5 Things I Wish I Knew BEFORE I Had a Baby Boy

bboyblog

I may have grown up with a brother only 22 months older than me, but that did not automatically make me an expert on the male gender and psyche. This became very clear the day I gave birth to my first boy child and realized I had no idea what the hell I was doing. Not just when it came to the parts I, as a woman, do not have, but when it came to… well… pretty much everything else, too.

It’s not just snip, snails, and puppy dog tails. The definition of “boy” is not just “noise with dirt on it”- they’re more complicated than that. Or if complicated doesn’t seem like the right word, perhaps CONFUSING will make sense.

What I really mean is that the advice I got to “let boys be boys!” and “they’re stinkier than girls” didn’t really cut it.

This isn’t where I’m going to pretend to be the Boy Guru after squeezing two out of my baby chute and claim to know everything. No. Ohhh heeeeeeeeeell no! I feel lucky to have survived 7 years, and feel that I should impart upon other moms of boys the knowledge that brought me this far. Or luck. It could be luck. Dumb ass luck.

The following “tips”, which aren’t really tips and are really more of the big DUHHHHH moments I have had that would have been nice to avoid, should help you navigate through boydom with fewer exclamations of “WHAT IN THE FUCKITY FUCK??”

1. AIM DOWN
If you have never in your life had a penis, or a child with a penis, or been a nurse where you had to deal with a penis on a regular basis… hell, even if you’re a hooker- you likely don’t know as much about wieners as you think you do. If you think you know NOTHING about them, you probably know even less! Day one, you will be changing diapers. The advice I give you for that day will be the same as the advice I have for when they are finally peeing in a toilet- AIM DOWN. I’m not kidding. Aim that doodle down, and yes YOU will have to help, or get you and everything you love covered in baby pee. Aim it down. And be prepared to repeat that about 45,000 times over the next 5 or so years.

2. Vaginas are weird.
They are weird, and ugly, and horrifying. Not just yours. ALL of them. As soon as they get old enough to notice a difference, expect them to ask. A lot. And don’t feel bad about your scary vag. Embrace the fear and immunity to the power of the V while it lasts!

3. Not EVERY boy is a “Mama’s Boy”
This one still stings every day. I always wanted a girl. Just ONE girl. I figured since the universe plopped two boys in my lap, they would at least give me a reprieve and make these two kids the biggest mama’s boys on the planet. No, I wouldn’t have the Gilmore Girls bond I so longed for, but I’d have two boys who thought I was their entire universe. WIN! Wrong.
Maybe it’s because I’m a stay at home parent and they see me all the time, so I’m not exactly a hot commodity, but it seems as though they thought being in my uterus was enough one-on-one time with Mommy, and stick to their father like flies on shit.

4. They don’t HAVE to play sports
I realize it’s an essential part of learning to play on a team, but just as not all females want to be in pageants or play with barbies, not all boys are interested in blowing shit up and playing sports…. even though blowing shit up is pretty cool. For years, I beat myself up for not enrolling them into the community sports leagues, but over time I realized they never even asked. Weren’t interested. They are very art oriented, and that’s okay! It’s also okay if the day comes where they WANT to put on helmets and smash into each other. I mean it’s okay that they want to, I didn’t say *I* would be okay with it! Don’t let their gender determine their interests. Let THEM!

5. They aren’t better or worse than girls
Honestly, other than private parts, they’re pretty much the same! I went in thinking boys were going to be foul, nasty, grotesque little things- but I got the kid who used to cry when dirt touched his hands and could put a teenage girl’s dramatics to shame. Yeah, they stink. They fart and burp and occasionally I catch them eating boogers- but girls do that shit, too! I’ve found some of the most frustrating parts about my kids are the parts that have nothing to do with their gender. That shit is frustrating, too, because I can’t just blame it on the wiener or on my husband! Damnit!
If you have a boy, your house won’t necessarily be covered in dirt. If you have a girl, she might hate Disney princesses and refuse to wear pink. Pink was my mortal enemy growing up, and I could put both of my boys to shame with how nasty I was.

Don’t worry if you see that baby come flying out of you packing a doodle and berries. Don’t worry if you hate sports, or monster trucks, or video games. Kids are going to beat the willpower out of you anyway, so worrying is just more wasted time you could be spent wishing you were sleeping.

