A friend once said to me that little boys are like puppies, and it has always stayed with me. I don’t think being puppy-like is a bad thing – I love puppies, and I obviously love my boys. But there are definitely more than a few similarities:
- boys need to get out for a good runaround every day. When they’ve been cooped up for too long, they start to get silly – you might find one climbing up a bookcase or chasing himself round and round in a circle. When they realise that the time to go out is approaching, they hover and leap around by the door, frequently crashing against it in a feverish state of excitement.
- they are loyal little creatures, often following their parent or carer around with an ‘I just want to be loved’ look.
- they are mainly interested in food – if you were to pop a meal on the floor for them, I am pretty confident that they would eat it up quite happily. They are quick to hunt out anyone who might be attempting to eat some food in secret – once they’ve found you, they will tilt their heads and stare with huge eyes. They might drool.
- your house will never look quite the same again.
- they are eager to please, desperately seeking praise for the simplest of things such as managing to put trousers on without help…… even if said trousers end up on back to front or with two legs through the same hole.
- as babies they dribble and drool all over you and their clothes; as preschoolers they give spontaneous cuddles and kisses, and, if you’re lucky blow slobbery raspberries on your face.
They are high energy, but they have relatively simple needs: running off some energy, eating, or having a cuddle.
I have three of these little puppies, two of whom are slightly more puppy like than the other. I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is an assumption in our culture isn’t there that the ‘perfect’ family means one boy and one girl – ‘one of each – perfect‘, people like to say. There is also an assumption that if you don’t have one of each, you must be yearning for what you don’t have. And that it’s perfectly ok to ask someone if they’re planning on ‘trying for a boy‘ or ‘trying for a girl‘; as if that’s even how it works anyway. People love to stop you for a chat when you’ve got small children, and most people are lovely; but I’ve had my fair share of comments like ‘oh dear, 3 boys?’, and ‘all boys? You poor thing’. I know most people probably mean nothing at all by comments like this – it’s just something to say, but is it any harder to say ‘3 boys, how lovely!’? And I definitely didn’t appreciate the man who even went to the trouble of slowing his car down and winding down the window just to tell me how unlucky he thought I was. Because the thing is, I have three healthy, lovable and excitable little boys and don’t consider myself unlucky at all. Occasionally I wish I had a reason to buy funky tights, but there are plenty of other little girls I can buy those for instead.
I don’t think most of us parents could imagine anything other than what we have, and I know I would feel exactly the same if I had a house full of girls. My house is loud and chaotic and, quite frankly, a mess. My boys don’t draw lovely pictures of rainbows or people or sunshine or anything really; they scribble furiously then quickly announce they’ve had enough. Nor do they sit nicely and smile for photos. There is a lot of running, chasing, emptying out toy boxes, and scrabbling around on the floor (or sometimes in the bins) for food. There is wrestling, there is screaming, there are scraped knees and cut lips, there is plenty of fun and laughter, there is climbing up to sit on mummy’s knee, there are cuddles and slobbery kisses.
There is a sensitive, bookish one; a mischievous one, and a sometimes-mischievous-sometimes-shy one. This is my house of boys – it may not be the ‘perfect’ family other people imagine, but it is my family, those slobbery kisses are for me, and honestly, I am not a ‘poor thing‘ at all.