5 Things I have learnt about boys!

Storm Chasing…

There is hardly a day goes by when I don’t learn something from one of our three sons! I exist in a fairly permanent and hazy state of confusion, grappling with the ‘world of boys.’  I am outnumbered every which way I turn! Even Ben (our psychotic labrador) confuses me. Why would ANY animal want to eat dishwasher tablets, socks or plastic toys? But then again I wonder the same about our boys…don’t get me wrong, they don’t eat dishwasher tablets, they only suck the occasional sock and plastic toys are just nibbled…but they do eat for England! The three of them make a plague of locusts look like fussy eaters. They are PERMANENTLY hungry, even as they spoon in the last mouthfuls of a tasty roast dinner they are looking hungrily for desserts. The search for food is never ending…When they are not occupied ‘hunting and gathering’ our three are blasting their way through life at hurricane speed with me, desperately holding on for dear life…storm chasing, renovating the trail of destruction that ‘hurricane sons’ leave behind! On a good day I have the energy and optimism to believe I can tame the spirited winds and I haul them back to collect and rearrange the debris..but that’s on a good day.

But, slowly, very slowly, I am gaining ground. If it helps even the odds then I share these findings with my fellow storm chasers and wish you love, luck and energy! We’ll need it!

1. Boys are great collaborators!

IMG_5426At 6.20 (AM!) not so long back we were woken by our oldest son, proudly informing us that they’d learnt a new skill and managed to put together a show for us! All in the 20 minutes since dawn! I rubbed my bleary eyes and ‘took one for the team’, allowing Matthew to snore, undisturbed beside me.

‘Let the show begin!’ announced Cal.

‘First up! The Brakenbury Brothers with their amazing Mexican Wave, using nothing but willies!’ It is at these moments you know you have sons!

2. The more dangerous it looks the better!

IMG_6711We have a wonderful next door neighbour, a grown up version of our middle son Jack. He rides bikes (and I mean BIKES, of the big, black, shining, purring Duccati kind). I can see life magnified when Jack ‘talks bike’ with Gren. His eyes light up and he grins, Cheshire Cat style. Occasionally out comes Gren’s superfast mini moto… and a delighted, 8-year-old Jack runs in to let me know he’s off for a ride. I do that ‘mum thing’…make sure he has his arms covered and warn him ‘It’s not a toy! Be sensible! Don’t go too fast!’… On the last occasion Jack looked me straight in the eyes with his hands either side of my shoulders..

‘Mum, you HAVE to understand. I was BORN to go fast. What could be better than dying do something you LOVE’

‘Doing it TWICE and NOT once!!’ was all I could stammer, realising, not for the first time – that my mission as a mum wasn’t to help him get good grades, or feed him good veg…those early day ambitions have been replaced. Just keep him alive.

3.  Broken Bones are a badge of honour!


The usual rules do not apply with boys. Warnings of

‘Be careful! You could break something!’ might just as well be spoken in a different language! The aim IS to break something. Only a boy would be told he has broken his wrist and whoop with joy…proudly leaving the x-ray room with a grin!

I was about to console and cuddle our little injured soldier but, as he high-fived his jealous brothers I realised that, once again, I was on the wrong page.


4. They have a unique ability to choose their moments….

IMG_8427I am the proud mother to an arm farting King Herod.  I have sat, through an entire nativity with my body prickling with sweat, intently giving ‘eyes’  to son #2 at those moments when I saw the ‘glimmer of opportunity’ flash across his eyes! The chance to hold an audience and make them laugh was almost irresistible to him! It was simply not enough to start a man hunt, searching for the new son of God…oh no, he had to add an impressive arm fart to add a sense of gravity to his request…IMG_8009

…And it doesn’t seem to get better as they get older. I recently learnt that lesson the hard way…when I left my TEN year old son in the barbers whilst I nipped to a cash point. As he sat in the chair and was asked what he’d like…he told them… only it wasn’t what MUM would have liked. A 0.5, tram lines and a blonde fringe! He had time for 2/3 before I returned! Carpe Diem!  Hmmmm….  We had words.

5. It is not possible to take a walk, unarmed!

IMG_5674What is it about boys and sticks?  We can be outdoors for just moments and, even in a meadow of grass, they will search, innately for a weapon. Perhaps it’s an evolutionary thing, deep within their psyche… But, until they are armed and dangerous they will search, relentlessly. Terriers of nature!  Once armed they will charge and run, warrior style, in all directions. This is continued until either a brother has been hit or a coffee shop calls, requiring all weapons are left at the door. A peaceful WALK just does not happen, at least with our boys. Period.

