I am sure you have heard by now all the stereotypical things regarding how different it is raising a boy than raising a girl, but do you really know what to expect? I was a nanny for both boys and girls of varying ages prior to having kids of my own and thought I knew what was coming my way, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t a few things that have thrown me for a loop . . .
An early and constant fascination with anatomy:
I think my oldest son found his penis within his first few months of life and hasn’t let go since. Every time I took off his diaper or put him in the bathtub he would seem to have an immediate sense of relief once he had located it and verified that it was still there. As he got older he started to ask questions about it, like “Will it get bigger?” and “Do you have one mommy?” Then came the affirmative statements, like: “I have a hangle in my dangle” and “I don’t have to go to the bathroom mom, I store the pee in my balls.” If you are thinking, “that’s okay, my husband/father/ brother will help in explaining these things” that brings me to my second observation . . .
The other males in your life will unlikely be helpful in discouraging “undesirable” behavior:
I like to classify all of the following as “undesirable” behavior: putting your hand down your pants in public, talking about your privates in mixed company, farting or belching on or at other people (or threatening to do so), talking about or singing about poop, or generally replacing words in songs or phrases with the word poop, telling strangers stories that involve any of the above. I have one brother, one brother-in-law, two nephews, two sons, one God son, and two grandfathers in the mix and NONE of them are helpful in curbing any of this behavior. In fact they all find it endlessly entertaining and generally make it worse. My oldest once tried to fart on me, and my husband‘s attempt at helping was to give him a list of people he is allowed to fart on (see the list of people named above).
Endless attraction to all things weapons:
EVERYTHING will become a weapon . . . everything. Even if you attempt to limit their exposure to such items, or prevent them from viewing anything that may show these items, it is inevitable so just go with it. They will be inexplicably drawn to all of the following: guns, swords, slingshots, pickaxes, bow and arrows, projectiles of any kind, anything that can be wielded, crafted, or converted into a weapon, anything that looks like a weapon, anything that has a weapon, literally EVERYTHING.
Discussions about things that make absolutely no sense to you:
I try desperately to at least be somewhat knowledgeable about what my kids are into, but after about age 5 they begin to formulate interests that I just can’t understand like Minecraft . . . need I say more?
The unfathomable ability to attract dirt and stains no matter the environment:
If there is dirt, they will find it, if there is an item of food or drink, they will find a way to be covered in it. In addition to being constantly covered in said dirt, and errant food particles, they also sweat in much larger quantities than I had imagined possible. When I give them baths, they continue to smell more like wet little puppy dogs then children. Even once they are fully cleaned and dry they still don’t seem to keep that fresh-kid scent for long before the cycle begins again.
This past week we had an adventure in what happens when you zip something over your private area and you aren’t wearing underwear (I don’t know why, but boys seldom find the need to wear them). That was definitely not something I had expected, and my husband was no help. Luckily I kept my calm, despite the EPIC freak-out, and was able to unstick the stuck part.
At this point, you may be thinking, “What have I gotten myself into!”, but here is one surprise that has made every second of the above worth it:
The absurd amounts of love and devotion they have for their mommies:
I mean there are times when I literally can’t peel them off of me. They shower me with endless hugs and kisses, pick me flowers wherever they go, and find and collect every treasure under the sun to gift me with. My office is filled with pictures, cards, and scraps of paper with hearts. I hear “I love you mommy” and “you are beautiful” numerous times a day and it melts my heart every time. Even though I am sure they love their dad just as much, you sure wouldn’t know it by their favoring me over him at every turn. So even though life with boys has been filled with surprises, I would not trade a moment of it.