When I Wanted a Girl and Got Three Boys Instead

All my life I knew I wanted to be a Mom. I went through some periods of my life where I was such a vagabond, party-girl trainwreck work-in-progress that I thought maybe it wasn’t going to happen, that maybe I was too unbound, too reckless, too selfish to be a parent. But the untarnished part of my psyche, deep in my soul, wouldn’t still the thought of possible motherhood, and when I eventually grew out of that 10 year stage of being a total fuck up young adult development, I found myself with a really good and kind man, in college for my first time, and pregnant. I instantly knew it was a girl. I had a somewhat volatile relationship with my own mother, but regardless, she molded me in every way and in every thing that I knew of what womanhood was about. I couldn’t WAIT to raise my very own little feminist. I couldn’t WAIT to fix all those areas where my Mom had gone astray, to have that complete melding of two distinct persons, mother and daughter, where I would show my daughter all the amazing things about what it meant to be a woman. This was gonna be good.

On the way to the Ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby, my Hubs gently mentioned how no matter what the sex was, he’d just be relieved and happy to know it was healthy.

WHAT THE FUCK DID HE JUST SAY THAT FOR!? Now if it wasn’t my long awaited Féministe, it was totally going to be ALL HIS FAULT because he JINXED IT!!!! Did I mention I may have been just a wee bit hormonal? No? Well, I was. A little. Barely noticeable.

So anyway, there I am, laying on the exam table, freaking pissed off and hatefully glaring at this jerk who I’d have to raise a kid with  waiting anxiously for the tech to come in, and holding my dear hubs’ hand for support. She finally comes in…can’t get a good look at first. Puts some more shocking cold gel on the wand..and voila! She says, “Do you two want to know the sex?” and we both say YES! She says, “Well, that right there is a penis, see? That little shape right there?”
Time stood still.
Tears happened.
But it was not too horrible, I WAS still having a baby after all! And he was soooooo cute, and waving, and doing cute little flips…and I knew I could try again. So my little girl would have a big brother, even better! He could show her what a good and kind person looks like, could weed out the asshole’s when she started dating. This could actually be a very good thing.

When we went for #2’s Ultrasound, Hubs knew not to even say anything. I had of course again decided thatthis was the girl I wanted. She was due December 30th, the day after Lucky had been born!  I had already chosen her name: “Noel”. I practically ripped the ultrasound thingy from the girl because she seemed so young and inexperienced. I knew what I was looking for, thankyouverymuch. She finally asked if we wanted to know the sex. YES!!! we practically shouted. It’s a BOY!! She squealed back!
Well, shoot. I knew two was our limit. We hadn’t really talked about it, but we had gotten pregnant again because I didn’t want Lucky to be an only child and to be honest, we knew that we were probably stretched thin enough as it was. So I mourned a little, but called my older sister when I got home and she said, “You know Amanda, it’s even more important sometimes to raise the MEN to be feminists.” And I realized she was probably right. So I would be the woman in their lives that showed them the way to be a good man, to respect and cherish women for what they were. This was going to be okay. This was good.

Baby #3. Baby #3’s existence was confirmed on that little plastic pee stick while Hubs was on his way home from the appointment where he deposited $45 for a Vasectomy. But everything was so different with this pregnancy…TOTALLY different time of year, instead of the end of December she’d be born in July, I was carrying different, none of the same cravings, and the appointment to find out the sex was on my BIRTHDAY,  for the love of GOD! My little girl was in the bag!!! And with two big brothers, to boot! She would be the most epic of all tomboys!!! She would take no shit! She would ROCK.

Except, she was a he. Again. I was so brokenhearted. I confess, I really was. I called my friend on the way home and just cried and cried. Hubs tiptoed around me for days. I know, so selfish and wrong, right? I had been blessed with another perfectly healthy, perfectly loveable and wonderful miracle. I can’t justify or explain my feelings, but over the course of the pregnancy, I did get over it. And for Fireball’s sake, I thought, thank goodness it’s not a girl, because then the transition for him becoming the middle after being “the baby” for such a short time would be even worse. He’d have to compete with a baby, and his Mom’s “Rêve” (dream come true) would be a girl.

I just suddenly pictured Sunday mornings in bed, pig piles of boys feet and knees, sticky grape-jelly kisses. Reading them my favorite authors regardless of sex, showing them how to make cookies, do the dishes, fold laundry, BE A MAN.

