Saturday, March 30, 2013

Thanks Easter Bunny, Bock Bock!

SPOILER ALERT!  This post will discuss some of the Easter Bunny's methods and special helpers, so read on at your own risk.

The Easter egg hunt.  A time-honored tradition across the country, and certainly in my house.  I remember always checking the backyard before leaving for church and sure enough, there were never any eggs to be seen.  Our bunny came while we were gone.
 As soon as we returned home, my brothers and I would jump out of the car to see our pastel wonderland of plastic eggs packed with sugar.  But every year it was the same: we had to take family pictures first.  In the front yard.  Tons of pictures.  My mom would send my dad into the house to find the tripod so that we could set the camera timer and capture this happy family in all their finery.  It took him forever to locate that thing and I spent years thinking that my dad was a moron because he couldn't just grab the tripod from the closet where it was kept.  Really, it wasn't until I was an adult that I had that "a-ha!" moment when I finally put the pieces together to realize how all the eggs magically appeared in our yard while my mom insisted on another angle or a different pose.

Now it's up to me to continue the magical Peep-fueled spectacle.  My boys still seem to enjoy it - mostly because of the candy haul that they receive.  My job goes something like this: pack the eggs with various candy, eat most of the candy, place the eggs in their hiding places, and pray that the dogs don't find them first.  We've had squirrels carry them off a ways before the hunt, with the contents strewn about in disgust once they'd determined that walnuts were not hidden inside.

My most memorable Easter Bunny experience came a few years ago.  My friends and I had decided to go out on Saturday night to hear a favorite local band.  We stayed out late - very late.  When I stumbled in at 3 am I realized I still needed to get things ready for the next morning - scratch that - later the same morning.  Who knew the Easter Bunny came at such an ungodly hour, smelling of margaritas?  Let's just say that the hunt didn't take too long that year.  The boys found everything quite easily.  Almost as if the Easter Bunny had twisted its ankle in high heels on uneven grass and dropped the eggs right there where she (or he) fell.  Something along those lines.

When Zack was three years old he woke up before us and enjoyed his own Easter hunt.  He discovered our stash of Cadbury cream eggs that were on the kitchen counter.  I'm not sure how long it took him but when I came in he was holding an egg in one hand and was slowly licking it.  He didn't look as though he was enjoying it though; in fact he had that "I'm-about-to-hurl" look.  After removing the melty, sticky mess from his little toddler fingers I cleaned up all the foil shreds and realized that he had eaten two full cream eggs and was working on his third.  Ugh.  No wonder he had a rumbly tumbly!

So enjoy your Easter traditions, whatever they may be.  Here's hoping that you find lots of good stuff - and no surprise year-old eggs!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Mom Jobs

Being a mom, and more specifically, a "mother of boys" (MOB), I have certain duties to fulfill.  I have the typical "mom jobs".  I am happy to report that my husband takes on many of the household chores without complaint and is not nearly as slovenly as some males.  He also does a great deal of the grocery shopping and the cooking - yes, I know how lucky I am!  But there are still plenty of things that need to be done to maintain the working order of our abode that seem to fall on my shoulders.

I am fully aware that I am not the first woman to complain about cooking, cleaning, laundry, childcare, and the rest.  I'm sure that some cave woman could be heard yelling, "Damn it Grog, you dripped mammoth blood all over the floor!  And why are you drawing on the walls again? I just ruined a perfectly good hide wiping off the last thing you smeared on there!"  Or something like that; you get the picture.  Often our 'work' is not recognized or appreciated despite hours of manual labor.  I wonder if the boys in my house think that dust and dirt magically disappears, clean dishes regenerate in the cabinets, and maybe the dogs lay down on the floor and scoot around until it shines.

My older son stumbled out of his room today at 11:35 am, complaining that the vacuum woke him up.  So sorry my liege!  He then wrinkled his face and asked, "What is that smell?".  Uh, maybe cleanliness is the word you're looking for???  I have to use cleaners with added scents to cover the nasty boy-funk smell that lingers when the windows have been shut for too long.  I don't really know what a pomegranate-acai-hibiscus-spring rain would smell like, but it has to be better than the dirty boxers-rugby-burrito combination we get around here.  The last time Zack had to stay home from school due to sickness he watched me cleaning the house and asked, "Who's coming over later?" to which I calmly yelled, "Nobody!  I'm cleaning because it's Monday and this is what I do!"  They have no idea because they think I sit around all day in my jammies watching shows and eating ice cream.  That's only on some days, alright?

