List: Four things I wish I’d known about boys before I had them

*WARNING: This post contains sweeping generalizations.
If that sort of thing is not your bag then you might want read something else. And probably stay away from the entire internet for that matter…

As most of you know I live in the testosterone zone with my partner Brook and our three boys. Then every other week these levels are raised further when my lovely stepson comes to stay for a night or two.**

While in hospital for each of the boys births I was given a little red book to record their measurements and immunisations, and a bounty bag full of brochures, breast pads and tubes of complimentary nappy rash cream.

Now I’m sure the hospital administrators meant well, but this post natal swag left me woefully unprepared for even ONE boy let alone three.

So in the spirit of parental solidarity, I’ve put together a list of the top 4 things I wish I’d known that could have helped prepare me for the onslaught of raising boys.

It would have been five except I was forced to concede that “You will need wine” is invaluable parenting advice regardless of the gender of your children.

1. You will talk about Dig-Digs and Dinosaurs for 8 years

When you leave hospital you’ll have fistfuls of literature on every subject from the standard breast-feeding advice to my personal favourite – how to poo properly post-caesarion.

All this is fine and good, but what you really need to be swatting up on is earth-moving equipment, affectionately referred to in our house as “dig-digs”. Some of the credit for this obsession must go to Bob the Builder, but I think the added excitement of seeing their toys come to life every time we drove past road works definitely contributed as well.

Max, aged 2,  at the height of dig-dig fever.

Max, aged 2, at the height of dig-dig fever.

Either way, for years no journey was complete without a robust discussion about any “dig-digs” we happened to see, including speculation about they were used for and what type of noise they made

Then when my eldest was around 3 years old dinosaurs entered the equation.

Since I also had an 18 month old and a full time job by this point I cant honestly say how it happened, but now I was now forced to memorise countless dinosaur names and have robust discussions about whether they were meat-eaters or plant-eaters.

When son number 3 came along he picked up both the dig-dig and dinosaur obsessions, so according to my calculations I spent approximately 8 years talking about these two subjects. ENDLESSLY!

As you would expect one does not escape from this mental anguish unscathed. I have pointed out a particularly interesting looking dig-dig to a rather bemused colleague once while we were driving to an appointment.

And I have been known, after a few drinks, to challenge my companions to dinosaur naming competitions by asking (in a slightly belligerent manner)…

ME: “Ask me what an Archeopteryx is…”

*baffled silence*

ME: “Nah, seriously man, go ahead. Ask me what an f*%king Archeopteryx is … ”

*awkward pause*

ME: “Whaddaya mean you don’t care what an Archeopteryx is? That’s just fucking ignorant, that is… ”

Brook usually ushers me away at this point muttering…

“Didn’t we agree not to start up with the Archeopteryx shit this time? Hmmmm?”

For those of you who DO Care this is an Archeopteryx.  Half bird, half dinosaur and 100% BAD-ASS!

For those of you who DO Care this is an Archeopteryx.
Half bird, half dinosaur and 100% BAD-ASS!

image source

2. The bathroom will become your nemesis

Another standard item in the baby swag bags were those little bottles of Johnson & Johnson lavender scented bath lotion. Once again a very nice gesture but one that in no way prepared me for the horror which is sharing one bathroom with three boys.

By the end of the week it looks like monkeys have taken up residence in the bathroom, and it smells like it too.

There is wee IN the toilet – despite nagging, begging and pleading with them to flush, 9 times out of 10 they just saunter off once they’ve given their dangly bits a final shake. And thanks to a bit of dodgy aim and absentmindedness there is also plenty of wee OUTSIDE the toilet too.

After 11 years of fighting the good fight in our bathroom, I have developed the following recommendations regarding the equipment that should be issued to mothers of boys upon leaving the hospital…

First Son = Large vat of disinfectant

Second Son = High pressure hose, Gerni or similar.

Third Son = Full HAZMAT suit

For fourth and subsequent sons all I can suggest is something cheerful like this to hang above the bathroom door…

Abandon hope, y'all...

Abandon hope, y’all…

image source

3. Your lounge room will become “The Octagon”

To say that boys like wrestling is like saying that Brazilians “like” soccer – and understatement of epic proportions. What is surprising is that what looks (and sounds) like conflict is actually fun – apparently there is no better way to express your affection for your brother than getting him in a headlock!

