Boys will be boys and that comes with some unique challenges.
I’m sure there are distinctive obstacles associated with girls as well, but I do not have any experience on that front, at least at this point. What I do know well is what it’s like to raise young boys, albeit if they are just 3 and 2, respectively.
Leaving out the usual sights, sounds and smells commonly associated with males, there are some unique aspects associated with having a male-dominated household. If you count the dogs, Pam is outnumbered 5:1 on the male-female front.
With that in mind, here are five things I know all too well after spending just about every waking hour of each day that I’m not working with my sons, Beckett and Carson.
No. 1: They eat a lot.
Both of my boys have stomachs like goats.
Neither seems to ever have any trouble putting back anything and everything we give them and invariably ask for more.
I don’t think I have ever heard either of them say they are full and they both always clean their plates (and more often than I wish toss them on the floor afterwards).
Beckett is fond of pleading, “But I only had one serving,” and Carson, who is not much of talker yet, signs “more” so emphatically it seems like he’s starving.
I have even seen Carson lick the ketchup off his plate before throwing it on the floor. Beckett has been known to do the same thing with syrup from his morning pancakes.
If I ate what they ate, at the rate they consume it, I would not be able to leave the house, as sticking close to home base would be a necessity.
Surely these huge appetites have to do with the fact they are growing, but I’m still amazed at what both Beckett, 3, and Carson, 2, can consume in a day. Because he’s an open book and almost always talking about something or other, it’s easy to determine Beckett has food on the brain just about all the time. So much so that he works food into his beloved “knock-knock” jokes.
One afternoon last weekend, after singing the McDonalds theme song repeatedly for a couple hours, he broke out a “knock-knock” joke that somehow managed to include a milk shake and chicken nuggets. He even went so far as to remind me that I could get a coffee drink at McDonalds.
That was actually ingenious of him to go there with me, as I’m a caffeine junkie.
A few minutes later, I was bundling them up and we were off for a car ride.
No. 2: Their hands are always dirty and always doing something.
I don’t know how they do it, but Beckett and Carson both manage to get dirt under their fingernails every day.
It could be raining all day outside, and somehow they still manage to get dirty from inside play.
On one hand, it’s charming to me, but not so much when we have to wrestle them to the floor to get them clean every day amid kicking and screaming.
No. 3: They inflict pain.
Boys are rough and tough, and it’s a fact of life.
They play hard and with that play comes some pain for them and the parents.
It’s rarely intentional when a parent is roughed up, but it still smarts just the same.
Both Pam and I have been on the business end of some intense blows, most recently stemming from Carson, who at times disdains being held. He makes this obvious with a head butt that almost always catches us off guard.
That’s why the other night on the couch when the baby of the house (all 30 pounds of him) was sitting on my lap I was sure to put a pillow between his head and mine. It doesn’t take too many head butts before one exercises some caution.
No. 4: Expect the unexpected.
This is the golden rule with my boys, but unfortunately it’s one I often forget.
However, I was reminded of it in extreme fashion last weekend. After repeatedly being ignored in favor of his backyard play set, I resorted to picking Beckett up to take him inside.
It was something he wanted nothing to do with, naturally. I know this by the giant tantrum that featured flailing and kicking with one of those kicks landing in the most sensitive of parts.
Consequently, he did get to stay outside a little longer, as I hit a knee and gathered my composure.
No. 5: They like to make a mess.
Perhaps it’s just because they know it drives their parents bonkers, our boys wreck the house almost daily.
There has been improvement of late in their ability to clean up after themselves, but left to their own devices we would not be able to see our floor ever, as they leave their toys, books, jackets, hats and clothes everywhere.
Despite numerous means of addressing it, there seems to be no reasoning with these boys about the need to put back whatever they are not playing with at in given time.
In Beckett’s case, there also seems to be no way to break through his desire to be naked at all times and toss his clothes all over the house, including atop the chandelier, where I found his underwear a couple days ago.
The adventure continues.