But, despite the challenges…I have to admit I am enjoying the journey. Raising boys is the best adventure I have ever had. I feel I have joined an exclusive asylum to which I now have a life membership… I am surviving…and, so far, so are the boys. Keep chasing those storms and have fun :o)


A ‘Smashing’ Birthday!

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“You can rely on boys to make even the most static of objects into a dangerous missile.”

I’m 44 today! Some looked to me apologetically this morning  and whispered ‘ Happy Birthday, kindly keeping the ‘secret’ from others at the school gate, whilst others offered me a ‘way out’ – ’21 again today eh!?’ and some, like my oldest son, kindly pointed out that I am just 6 years from 50 and therefore almost half way through the abacus of life!

“Mathematics Lesson” by photostockIt was Jack, our middle son, who once realised that the extent of our lives is perfectly illustrated on a frame of colourful beads and there is nothing more sobering than when he whizzes through the lines showing us how long we, at best, have left! But I am proud to be 44! Granted, I was a little disappointed that I thought I was 43 and lost a year in the blink of an eye, but proud to have reached 44 and not died! When friends and family bemoan their next milestone I always find myself thinking that it really IS better than the alternative, of not having reached that milestone at all! So, today, I am proud to be 44 and beginning the climb back down the mountain having enjoyed the view from the top! But…there are advantages of being ‘over the hill’…it’s easier going down…less puffing and panting and more slipping and sliding! You have a clearer perspective on the way back down…

My birthday frisbee!

My birthday frisbee!

Our youngest Tom woke me up this morning asking,

‘Mummy, have you forgotten what I made at art club yesterday?’

‘No’ I answered kindly, ‘of course I haven’t! It was beautiful!!’
‘Pleeeeaase tell me you HAVE forgotten because I want to give it to you for your birthday!’
‘Tom, what was it that you made at Art club yesterday? I can’t remember what it was..’
‘Brilliant!! I KNEW you’d forget what I made!!’

‘Happy Birthday Mum!!’ he grinned, presenting me yesterday’s coaster made from wonky foam mosaic squares.

‘Wow! A coaster! Thank you!’

‘No, it’s a frisbee!’ at which point he demonstrated how well it flew and so my birthday began!

A lesson I have learned…

“You can rely on boys to make even the most static of objects into a dangerous missile.”

Do not be fooled as you raise your boys that you are safe. Even on the morning of your 44th birthday.

Jack (8) made me a fruit smoothy (and destroyed the kitchen in the process). ‘I’ve used my bullet!’ he announced proudly. I am sure that it was the danger wrapped within the name ‘nutribullet’ that led him to put this miniature model of the London Shard in his Christmas list!  It was served in our last remaining crystal champagne glass! Every birthday we get it out for the child celebrating – and today it was my go (a big kid)! Every year, it balances precariously on our breakfast table, only today it didn’t. As I turned to stop a paper aeroplane envelope from flying into the fire I knocked it, smashing it neatly into three sections! Jack, the pilot of the plane, burst into a flood of tears.

.A homemade smoothy in our last remaining crystal glass...

.A homemade smoothy in our last remaining crystal glass…

He is sensitive at the best of the best of times, and the memories attached the glass mean more to him than most.  We sat down together, in the middle of our wrapping paper mountain, and I told him the story of my amazing Nanna Judy…She’d  been given three colourful pyrex bowls as a wedding present in the 1920’s (how times change!) they’d travelled with her when she emigrated to Canada and back to England when they returned to their homeland. As a little girl I’d made her a jelly and accidentally dropped one of bowls, smashing it to smithereens! I froze in terror and was shocked to see her throw her head back and laugh… not angry at the smashed china, but tickled by the jelly in Grandad’s slippers. ‘Things aren’t important’ she’d said simply. ‘You can’t take them with you when you go’ she added. And how right she was. I told Jack the same thing this morning and we laughed at the ‘new crystal cup’ that we’d created! We decided to keep the top part and, each year, from now on (until we smash that!) we’ll remember the lesson that their Gt Nanny taught their clumsy mum that I in turn, shared with my children.

As a mum of boys I have a spectacular collection of repaired frames, armless ornaments and now, a stemless crystal glass! All of which will be priceless reminders of the days we were raising boys!

Photo Credit: Thank you to freedigitalphotos.net for the photo of the little boy with an abacus. ‘Mathematics Lesson’ by photostock.