You’ve seen them before. Like a pack of hyenas roaming the savanna, they are loud, messy, and rambunctious. You can’t help but stare. Then, in an instant, they tumble into the bush, but you can still hear the shrieks as they slink away.
I always felt bad for the mom of three boys — the dirt, the constant hunger, the smells, the sounds. I would shudder at the thought of the state of their carpet at home and push it out of my mind immediately because that would never be me. My carpet would be gorgeous and clean.
You see, I am currently the mother of three strapping, smart-ass, little booger boys, and I am actually cool with it. But let me tell you: Taking three boys out in public is a shitshow. That is why you rarely see us. It’s a nightmare.
My boy are good boys, but three of them together in public is an unfair fight. I have a competitive ultra-genius 9-year-old who is emotional and never wants to disappoint. There’s the 5-year-old art-loving, selective-hearing jokester who has giant eyes and the best laugh. And don’t forget the baby who is so chill and smiley and darling. I just want to eat him up (he’s the perfect one so far). (And no, I won’t be trying for a girl, but thanks for asking.)
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was gunning for a girl. Praying for a girl. Girlgirlgirl. I cried as I lay on the ultrasound table at around 5 months along when the ultrasound tech showed me a baby penis. Yes, yes, my baby was healthy and growing, but I wanted to braid hair and buy little adorable dresses — or so I thought.
Having a boy was the best thing for me — I just didn’t know it yet. Why? Because I’m not a girlie girl. Don’t get me wrong: I like wearing dresses and cute shoes, and getting my hair done, but if I had to play princess every fucking day of toddlerhood, I might have had to run away from home. As a little girl, I loved pretending I was a cowboy, building with Legos, climbing trees, and playing all of the sports. I wasn’t the traditional girl you would see defined by pink kitties and purple ruffles.
I played better with boys. And that is what lives at my house, eats my food, and destroys my furniture — three beautiful, complicated, creative, loud boys.
As fate would have it, it turns out that I am pretty damn awesome at being a boy mom. The boys and the family love to go hiking in the woods, catching snakes, and checking out cool mosses. We have mini-wrestling camps in the living room on cold winter nights, aka “fight night,” where the boys (plus their father and I) take off their glasses, remove wallets, and get down and dirty on the living room floor. With the addition of the baby to the crew, we keep it pretty mellow, but it is fun to flip a boy around on your shoulder every once in a while.
Armpit farts? Yep.
Target practice with Nerf guns? Check.
A rogue pair of underpants is always floating around the house. Knees are constantly ripped out of brand-new jeans. There are lost snow pants, mittens, shoes, books, Matchbox cars. Obsessions with Thomas the Train morph into Star Wars, Pokémon into Minecraft. Zombies are around every corner. The boys are constantly talking about their junk.
While we love doing the stereotypical “boy” things, we also learn how to gently love on a baby, practice empathy when we accidentally hurt a brother, and that it’s okay to cry a lot and tell stories about your funny old dog (who will always be the oldest brother) who just died.
We aren’t just a family of wild boys, but boys who are working on becoming good people. That is not to say that families with girls can’t do the same things, but we have only watched Frozen once. It was not well-received. If you ask my boys if they “want to build a snowman,” they won’t break into song, but will build a crazy snow alien who farts nukes.
So the next time you are out shopping casually, you will see us: begging for toys right after Christmastime or having a meltdown before dinner because the snacks that were gobbled up 15 minutes ago are long-forgotten. You had better look quick because we are going to be in and out in a few minutes (ha ha), but you will hear us long after we have disappeared into the wilderness.