Honestly, I'd love for any visitors to show up only on Mondays around 1 pm because the house would be clean for those two hours or so before the rugrats return and mess it all up again.  We used to have a maid service clean the house every two weeks and it would be heaven to come in and know that everything was clean and fresh at the same time.  When we realized we needed to save some money, there went the cleaners, but I was confident that I could do an even better job.  The problem with doing it myself is that not everything gets cleaned at the same time, and I tend to put off some of the more disgusting areas like the boys' bathroom.  Unfortunately we only have 2 bathrooms, which means that the boys' bathroom is also the everyone-else bathroom and I never know how bad it has become until after a guest leaves and I go in there and shout "Are you kidding me?  How do you get toothpaste and boogers all over a mirror that is 4 feet wide?".  My husband diplomatically said, "You've been doing a great job at keeping the place clean, and - not that we need it! - but how would you feel about hiring a maid service again?"  (He phrases it like this because we've been married almost 16 years and he realizes that I might throw the Lysol at his head if he were to make it sound like he's not appreciative.)  I'm not opposed to it, but I like saving money too.

That's the thing - nobody I know gets paid to do this stuff in their own house.  You just do it because you're the mom and it's part of the unspoken job description.  Now that my boys are getting older, they help out some, but I have to put up with the complaining and the half-assed final product.  If I can't get paid, some recognition would be nice. Instead of "You moved the stuff in my room and now I'll never be able to get Toxic Reapa to look the same again!" or "You ruined my experiment with the Silly Putty on the carpet!" how about "Thanks for everything you do around here.  We'd be lost without you"?  That might be too much to ask.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Say What???

We just returned from a visit with my brother-in-law's family, and the cousins all had a great time catching up (even though it's been over a year and a half since our last visit).  My niece mostly ignored these big, stinky boys who were suddenly invading her space; she already has two brothers to contend with.  My nephew (the middle child) found he had much in common with his older cousins now thanks to gaming apps.  They bonded over handheld devices and talk which revolved around how to successfully beat certain levels.  For him, this was a giant step forward from the last two visits where he alienated himself by biting Logan.  No one else... ever... just Logan.  So we skipped the bacon baths prior to our drive down.

My youngest nephew will be two years old next month.  When we arrived he ran around and squealed excitedly, exclaiming "ba ba ba!".  Uh, same to you little man!  Translation please?  That's "ball" or "basketball" (hence the three syllables) and really the small orange basketball in his hands should have been my tip-off.  Not to be confused with the two-syllable "ba ba" which is of course "bottle" or his sippy cup.  But pay attention, because "na na" is his blanket and he has the best scowly face if you upset him. I also find it highly amusing that he uses similar words for both the dog and his brother ("dodgy"), but I'm the aunt and my job is to laugh at the kids and give them candy, so I make sure I don't disappoint.

I'm not judging though.  Lots of boys learn to talk later than girls.  I mean, really, it seems that every toddler girl I've ever met sounds like she's straight out of a Jane Austen novel.  For example:

Me:  "What a pretty dress you're wearing!"
18-month-old girl:  "It is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy.  May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are they the result of previous study?"                      

My own boys were late-talkers.  Zack didn't really start experimenting with words until he was 21 months old.  And Logan had his own language that constantly needed translation.  The lady who did speech evaluations for our district was quite confident that her many years of work with children and speech pathologies would enable her to easily understand our special guy.  She became a bit more flustered each time she had to turn to us for explanations.  Here are some of my favorites:

Doo = shoe
Doo-ah = sock (of course, it is based on doo)
Da-doo-ah = dinosaur (now we are getting more complex)
Ba to ba to ba! = counting
Boppy Bo = Zack

I'm not sure where he came up with "Boppy Bo" but he used it consistently every time he was referring to his brother.  It seems much more difficult than just saying "Zack" but what do I know?  The other moms at the park had the most quizzical expressions when he would look around yelling "Boppy Bo!?!?"  Zack constantly used to ask us, "When is he going to learn to say my name?" and I had no good answer.  It took lots of speech therapy and practice and encouragement to eek out words that eventually became identifiable as the English language.  And honestly, I miss the cute mispronunciations and special Logan-speak that only we could understand.  I wish I remembered more examples from that time.

