Monday, November 7, 2011

Advice for Living with Boys

As the only female in a male-dominated household, I am now realizing the extent to which I am hopelessly outnumbered by boys (five of them to be exact... since as any honest wife can attest, a husband is just a large-sized boy).  I am often asked how I manage with four sons, especially since they are seven years old and younger.  After doing some thinking on the subject, I hereby offer ten practical suggestions on living with boys:

1. Always check the toilet seat before sitting down.

2. Accept that discussion of bodily functions make up a significant portion of conversation among boys. For reasons only known to them, boys derive some innate pleasure in announcing that a bodily function has taken place almost as much as they enjoy the action itself. So you might as well start developing a sense of humor about how many words rhyme with "poop" and "fart".

3. When shopping, resist the urge to browse (or buy for the future, "just in case") frilly pink dresses, tea sets, and American Girl dolls. The only doll you'll have in your house is one that comes with her own weapon and kicks butt (think Ahsoka from the Clone Wars).
4. Learn to play with action figures. To do this properly, you must think like a boy. This requires not only being prepared to debate the advantages of a lightsaber versus a blaster, but understanding that Luke and Anakin actually want to slay each other.  They do not want to plant a garden, have a tea party, or talk about their father-son issues over coffee.  They simply want to dismember each other. 

5. Realize that a little boy is not much different from a puppy. He needs time every day to run in the yard, and he will return to the house covered in mud, yapping about having outrun a squirrel.

6. Stop hating sports. Boys are very active, and it's far better to channel their energy into athletics than keep them indoors (see point above about boys and puppies). Just accept that your Saturday mornings will now be spent on a variety of athletic fields, and invest in a sturdy lawn chair and cooler.

7. Don't be offended if you're speared, impaled, shot with arrows, or fired upon in make-believe battles. You have been considered a worthy adversary. So develop a repertoire of wounded and dying gesticulations, the more dramatic the better.
8. If you want to encourage reading at home, remember that literature is best digested by boys if it comes in comic book format. And accept the fact that boys will never want to read Jane Eyre or Anne of Green Gables together (not unless Anne has a twin brother Andy who has robotic laser guns for arms, and Green Gables is actually a code name for a secret military fortress).

9. Understand that the sole purpose of building a Lego tower is to knock it down.
10. Remember that boys don't give a hoot if their shoes don't match their outfits. The only "accessorizing" a boy needs involves strapping on a bike helmet or shin guards. So if your maternal urges require coordinating sock colors, buy a Ken doll.

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