Boys Will Be Boys -- (Merit badge for Mother?)

Try as I might to keep some sense of order and sanity at our house, I've just about given up. After all, I'm outnumbered. With two boys and one big husband, the testosterone wins three to one.

It wasn't always like this. When Freddy and Brian were babies, they'd gurgle and cuddle and coo, and there was peace on earth. Then came the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, followed by the X-Men, and the Power Rangers, and now an eclectic mix of animated characters whose names I can't pronounce.

As any mother of boys knows, things are never boring when these guys get together. Boys don't walk, they run. Loudly. With sound effects. The imagination is always going and the mouth moves right along with it. Boys don't play, they wrestle, grapple, challenge and hunt.

Boys leave a trail wherever they go. Maybe this is so they won't get lost and have to ask for directions. You can chart out exactly where my boys have been from the minute they get home from school until they're safely mesmerized at the computer. Follow the backpack to the shoes to the kitchen (cupboards door swinging) to the Oreo crumbs to the sweatshirt to the bathroom (seat up, of course) to the towel on the floor to the open door... and then it's a blur.

Not a whole lot changes when these boys become men. John went to the market the other day and I asked him to pick me up some nail polish remover. I wrote it down to be sure he understood what I was talking about. He came home with "Artificial Nail Remover." They just don't get it.

I have to be the general locator of the house. Most conversations begin with, "Mom, where's the ____?" Yesterday Brian asked me where the bike pump was. Like I have ever even used a bike pump. They must think I make a game of moving things around all day so that I have control over their items.

When boys ask questions like this, they don't walk in a room and explain that they've looked everywhere and would you mind helping them. No, they yell across the house, from wherever they are, before they begin to look. It's a much more efficient use of their time. I've even gotten, "Where's the ____?" calls on my cell phone. It seems my radar can detect where their things are from miles away better than they can from their own rooms.

Teens and pre-teen males are actually very interesting creatures to observe. They don't sit in a chair, they drape themselves over it. And they can't sit still without a remote control in their hands. If the remote works the video game apparatus, they could become one with the chair over a period of hours and must be reminded to extract themselves for meals. If company is expected, I find that it's easier to just drape off that part of the room than to argue about what is considered acceptable entertainment for guests.

When we were at UCLA, my husband lived in a fraternity house, and I think that now he is trying to recreate that experience at home. The pillows I bought for decor are frequently used as arsenal for the wrestling matches. My beautifully designed living room has been taken over by a percussion set and an electric guitar system. My family DVD player exhibits only movies starring Adam Sandler or laden with explosions and special effects.

But I'm not complaining. I am counting my blessings. After all, my friend Debbie has three boys, and Kay has four! It takes a pretty sturdy mom to handle a houseful of cub scouts and little leaguers. These are the moms that deserve the merit badges!

At night, when the house is finally quiet and the boys are in bed, I still look in on them and marvel at the wonder of all they are.

Time slows down for just that moment, and all the peace on earth fills my heart.

[ by: Lisa Marie Nelson ( -- from 'HeartWarmers' ]


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