As much as things change, so do they remain the same.  Case in point: my boys were occupying themselves during our drive home by making up words or repeating existing words until they became nonsensical.  I'm glad I didn't have to explain to a police officer why I was swerving with screams of  "Buffalunkey" and "tofurkey,tofurkey,tofurkey" emanating from my car.  Gimme a good old Boppy-Bo any day.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Road Trippin'

It's that time of year again: Spring Break!  If you're suddenly thinking of drunken parties and hot chicks in bikinis, then you might have stumbled upon this blog in error.  Yeah, I'm referring to the week when all of my mom friends wring their hands with worry because they've got to find childcare for the kids, or they take time away from work to entertain the little darlings.  And you can bet that by Tuesday (or Wednesday for my more patient pals) Facebook will be lit up with frustrated rants and desperate pleas for ways to entertain the masses, or questions similar to "If I drop them off underneath the freeway with snacks and juice boxes do you think Child Protective Services will be able to track me down?"  My solution:  Road Trip to visit the in-laws.

Now, this is my husband's brother's family we are going to see, but I should again point out that just because the kids are exempt from school, parents don't get an automatic week of vacation; so the husband has to stay home to take care of business.  It's just me.  Alone.  With 2 boys.  Driving in a car from Northern California to Orange County.  I must confess that it was my idea to do this.  But I'm not too worried because  extended car rides are nothing like they used to be when I was younger.  I can bet that my boys will be quietly staring straight ahead for most of the drive, mouths hanging open (to catch the flies as my mother would've said).  This is all courtesy of the portable DVD player and headphones!  My boys have no idea what the License Plate Game is, or how to correctly play Punch Buggy - you don't hit your brother just because you see a Jetta.  Thanks to the captain's chairs they'll never understand being squished in next to your siblings along a bench seat with some tape that denotes each person's space.  "He's on my side and he's almost touching me!"

Growing up, my family took yearly camping trips and visited some amazing places all across the country.  I loved these trips because we were in an RV - and my dad drove all the time.  My brothers and I sat at a table playing card games while music poured out of the boom box.  My mom read books, lounging on the bed in the back.  We could get a cold drink from the refrigerator and snacks from the cabinets anytime we wanted.  Only as an adult did I realize how much it must've sucked for my dad.

My husband's family also went on camping trips but he likes to point out that because they had a tent trailer he had to be crushed in the backseat of a cramped car next to his brother and the dog who had some gas problems.  His parents instituted a rule that everyone took turns picking out a tape to listen to.  Whether he liked it or not he heard Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, and maybe some Neil Diamond.  What do you think the kids chose to listen to?  The Chipmunks!  Oh my God, no wonder my in-laws act a little kooky now and then!  Are you kidding me?  Who could survive an hour of those high-pitched voices covering some already bad 80's music?  Those tapes should have come with a warning label:  "Caution.  This product features Alvin, Simon, and Theodore and is known to cause dizziness, ear bleeding, and anal leakage."

Anyway, off we go.  The car is (or soon will be) stocked with snacks, movies, XM radio, and a few plastic bags in case the Dramamine and Sea Bands don't help the kid who gets car sick.  I've spent enough time on the side of the road wiping down carseats with a t-shirt plucked from the luggage after some unfortunate hurling incidents.  I think we've got it under control.  Happy Spring Break whatever your plans may be.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's Like I'm Sherlock Holmes

I work the night shift as a nurse in a busy Pediatric ICU.  The work is emotionally stressful, physically taxing, and mentally challenging - especially at 4 in the morning when you are the charge nurse and have to scramble to rearrange the puzzle pieces to accommodate busy admissions with a short staff and patients who are spiraling down.  Thankfully though, the night shift tends to have more down time than the other shifts (why do you think I've stayed there for the past 14 years?  Certainly not for the coffee).  But it's not always doom and gloom.  Case in point: last night my colleagues had me laughing so hard I was wheezing and wiping away tears of mirth.  I'm sure a parent complaint is on the way.

