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!
At 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!
We 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….
I 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…
…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!
What 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)