I’ve heard all the reasons why mums are so tired, like the lack of sleep and the avalanche of things to do in a day that require Herculean feats of energy to accomplish. And while those reasons may be true, I think the real cause of a mother’s exhaustion are all the shenanigans that her kids get into when she isn’t looking.
For example, the other day I walked into the bathroom and found my 7-year-old son spraying shaving cream all over his 3-year-old brother’s head. They both had scissors in their hands and when I asked what on earth they were doing, my oldest son said, “Mum, we’re playing Barber Shop! First I’m going to cut his hair and then he’s going to cut mine!” To my horror, there was already shaving cream splotched with patches of hair dotting the bathroom floor. They had tested their technique on the dog — all while I was two rooms away washing dishes.
This, people, is why I don’t sleep.
My sons, two loving brothers, are thick as thieves when it comes to finding mischief to get into. They adore each other the way most brothers do, and we can see that in all the quiet plotting and hushed giggling they do together. But, for whatever reason, they will go from captain and sidekick in a diabolical plan to form a coup on us to literally torturing each other in ways that drive me bonkers (quite like the brothers do in the new movie The Boss Baby, which hits cinemas 23 March).
Here are the things my little rascals do to each other the minute I turn my back. Boy mums, can you relate?
1. They give each other noogies. I’m talking beet red faces, with fists vigorously rubbing hair until smoke signals rise.
2. They tell terrifying tales at bedtime. The second I shut their bedroom door, one brother is whispering scary stories about monsters under the bed, in the bathtub, and even in the toilet.
3. They fart on each other. Brothers take farting into the realm of sport with points scored for big sounds and even bigger stinky odours. It’s all fun and games until someone gets pinkeye.
4. They’re ruthless when it comes to truth-or-dare. “I dare you to eat your own boogers!” is usually how this game starts. It eventually escalates to things like lick a worm, say a swear word, sniff dad’s sweaty socks — all the way up to, “I bet you can’t jump off the stairs before mum comes in!”
5. They try to get each other into trouble. One brother will always try his best to talk the other brother into breaking a house rule, like drawing a ninja on the living room wall, stealing my knitting needles for sword fighting, or worse, sneaking treats from the kitchen to eat while hiding behind the bathroom door. (I wonder where they learned that one from?!)
6. They annoy each other. Why do brothers intentionally antagonise each other with ridiculous little things like, “HE’S BREATHING ON ME!” There’s also the classic stunt where one son will point his finger an inch from his brother’s face in order to launch the ping pong argument — “He’s touching me!” “No, I’m not!” “Yes, you are!” — until someone starts crying, “MUUUUUUUUUUM!”
7. They compete constantly. Nothing is off-limits — bigger burps, faster Matchbox racecars, you name it. This bickering will never end with an agreement on who is the best, but rather, a screaming shout-fest for Mum to come running in to referee the debacle.
I’m on my way!