I had been tasked with the utmost challenge: to raise three decent and honorable men in today’s “shock and awe” World, where the concept of masculinity is shoved down boys’ throats in the most aggressive and  depressing ways, where being called a “sissy” was worse than a broken bone, because implied feminine characteristics in a man is something to be ashamed of, where the notion of feminine beauty is packaged and sold and shot out of the marketing cannon straight into the hearts of little girls all over to be thin and pretty and demure and NICE, and those who don’t fit the mold make themselves sick to the point of death to be considered “desirable”. That I would be the one to teach them that true beauty really is inside a person, not in their face or body, when sometimes I struggled to believe that in myself.  That it would fall on me to teach them that No ALWAYS means No, and to look the other way is to aid  the bully or tormenter.  That if they ever see a girl passed out at a party, they need to call me or her parents IMMEDIATELY, and do not leave her alone for one minute. That more important than winning is to keep trying, that more important than being popular is doing the right thing. That a meaningful life takes many forms, and no one ever lay on their deathbed wishing they’d worked more. That all these things that I thought I would be so much better at teaching a daughter, I now try to sprinkle into my three sons’ consciousness. And this is gonna be so, so,good.

What happens when you force a man to watch Soap Operas? THIS!

ABC's "General Hospital" - File PhotosLook, I like watching Soaps. What’s the big deal? I know they’re totally ridiculous, the plots are completely ridiculous and so incestuous that if you think about it too much it can be slightly disturbing, and some of the acting at times can be laughable, but I LIKE THEM! I grew up on them. I am a Soap baby. I am used to the ridiculousness. Maybe so much so that at times I don’t even realize just how ridiculous they have gotten.

Usually when I watch Soaps, I am alone. One kid is at school, the other is napping (or pretending to) and the husband is at work. I can watch this ridiculous shit without ANY judgment whatsoever. It’s my ME time. I am blissful in this private ridiculousness.

Then the inevitable time comes when the husband has a “sick” day (must be nice!) or a day off from work, or my stupid back decides to up and quit on me and I become completely immobile, and because I REFUSE to miss a day of my beloved soap in case something juicy happens, he is forced to watch it with me. I cringe. Have you ever found yourself in this situation? Where you are watching something SO female, that you actually have trouble watching it with someone of the opposite sex because you know it’s girly and don’t want them to laugh at it because it’s probably the dumbest cheesiest thing ever? Even if you don’t give a floating fart in space what anyone else thinks of you, you have felt the pang of slight embarrassment over a guilty pleasure. YOU HAVE! YOU KNOW YOU HAVE! JUST GO WITH ME HERE, DAMNIT!

The first time, there were questions. So many questions. The more I answered, the more stupid I felt. Having to explain who was married to who after being divorced from their brother which was so and so’s uncle who killed their cousin after a drunk driving accident but what they DON’T know is that they aren’t REALLY related and the REAL cousin/uncle/son was switched at birth and is ACTUALLY their barista at Starbucks even just ONE time was one time too many. I couldn’t. I stopped. No more explanations!

It was then that the idea came to me. In a moment of pure brilliance, I decided to enjoy his confusion, disgust, frustration, and annoyance with my Soap in all its soapy wonderful awfulness, and by doing that, and writing down EVERYTHING he said- without his knowledge- I got a stream of uninterrupted HILARITY.

Here are all of his comments, reactions, and ridiculousness:

 

(During opening credits where sassy shots of all the actors are shown)
Pierce Brosnan.

Pierce Brosnan #2

 

(Character is sitting in what is supposed to be but is obviously not a real graveyard)
You buried him in your back yard?

 

…..“aaaaaaand I’m a liar!”

 

(obligatory pool scene)
“We want you to be an extra on a soap and walk in the background in a bikini and heels. Aaaaaand GO!”

 

Is that oil? He’s wearing body oil.

 

*in a sing songy voice* Old people kissiiiing!

 

(whispers) What does that MEAN?

*In a girly voice* “Let’s roll around in the sheets kissing!”
I don’t think she was wearing a shirt.
*throws hands in the air*
*snorts* “what’s his name”?
(character asks for divorce) *over dramatic hands flailing in air*
*makes porn music sounds*

(Soap ends) *deep sigh of relief*

 

I may not feel any less embarrassed about my guilty pleasure (and LAAWWWD did he pick a cheesy day to stay home), but I feel no guilt at all about torturing my husband with it! This was far better than the bon bons the rest of the world thinks we Soap lovers stuff our faces with while watching.

