So I grew up with boys in my family. I have two brothers and two step-brothers. I lived with my dad alone for a lot of years, and I have been married for 9 years, living with my husband for more like 12 years. I’m setting this up so you can see that the man’s mind is not lost on me. I am not one of those women who doesn’t understand why men like boobies or why they yell at football games on TV. I know that farting is funny, and I laugh because it
makes me laugh that a whole group of people, mostly men, think that farting is funny. It’s inane and hilarious. I get it. I don’t do it, but I get it. I understand that “uh-huh” means I’m not listening and that anything that I would normally say in 300 words would be more easily understood by any of those men in my life in 3 words, and it helps to begin any sentence with “Hey”, kinda loud. If there’s a small chance there’s a crisis, it’s possible you can get their attention earlier and for like five seconds instead of three. You get the idea, right? Men are different than women. And ironically, nothing brings us closer to our own womanhood than having children. I say this because only after having children, did I understand the importance of my girlfriends on a much deeper level.
So I am thinking that even though I have been surrounded by boys and men my whole life, childbirth has taken me to a new form of womanhood… and then just as a joke, my womanhood brought forth two little manhoods. I wouldn’t have chosen anything else, truly. I used to joke that I wanted ten little boys to spray mud off with the hose and put bandaids on their knees. And somewhere deep inside I wanted that. But instead I got two little boys, and they feel like 100. Sooo, I kinda got what I wanted, maybe.
And each day I begin to realize how far I have stepped back into manworld and manhoods and all that jazz. Every day I realize how very little I know about men. Even though I think I can understand things maybe not all women understand about men, I perhaps know less than I ever thought I did. I started making a list of things that make me think of little boys. Feel free to correct me if you’d like.
My son came up to me last week, and I warn, these stories are not for the weak of heart. I do not deny that I am sure several of my friends could up with stories far worse than mine… But this is what I have to share… My son came up to me last week and told me to smell his finger. It was a moment I wasn’t ready for as I was holding my other son tightly in my lap while he watched a show on TV. I was feeling loving and kind and motherly, so I smelled it. And let’s just say I wasn’t prepared for the smell that wafted up my nose. My mind quickly ran threw all those synapses of stored away memories. Turns out, the memory was pretty close to the front of the line. It smelled like poop. I was surprised mostly, due to my son’s age being older than 2 by a couple years, mind you–seven. And I wasn’t sure of the motivation, so I tried not to over-react. I said, “Is that poop?” He said yes as he crumpled to the floor laughing as if he could live without every other breath. I took a moment to think in my head… What just happened here? Was that funny? Was that the worst thing that’s ever happened? Probably not. Do I act disgusted… Yes, but not too disgusted because a reaction over an 8 will only prompt a replay of this in a week. So mildly disgusted but still clearly disgusted with a low voice and not much facial expression. I pulled it out successfully. “Don’t ever do that again. It’s disgusting.” He roared laughing harder than ever.
Now really… this is my perfectionist child? The one who screamed at me when he was 2 because he couldn’t draw a star and cut it out flawlessly? He is 40 some days and has recently let his childhood start to happen, but is it really necessary to start here??? And yes, I get why it was funny… I’m telling you, I’m not an idiot.
Later that week, I take him to bed, and while I am laying next to him, chatting about the planets, the philosophy of the universe and other things my old souled child thinks of at 8PM, I see him pick his nose and wipe it off. I realize it’s not the worst thing, but I said, “You should put that in the trash.” He replies, “No, I always put them in my bed. I don’t need to put them in the trash, mom. Don’t worry. They’re not on the floor.” Thanks to my husband, my son is stashing buggars in his bed? Really? Thanks, sweetheart. I gingerly get up from the bed, turn on the light and peek wide-eyed between the sheets I had been lying in. There was a stash, little spotted buggars, all inside the sheets. Wow, I was just lying there. Still, I don’t panic. I know why he’s done it. He doesn’t want to put them on the floor where dad hates them. “Okay, sweetie, let’s start putting those in the trash can. That’s digusting.” He breaks down into laughter.
My children and I are riding in the car on the way to school, and I am fervently thinking of ways to get my son, who can pay attention for about 2.5 seconds about anything he thinks is someone else’s idea. How do I get him to find the answer to my question in his story? Yelling hadn’t worked. And I wonder what is the best school for him and if I should take red dye out of his diet and if maybe I’m too hard on him, when I come out of my thoughts with a “Can you eat poop, mom?” Well, let’s see.
“No honey, we don’t eat poop.”
“Because it’s gross. It’s dirty. Do you eat trash?”
“Well, poop is like trash. You don’t eat trash.”
“Couldn’t we just try it?”
“No, honey. It’s not safe. You don’t’ eat things that come out of your butt.”
And the back of the car breaks into hilarious peals of laughter. What did I say?
I said the word “butt” in a sentence. And then I wonder if it was a set-up from my four year, who bet my 7 year old that he could get me to say the word “butt”. I’m torn. I asked them to quit using the word “butt” every three seconds, in every conversation they have, every moment of every day, so I have to stand by that, but I honestly can’t remember why. I say the word “butt”. I used it appropriately, mind you—not just as the middle name for everyone we know or the adjective before every noun in the English language. I said it because I hate when parents say buttocks or back side or some such other “safe” word that no one even uses because it’s not saying a word that might be construed as bad. And here’s my punishment. I should have been using a safer version of the real word. And that’s not the only “real world” word I use. But instead of saying anything else, the audience falls apart when I use the word “butt”. And then on the other side of the coin, really, when I have seen them this happy before? Christmas is but a far second to the joy on their red little faces as they realize they can run with this infraction because it was ME who said it. It was definitely a set up.
“Mom said ‘butt’, J!” More peals of laughter. You get the idea.
And then I realize that although my son will probably never put poop in my face again and maybe no more buggars in his bed, the word “butt” will always be funny. There will always be farting and buggars and their corresponding sounds that will never, ever lose their value of funny. I sat and enjoyed the moment. I made a list of all the disgusting things that happened in the last couple months, and there were ones I would be embarrassed to share… But I just know that these are some of the best days of their lives. One day they will probably remember laughing at the word butt when mom said it. And one day when I have a lull in my funny, I may just whip out an armpit fart or say the word “poopy diaper” in place of the lyrics of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. And although I haven’t cracked the code or grown a beard, you’ve got to love that one thing is consistent. The disgusting things in life are a little boys’ diamonds. They look for them, they sense them, they relish in them and delight in their ability to disjoint others’ sense of propriety and probably don’t know why. It just feels right. And really, women’s intuition is much like that. We just know some things have to be, and we may not know why. But I do love the simplicity, the consistency and the laughs. I do love the laughs the best. So cheers this time to belly laughs and the ridiculous things that bring them to us, to farts, buggars and poop. They are the sign that boys are just who they are supposed to be.