There are so many things to say about boys, from their innate need for speed, unassuming tenderness, pure joy, and adventurous spirit, to the fact that they can hit a bullseye with a Nerf gun but can’t seem to hit the toilet half the time. I have fraternal twin sons and as unique as they might be, they share certain innate “boy” qualities that make them extra special to me.
Raising my boys to this point has not been easy — far from it. While their sister has had 0 trips to the emergency room, they have each had three or more. Both have had stitches; one got stitches two times in the same week when he split his chin open not once but twice. One had surgery when he was six months old, meningitis when he was two, and severe bronchitis that had him hospitalised at four. At least once a day in my house, you will hear me screaming (yes, screaming): "Boys!! Stop!! N-O-W!" followed by an: "OR ELSE!!" which usually involves threats to take away Minecraft.
But, come nightfall, you will also hear one boy whisper drowsily as he nods off to sleep: "Mama, snuggle." And the other wait until his brother and sister are out and then come to me without words, arms lifted, waiting to be picked up. He is 8 and I pray he's still coming to me with arms out at age 18 (I know, a long shot).
They are rough, loud, and can destroy a room in about 30 seconds flat. Needless to say, life without them would be deadly dull. I cannot imagine it. Here's why I love raising my boys:
10. Boys can make shelter out of anything. If there is ever an apocalyptic event, you want a small posse of 8-12 year old boys around to build you some cover. Twigs, blankets, boxes, hangers, muddy rocks, plastic bottles, aluminum foil — you name it, they can make a fort out of it. My boys once built a 4-bedroom condo with tunnels to and from the various rooms — all out of sofa cushions, plastic storage boxes, a plexiglass tabletop, bathrobe belts, and some strategically-placed coffee table books.
9. No need spend a lot on clothes when you have a boy. Girl trends come and go, but boys remain classic. The super-cool blue jeans and white t-shirt James Dean wore…still cool. Dress your dudes in denim and tees and you’re done. A few pairs of jeans, some all-purpose sneakers, a stash of long and short-sleeve tees and a button-down for special occasions – that boy uniform will last all the way through high school and well into adulthood. My boys live in Shaun White jeans from Target, black suede Pumas, and an array of henleys and crew-necks in black, gray, and red (they don't like shirts with designs or words, so shopping is a dream!). On "special occasions" they swap their uniform for cords and a simple button-down.
8. At 4pm every day — like clockwork — my twins start wrestling. I have tried to step in, stop it, tone it down. No use. Finally, one of them looked up at me mid-stranglehold, and said: “Mom, it’s OK. We. Just. Need. To. WRESTLE.” I’ve talked to mum friends about this and apparently their boys wrestle too. There’s something liberating about it, I suppose…once you get past the please-don’t-break-a-bone panic. Now I let them have their 20 minutes of rough play as long as they do it in a safe space and stay "below the face." I feel like a WWF ref.
7. Boys have the freedom to pee anywhere. Woods, parking lots, side of the road, even into a ziplock bag, which I have done (not proud of it). Once my sons reached the age of six, they realised how awesome it was to pee with such ease. Being brothers, they take every chance they get to brag to their sister about these special talents.
6. I hesitate to put this on the list, but as many mums know boys can make a gun out of anything. When I nixed having toy guns in the house, my son used a spring-loaded toilet paper holder and a wine cork to fashion one. Why does this make the list of best things about boys? It reflects their creativity, curiosity, and irrepressible natural instincts. As adults, we associate guns with adult things; for boys, they are creative play and as the saying goes, you can’t keep a good man down. My sons have now moved on to the world of Nerf. Several months ago, I received an email from Amazon saying my Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25 Dart Blaster had shipped. Problem is, I hadn't ordered one. Upon looking it up, I found the price was $239!!!! My son, who sometimes browses on Amazon and adds things to his Wish List, ordered it "by accident" (or at least that's his story). Needless to say, the blaster was returned.
5. Their miraculous ability to be both tough and tender. All the raucousness, physicality, speed and constant motion is overshadowed when my son cuddles up in my arms and says gently, "Mama, I love you."
4. They love to build things. Legos aren’t just a boy thing, and with the new line of Lego Friends, the toy company is tapping into the girl set. My daughter, though, will never be as obsessed with Legos as her brothers. Legos are boy heaven feeding their impulse to build, design, destroy, and rebuild. The inventions born from their brilliant boy imaginations out of nothing more than tiny bits of plastic truly astound me. My son had to do a school project showing how he expresses himself creatively. He chose Legos, as did about four other boys in his class. That says it all.
3. They have serious team spirit. Both boys and girls play sports, but I have to put this on the boy list because there is something about watching a team of 8-year-old dudes run for their lives and play their hearts out on the basketball court that makes a mum’s heart burst. All that locker-room brotherhood you see in college and pro leagues – the back-slapping, butt-smacking, and high-fiving — starts here in childhood. My sons are currently on a basketball team with a handful of their best buddies and there is nothing I like more than watching them all do their version of The Happy Dance when the team sinks a basket.
2. It's awesome to watch them with the big boys…their dads. Our elementary school holds a Pinewood Derby race each year and for several months beforehand, my husband locks himself in his workshop with the boys to work on creating their Winning Race Car. I don't know what goes on behind closed doors, but I can tell you it involves power tools, lead weights, adhesives, airbrushing, and specialized tools whose names I can't pronounce.
1. Mum will always be Girl #1. This year, the night before Valentine’s Day, one of my sons called me into his bedroom and said, "Mom, I have a question… I want you to be my Valentine… would you?" Yes. Forever.