I guess what I’m saying is… torture your spouse today! It’s fun!

LIKE A BOSS

I saw a poster once that said “Everything I learned about life, I learned in kindergarten.” It turns out, even after thirty-something years, this is still true for me. Only now I’m learning it from my son. And the best lesson I learned came from my son’s kindergarten graduation ceremony.

I expected to be bored out of my freaking mind; after all, there were recorders and ukuleles on the schedule. Yet I was more than surprised to find myself enjoying it. Yes, even the hands2ukuleles.

My son is really great at being five. I mean really good, what with all the talking back and cuss words he’s picked up this year. But this was a stellar day. Stellar, I tell you. His class walked on stage and quickly found their places. My son was preoccupied with finding me in the audience. He kept searching, not paying attention. Me? I was waving my arms and wore a bright blue shirt so he wouldn’t miss me. Did he see me? Nope.

Then the music started. Baby Beluga. I’ve sung this song to him a thousand times or more over the last five years. It’s my daughter’s favorite. He should’ve known it backwards and forwards, especially given the amount of time he was forced to practice it at school. Did my son know the words? Nope. He sang three or four lines, scratched his head, and looked for me some more.

I waved my bright blue arms.

He didn’t see me.

He sang another couple lines, pulled his shirt over his head, and looked for me some more. He didn’t see me, not matter how much I flapped my blue arms. He sang maybe three more words and shoved his hands down the back of his pants.

Ah, to be a five-year-old boy.

Mercifully, the song ended and the class set up for a square dance. At least I thought it was merciful at the time. My son, however, was still horrified that his square was made up of all girls. “Girls, Mama! They’re disgusting!” He started the square dance with an impressive amount of exuberance. But then he forgot the steps because he was too busy being angry about his many girl partners. One such girl, a really lovely little thing who is usually very quiet and shy, took his hand and dragged him across the stage for the finale.

I laughed.

I thought he’d be embarrassed.

Was he? Nope.

My son walked off the stage like a boss. He stood up straight, smiled wide at the audience, and literally patted himself on the back. He can’t sing, can’t dance, but he OWNED that moment.

And I love him for it.

Life, I think, is a lot like my son’s graduation. There are moments when I want to pull my shirt over my head. There are days when I’m searching for mom to give me the answers or just some encouragement to keep going forward. But there are also days when I’m a boss. Just like my son.

My head is high. My smile is wide. And I pat myself on the back.

Parenthood is hard. Some days suck the big one. I have cleaned up more vomit and poop than I care to admit out loud. But at the end of the day, no matter how tough, when I see my babies snuggled under their blankets and I hear those sleepy mouths whisper, “I love you, Mama,” I get it.

I really get it.

We all make mistakes. The perfect mother doesn’t exist. But in our own ways, we are all bosses. If we just let ourselves admit that it’s scary to be a mom and applaud ourselves for keeping at it day after day, we really should be walking around like we just graduated kindergarten.

Every. Single. Day.

So that is my challenge to every mother everywhere. Find one small thing to be proud of, even if it’s just that you saved a Mr. Potato Head moustache from the toilet, and OWN THAT MOMENT.

Be a boss.  You deserve it.

This wonderful piece of encouragement was penned by fellow writer C.M. Franklin, who isn’t published just yet, but you can bet your sweet ass she will be soon! 

How Old Are You in Mom Years?

momyears

How many times has your heart jumped into your throat upon hearing “Hey Mommy, WATCH THIS!” come out of your child’s mouth? It is arguable the most dreaded phrase heard in all of parenting, coming in just behind “I think I’m gonna throw up” and the classic “I didn’t do it!” right after hearing a loud crash.

It’s shit like that, that we moms SWEAR shave years off of our lives, as if the act of popping those turds out didn’t age us enough to begin with.
This got me thinking (dangerous, I know!)- I can safely assume that we all want to be around even LONGER once we have kids, just to watch them grow, and to point as laugh when they have their own kids that are even bigger assholes than they are- but I doubt we can deny that we FEEL older than our birthday says we are, and we should get credit for it (without qualifying for the early bird special, even if discounts are awesome). How could we do that without tacking onto our biological age?

MOM YEARS, y’all. MOM YEARS. Like dog years, but for moms. No, this isn’t some sneaky way for me to call all moms bitches- I’m totally serious! For every terrifying, disgusting, ridiculous, infuriating, death-defying, panic-inducing thing we have to deal with at the hands of our kids, we should get to add to our Mom Years. Think of it like merit badges!