To simulate the effect of living with boys…

  • Create an Octagon in your lounge room using cushions, coffee tables and and other pieces of occasional furniture
  • Go to your local Mixed Martial Arts gym – invite all members to your house for an impromptu training session. Bribe them with protein shakes if necessary
  • When you get back to The Octagon (AKA your lounge) encourage the MMA guys to really get stuck into their training – take note of damage to fittings and fixtures because that’s how your house in going to look permanently once your boys arrive

You may notice afterwards your neighbours give you strange looks or comment on how noisy things are at your house. You may as well get used to that too, while you’re at it…

Consider yourself warned!

Consider yourself warned!

4. You will become the underpants police

For reasons unknown to man or science, many little boys consider wearing undies to be a hindrance they’d rather do without.

How underwear feels to to little boys...

How underwear feels to to little boys…

image source

Now I’m no prude and when we are at home I’m totally in favour of being comfortable and letting it all hang out – figuratively and literally.

But society, and in particular school, does require that dangly bits be stowed safely so they can’t peak out the sides of their shorts. Which means that you need to prepare for a life of constant vigilance to ensure that all your sons make it out the door wearing underpants. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

A background in the federal police or perhaps customs might be beneficial but even still they are crafty creatures and in the hustle of the morning routine it’s easy to forget to check.

Often you don’t even know you’ve let one through to the keeper unless you happen to see them getting undressed for the bath. If the shorts come off and reveal a bare butt you know they’ve foiled you again.

So that’s my very inappropriate guide to preparing for raising boys.

Is your house full of waggling willies? Are you a all girl house or a cheerful mix? Are your kids serial underwear-evaders?

How do YOU manage it?

**My only relief from this relentlessly male atmosphere comes in the form of my step-daughter who is more than a match for even the most rambunctious of the boys.

46 comments on “List: Four things I wish I’d known about boys before I had them

  1. Emily says:

    Love it. I have one of each (so far). The male has only recently turned one, but I’m already seeing the differences. Man oh man, I can’t believe how early in life men are fascinated by their bits!

  2. Me says:

    This made me laugh and appreciate having just one girl !!!!!! Although dangly parts are often seen as A makes his way around the place he does manage to keep them tucked away when she is around.
    Well that finally explains the no undies thing that he does – I have wondered for many years why he gets home, gets undressed and puts a pair of shorts on with no undies – now I know – it’s a boy thing !!!!
    Have the best day and thanks for the laugh !!!
    Me xox

  3. We have a four year old boy. The upside of having a boy who loves vehicles is that whereever and when ever we need an activity, pointing him to a construction site or watch the traffic . He’s happy to sit and watch the actvity!

    • Rachel says:

      You are dead right Steph. My eldest boy in particular would happily just watch the cars going past – it must be the motion that intrigues them.

  4. Yes, yes, yes!! I’ve got two boys. The second son’s first 2-syllable word was “gigger!” (now digger). And we have a ‘no underpants, no couch’ rule in our house…

  5. Stuart P says:

    Thank the lord I have girls!!! Mind you, the steady procession of outfit changes and fancy dress that continues throughout the day (and at weird times, like 2am for some ill conceived reason) would rival any male tendancy toward commando. And if I have to watch f#$king Tinkerbell again I’m going to vomit. (She doesn’t even think it’s funny when I call her Stinkysmell, now a boy would love that comedic gold). Mind, as well you may remember Rachael, I’m a bit of a sensitive soul having grown up with all girls, so I’m buggered if I would know what to do with boys. I never really got the wrestling thing, and it kind of freaks me out.

    • Rachel says:

      I feel you with the costume changes. We seriously have every super-hero outfit you could want including some fairly obscure ones like Speed Racer and Indiana Jones!! My middle son in particular has had several phases of insisting on wearing a certain costume every day. And you are right about Stinkysmell – I guarantee my lot would be rolling about on the floor killing themselves with laughter.

      The problem with the wrestling is that it STARTS as fun but someone always takes it a step too far and then it’s on for young and old. But I must point out it’s not ALL testosterone-fueled wrestling. My eldest is pestering me for a fancy camera because he did a photography subject at school and has gotten the bug. The middle one is writing a book (he’s up to six chapters now – and no I’m not kidding). And the little fella writes me a love letters and tells me I’m the “queen of this family”. I reckon you would have been fine Stu – and who knows, maybe you might get the chance to find out yet?

