THE SMELLY BUSINESS OF RAISING A BOY

Staring at the two young boys rubbing their crotch against my leather couch, I tried hard to mask the horror on my face. In my mind, I could see only two solutions to this problem: bleach the couch or get a new one.

“They do this all the time. Boys are obsessed with their penises!” laughed my friend, brushing off the strange behaviour as a common problem all mothers of boys experienced.

At the time, having a well-mannered and mild-tempered four-year-old daughter, I could not imagine any son of mine being different. Honestly, if someone had told me that raising boys would involve a ton of toilet humour and penile fascination, I would have scoffed at their ridiculous suggestion. But five years on, with a four-year-old son of my own, I am eating my words.

Now I scoff when anyone tells me that raising boys is no different from raising girls (e.g. my mum, who tells me that my inferior parenting skills are the reasons behind my son’s mischievous nature). Parenting a boy is like being a circus trainer, tasked with corralling a crazed monkey hyped on natural adrenaline. Imagine a cymbal clapping monkey with no off button and short-circuited.

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Perhaps it’s just my son, and I’m giving circus monkeys a bad name. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son. He is very loving and sweet, but man does he test my limits in ways my daughter never did.

When I complain about grey hairs as a result of raising a boy, I don’t think people truly believe me. So I think the best way is to give examples of how raising a boy has been different from raising a girl.

Example 1:
My four-year-old son and I are sprawled on the couch with a blanket on us. We chat about random topics. Out of nowhere, he pulls the blanket over our heads. Thinking it was a new game, I go along with it. He gives a suspicious giggle. A second later, I’m throwing off the blanket and gagging from the foul-smelling odour hitting my nostrils. Where my daughter finds bodily fumes disgusting, my son thinks it’s funny to Dutch oven his mother.

Point here: Little boys are fascinated with flatulence. They love doing farts, wielding these smelly fluff fluffs like weapons of mass destruction. If my son could use his putrid puffs as currency, he would be rich.

Example 2:
Every night I give the kids a goodnight cuddle and a kiss before they hop into bed. One night, my son asks me to crouch down to his level. Thinking that he wanted a big cuddle, I bend down. Instead of receiving a goodnight cuddle, my son turns his back to me, bends at the waist and proceeds to fart in my face. He laughs like a crazy hyena before scooting off to bed.

Point here: As a mother, I should always be on high alert for any signs pointing towards a fart attack. See previous point. 

Example 3:
We meet up with another boy my son’s age for a play date at the park. The minute we hit the playground, it’s like game on. My son turns everything into a pissing contest.

“Mummy, my water bottle is bigger than his!”
“Push me higher! I want to go higher than him!”
“I got here first, this is my steering wheel!”

Point here: Little boys are competitive. Whether it’s innate or not, expect roughhousing, aggression and most likely, tantrums.

Example 4:
Since my son has been out of nappies, he’s become obsessed with his penis. Sometimes he uses his peen as a hose. Sometimes it’s a toy to explore.

Oh, there’s a hole… I wonder if I can put something in it? Oh, what happens if I pull the skin really far out? Oh, I wonder what these two bumps are?

And now that he has better control of his bladder, he waits until shower time and uses my clean shower screen as his canvas for a pee drawing. A penis art brush.

Point here: Little boys love their penises, almost as much as potty humour. I bet this is a life-long love.

There are many examples I could write about but then this post would never end. And now, there is an eerie silence in the house, which is rarely a good thing when parenting a boy.

Let me sign off by saying there’s a certain charm to raising boys… and smell.

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