You can now tabulate your mom years much like those quizzes at the end of Cosmo that you can no longer do because your social life is basically non-existent, and because you’re not running around flashing your vagina to the world anymore. Just to gynos. And maybe your significant other, IF THEY’RE LUCKY.  See where you stack up! And no, this isn’t an addition to the Momlympics, so let’s not go around bragging about how old we are in Mom Years, but more as a way to say “Oh damn, you must be tired. Here, have a drink on me!”

*please note that the years assigned to each line and the “scores” following are based on nothing other than a number my wonky brain randomly came up with. So basically, Nonsense. Have fun!

Massively explosive diarrhea blow out in public – Add 1 Mom Year!

Kid decides to wander away in a public place- Add 5 Mom Years!

Drops a 4 letter beauty in public (because there’s nothing better than an afternoon FUCK in the grocery store, right?)- Add 1 Mom Year

They do that creepy ass horror film giggle in their sleep- Add 1 Mom Year!

Kid donks their head on a hard surface and OH MY SHIT, THAT SOUND! – Add 3 Mom Years!

Sleepwalks – You get an extra half a mom year!

Sleepwalks OUTSIDE- That’s 6 more Mom Years for you!

Kid begins to choke- 3 Mom Years!

Kid begins to choke IN THE BACK OF THE DAMN CAR while you’re driving!- 5 Mom years, lady!

“LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!” - 1 Mom year, just for the initial shock alone! This also counts for “Watch this!”

“How come your pecker looks different than daddy’s?” – 2 Mom Years and a stiff drink

“My Mommy’s favorite thing to do is drink ALCOHOL!”- 2 Mom years. Don’t be ashamed!

Witnessing the act of toenail biting, nose picking and eating, or butt-wipe sniffing – First, tell them go to wash their fucking hands! Then add on another Mom Year.

Vomit. Vomit everywhere.- Go ahead and give yourself half a Mom Year. You deserve it.

The first day of school- Ten tissues and 1 Mom Year

The first Parent Teacher Conference- AHHHHH!!!! 1/2 of a Mom year and a Xanax!

When they inevitably fall and break something after doing the shit you told them NOT to do. Twelve damn times. – 1.5 Mom Years a piece

Walking in on… dare I even TYPE it?? Masturbation- 2 Mom Years. And go have another drink. Shit.

I HATE YOU! – You get one Mom Year and a hug. It’s okay to flick them off behind their back. I won’t judge.

Teaching them to drive- 1 Mom year and extra credit for every time you slam on your imaginary brake pedal!

Watching them drive away for the first time without you- 2 Mom Years. I feel like I should get a Mom year for even having to THINK about that moment!

The baby bird finally leaves the nest- Bring on the waterworks and give yourself 3 more Mom Years!

 

Yes, there are about a bajillion other things that make us feel like we are just that much closer to death when it comes to kid- but damnit, hasn’t enough time been shaved from mine already? I’d die before I finished the entire list!!!
Now, go tabulate that shit up! I’m serious! Get a good old fashioned pen and paper out and add up all of your Mom Years and see what the total is. I’ll tell you exactly where that puts you in Mom-Land.
Now, I personally choose to tabulate a Mom year for each instance of the above I found horrifying, but you can tabulate how you see fit! Please note that this is not an exact science (at all) and your numbers may vary (probably will) and this is complete and total nonsense that this is purely for fun. Or torture… At this point I can’t tell which.

1-5 Mom Years: You are still in the Honeymoon phase of parenthood, and I hate you. KIDDING! Sort of.

5-20 Mom Years: You probably still possess some of your sanity. You are ADORABLE!

20-50 Mom Years: Girl. I feel you. I’m tired, too. Let’s have a drink once the turds are in bed!

50- 100 Mom Years: No, seriously. Why isn’t there a drink in your hand?

100+ Mom Years: I bow to my new mommy overlord. Although, I’m impressed you’re still standing! Or sitting. Or breathing, really. DEAR LORD, WOMAN! GO GET SOME SLEEP!

How old am I in Mom Years? Well, I estimated mine conservatively, and I got in the 50-100 range, but when it comes down to it- I need a drink. And sleep. And some more sleep. Don’t we all? Let’s do that. This parenthood shit is exhausting!

How old are YOU in Mom Years?