  6. LOL! Oh you SO NAILED IT! Thank you for the laugh – as a Mum of 6 kids – 4 of whom are boys (5 if you add Dad), I can so relate to this post!!! Please check out my latest picture post on Facebook (Six Little Hearts) for my neat take on sorting boys underwear issues – you will really relate!
    Males quite amaze me. I have been obsessively thinking on these very issues all week as I have been baffled by the boys’ inability to do ANYTHING without constant hounding!
    Buy your boys the BBC DVD Walking with Dinosaurs – it still shuts them up to this day and stops the lounge wrestling for a good 60 minutes.
    I too know every darn thing imaginable about dinosaurs. The biggest classic was when my eldest Son, corrected his prep teacher for mispronouncing a dinosaur name and was told off for it! (He was correct!) LOL! 😀

    • Rachel says:

      Oh God FOUR boys!! I love your creative approach to the underwear issue – I’m going to try it because even if it doesn’t work it will be funny as hell to watch. I didn’t even touch on the hounding but you’re right… SO BORING AND CONSTANT. But nothing would get done if I didn’t!

  7. PS Just shared on FB and Pinterest – too good not to!
    Just FYI, girls are a whole different kettle of fish worthy of an equal rant. Never thing you got the harder end of the stick with no girl – these creatures are complex! x

    • Rachel says:

      Lol I am grateful not to be stuck watching Frozen 9 million times, as all my friends with girls seem to be 😉 And thank you for the shares – you are too kind xx

  8. Oh God, so so much to learn! I only have one son, and he’s only 3, but despite all my naive presumptions that I would raise all my 3 children in an empowering bubble free from the hindrance of gender role biases, he is a total BOY! His energy and his way of approaching problem solving is quite different from his sisters already. It’s all sword fights and action adventures and fart jokes. My hat goes off to you there in manland!

  9. Ness says:

    This is absolutely true. Every single word. My eldest, in particular, was OBSESSED with diggers. Unfortunately my other two have the same intense passion for Lego. And one of these days, whenever I’m ready to purchase a new couch, I’m just going to pee on the old one and wait for the boys to sit on it. Yes – revenge will be sweet.

    • Rachel says:

      Oh Ness.. I just had a vision of you peeing on your couch waiting for the boys to come along, and I snorted Coke Zero out of my NOSE!! Mine are all lego obsessed too – even more so since the Lego movie came out. What galls me about lego is that you pay and arm and a leg for something that is eventually just going to get sucked up by the vacuum cleaner 😉

  10. Two boys, a husband and a male dog in my house. We are almost through the Dinosaur phase, with the wrestling phase just starting, absolutely no hope in the toilet ( I wipe the seat down every time I’m about to sit) and my eldest has not worn jocks for a year….

    • Rachel says:

      Lol some fights are just not worth it are they? And I don’t want to disillusion you Michelle, but I’ve been told the wrestling phase lasts until they’re about 20 so we both have a LOOOONG road ahead!!

  11. You’re such a wit! I loved this.

  12. Grace says:

    LMAO! Oh Rach! It’s been ages but geez, you’ve come back with a good one! Having twin boys, our lounge room is one of the messiest octagons I know. And OMG! The wrestling! It just takes a split second for it to go from friendly play fighting to tears and screams. Faaaark!

    • Rachel says:

      God Grace I can only imagine the the amount of wrestling action your Octagon sees! Truly epic. You would be well familiar with the expression “It’s all fun and games until somebody’s nose starts bleeding..”!

  13. You are SOOO right! We’re in the digger stage AND the dino stage, 2.5 and 4.5 boys! What is it with the not wearing undies, I had to check again this morning! My oldest just does NOT flush the loo and I’ve almost giving up nagging. Thanks for the laugh and the cry, because soon I will have boys your age and be going through this – LOVE the toilet door sign!

    • Rachel says:

      They are the absolute peak ages for those two obsessions in my experience. Sometimes it feels like you haven’t had a non digger/dino conversation for DAYS! My youngest is the worst when it comes to undies. He needs daily checking otherwise it’s bare-butt city lol.

