My daughters were never prone to behavior like this.

They’re so rough with each other too. I can hardly bear to watch them playing because it involves -- what looks to me like -- painful bodily contact. They wrestle, punch and smack each other, but rarely cry afterwards over what would have had their sisters in tears immediately.

My boys almost always take a bath together and I often listen to them talking and playing. A lot of their conversation has to do with a particular body part, with which the obsession clearly starts early. Discussions about size and shape are punctuated with hysterical laughter. I just shake my head in disbelief.

Perhaps the worst part is the amount of toilet cleaning that comes with having little boys. Unless you want your toilet to look worse than the underside of an outhouse, multiple wipe-downs are necessary on a daily basis.

Another perplexing behavior is the habitual crotch grabbing. Is that just my sons or is this a universal male habit found mainly in young boys?

“Do you need to go to the bathroom?” I ask multiple times a day.

“No,” the perpetrator always replies.

“Then don’t do that,” I say, pointing at the offending hand, which immediately drops.

As much as some of the boy stuff they do baffles and drives me crazy though, I love having sons. There’s nothing like my little boys’ kisses and cuddles; nothing like having a little guy tell me he wants to marry me and sincerely meaning it; nothing like seeing how much they want to protect me and knowing how that instinct will most likely grow as they get older.

Now if I could just get them to aim more accurately…


  1. I can relate to the potty-talk! My 3-year-old has recently discovered the concept of a joke. His idea of a joke, though, is attaching the word "poop" to any word and then laughing hilariously.

    Whoever wrote those Captain Underpants books was definitely onto something!

  2. We (males) usually don't grow out of the potty humor and crotch-grabbing. Sorry. Fortunately, the aim usually gets better. And some of us are polite enough to wipe up mis-fires.

    My oldest two boys (identical twins)10 and I enjoy sitting down together and watching various shows on Discovery channel that involve things getting blown up. My wife is convinced that attraction is a purely male trait.

    My oldest boys have also made a game of asking my two year old boy where different things come from. This is because his response is usually to point to and say, "butt."

    It is amusing to read this post,(Thank you Sarah), because my situation is opposite: We started out with boys and the mystery for me is the girl, 7.

  3. For the toilet, I recommend a BIG container of Clorox wipes; no, they almost never have to go to the bathroom, it's a comfort thing; learn to tune out the potty talk, it only gets more intense the older they get and then their friends come over and share all the bodily function jokes and it really is just beyond me; and the physical contact - just look away, if they really hurt themselves they come looking for you!

  4. Funny you should mention the blowing up, Nate. I was reading a Boys' Life article to my writing class, and in the lead of a hiking article, the writer mentioned the boys seeing a ranger blow up the carcass of a dead mule.

    Dead-on, I thought -- just the thing to attract a boy's attention!

  5. I'm the same as Nate. I started out with two boys, and still consider myself a real "boy's" mom since that's what I was for six years. So for me, our youngest, the girl, is a mystery to me. Mostly it's because her personality is very different from my own, whereas I have more in common with my oldest son.

  6. Eewww...I think even I would find a blown-up animal pretty disgusting. Which issue of Boy's Life was that? We get two copies of that regularly. I'm surprised one of my boys didn't point that out to me.

  7. With 3 boys and a husband, I can relate, although mine are older and know how to "aim." I have to say I am shocked at how clean their bathroom is: a 15-year-old and 18-year-old. As they don't have make-up and use very few products, their sink area is always clean. Just wait till they get older and like to groom themselves. The bathroom smells of deodorant spray now.

  8. Nate -- I'll double check the Boys' Life and get back to you.

    Gutsy Writer -- Are you saying hope is on the horizon? I LIKE it!

  9. Ha, ha. I teach teenagers and they keep doing it.