  14. Nice to see you around BTW 🙂 x

  15. I can one up you!! I have four sons and I totally agree about the bathroom, there is WEE everywhere. My Second is particularly proud of the fact that he can do it HANDS FREE!! He can’t actually. My fourth started wrestling at THREE MONTHS. Seriously! I had two sisters and I am amazed by the mess, noise and physicality of boys. You didn’t mention the constant poo, fart, burp noises and jokes. I get sick of it. My husband, who went to boarding school, says to wait till I live with a house full of teenage boys. Apparently it gets better?

    • Rachel says:

      Aaaarggh the hands-free wee!!! My youngest also thinks he can pull this off – hello wee EVERYWHERE! And you’re right – they never pass up a good poo/fart joke do they? I think the only thing that will change as they get older is the smelliness. My oldest is 11 and I have to chase him around with a can of deodorant or he reeks!

  16. mumabulous says:

    I’d love to swap you my f^&king princesses, butterflies and mermaids for the dig digs and dinosaurs at least for one week.

    • Rachel says:

      Great idea – I think it would be a holiday for both of us. I would find their princessy ways precociously charming and you would find my boys boisterouness endearing. And here is something to make you jealous…

      I haven’t seen Frozen. Not even once.

      I’ll just let that soak in…

  17. Absolutely brilliant! I laughed out loud all the way through. I have two sisters and have been “blessed” with two sons. They are 4 and 2.5 and we certainly tick all the items in your list. Our house has just the one bathroom so I am secretly planning an ensuite haven for some point in my life. Please god. Ditto on the Frozen comment. Our current obsession is shark documentaries on YouTube 🙂

    • Rachel says:

      Oh an ensuite! Its such a beautiful dream isn’t it? My boys are a bit older (6,9 and 11) and they all love watching Mine-Craft videos on YouTube!

  18. Sarah Mac says:

    I have two boys and a girl – the boys were born 15 years apart so I’ve had approximately 30 solid years of dig digs, dinosaurs and pee on the bathroom floor – I am beaten …

  19. HesitantHousewife says:

    Haha! Loved this! Laughing out loud. Because I have a girl 😉 I am currently wishing the Bounty bags contained a book of lyrics for Frozen, and YouTube videos of hair braiding…

    • Rachel says:

      I haven’t seen the hair braiding videos but my youngest boy is right into loom bands so I have watched a fair few of those!

  20. MrsDplus3 says:

    I could hug you right now!! I only have one boy but you’ve hit the nail on the head for EVERY point. Phew, I can’t tell you how happy I am to know it’s all normal!!! Oh and I was so lost the underpants battle today!! Happy weekend lovely xx

    • Rachel says:

      I lost it over the weekend with my youngest – I don’t think he actually wore undies at any point! Yes all very normal – noisy and smelly but normal 🙂

  21. tracykopp says:

    Love it Rach!!! I have no boys, but now with a teenage daughter I am sure hearing about a lot of them. And I hope THOSE ones have a mum who has been as diligent with making certain he is wearing underpants as you. In saying that, I have a boyfriend who is STILL constantly trying to get away with no undies too, at almost 30, they seem never to grow out of it!

    • Rachel says:

      He he since she is your daughter I am SURE you’re hearing a lot about boys (apples, trees etc.)!! Maybe you should have a “no undies, no date” policy? Because if you REALLY wanted to mortify her you could insist on checking before the young man is allowed to make any advances towards her 😉 I can usually rely on Brook to wear undies outside the house but they are the first thing to go once he gets home!

  22. I have four waggling willies. Thankfully they keep their undies on now they are young men 🙂

  23. Vanessa says:

    Practical advice noted for if I decide to go down the kids path 🙂

  24. Hahaha! I only have one boy (two counting my husband) and he is only 2, but I will laminate this and keep it with me so I know what to expect :o)

  25. OMG you had me in flipping hysterics. Yep 3 boys here – whole lots of noodles and nuts going on too. How do I cope? Vodka is my friend and Gin and I are very chummy too! xx

  26. I love this!! I only have one girl and no plans to have anymore. It’s amazing how different the experience is with different genders just by what seems to be biology.

  27. Maxabella says:

    Nice to see you! And the underpants thing just made me a laugh until I cried and cried and cried… x

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