I come home after work, have a quick breakfast, check in with the family, and go to sleep.  Often that sleep is briefly interrupted by noises from the boys who are home and doing their thing.  We went through a good 3-month period a few years ago where they liked to blast "Rock You Like a Hurricane" at top volume... on repeat. I had some crazy dreams then.  Or, one will offend their sibling and a yelling match ensues, followed by doors slamming and general mayhem.  But I've become an old pro at sleeping through most anything, and I generally wake refreshed and ready to rejoin the family and hear what they've been up to.  When I walk down the hallway toward the living room and family room I never know what I'm going to find... but they leave me ample clues that detail the events of the last 5 to 7 hours.  And now I'm like Sherlock Holmes, piecing together the minute details of a crime scene.

Here's how it typically plays out: I creep warily down the hallway and gird myself for the disastrous view that  assaults me upon first entering the living room - site of many a crime.  Toys are usually strewn everywhere, clothes litter every seating surface, and possibly some new food has been ground into the carpet.  Last year when we were rearranging the boys' rooms we had bookshelves laying in the living room and the boys had rediscovered old toys that they hadn't played with in a while.  It was like trying to navigate a minefield just to get to the kitchen and my beloved coffee.  The scene was vividly laid out in front of me.   "Ah yes, a great battle has taken place between the Stuffies and the Transformers and if I'm not mistaken, Megatron has once again defeated his old nemesis Stripey".

Today, the battlefield is clear, but I glean much information from the detritus that leads, like breadcrumbs (sometimes it literally IS breadcrumbs), from one room to the other to spell out all of the day's activities.  A lacrosse ball which my son grabbed from the sidelines at the Cal vs Oregon game.  How do I know where it came from?  He's written on it with a Sharpie - so, ok, that one was cheating.  The puppy is whining in her crate, but yarns from my area rug lay within view - she's been destroying my nice things again and it looks to be from 25 minutes ago by the size of the drying drool outline.  The boys ate sandwiches and Cheddar Bunnies for lunch, along with Gatorade to wash it down.  This one's easy because the wrappers are right next to the lunch dishes still on the table, and the bread loaf is on the counter with the bag open to invite staleness; the peanut butter jar also open next to a dirty knife.  Breakfast obviously consisted of cereal - Honey Nut Cheerios by the color of the milk remaining in the three bowls on TOP of the dishwasher.  (See previous post about Force Fields).  The paper lays open to the entertaining comics page, next to the past three days' worth of newspapers that need to find their way out to the recycling bin.  An iPod with a dead battery has been discarded on the couch cushions, but it seems they were busy enough that there was no time for a DVD today, because no case is laying open near the television.  And unless I'm mistaken and my husband has taken up solitary daytime drinking, he fell asleep watching the news last night.  A beer bottle with a few last swigs sits on the table next to the rumpled blanket on the couch.  But today's coffee helped to revive him, based on the dried brown ring on the mug next to the computer.

They've since gone out to do guy things together and as much as I hate to perpetuate the gender stereotypes I will gladly stay here, alone in the quiet house, with an episode of the Vampire Diaries to watch while I clean up the mess.  Gotta set the stage for a new day's adventures.

Friday, March 22, 2013

How's It Work?

It was late at night, my husband was getting the coffee maker ready for the next morning, my younger son was snoring from his bunk, and I was waiting for everything to quiet down so I could watch The Walking Dead in solitude from under my blanket.  My 6th grader came out of his room whining about his frustration with homework which should have been completed hours earlier.  He wastes so much time arranging the perfect Pandora mix, looking for comfortable headphones, and getting his drink situated in the right place on his desk between piles of crumpled papers, Boy Scout patches, and his hatchet (yes, he really has a hatchet on his desk but that seems like a whole other post).

I offered to help with whatever offending worksheet was causing this night's duress.  He set down his paper and grabbed his pencil to begin and I had to do a double-take.  He had a mechanical pencil which had been deconstructed and reconstructed from various other pencils.  It was a lovely multicolored creation now, but most importantly it was missing the point that holds the lead in place so that you can write.  "What happened to your pencil?" I asked.  "I took it apart to see how it works and lost the top".  He didn't seem at all put out by this even though he was attempting to draw a straight line against a ruler with just the lead guiding him.  Really?

Boys have to demolish things to check 'em out and see how they work.  Never mind that the object might not go back together the same way ever again.  I'm thankful that we haven't lost any large electronics (yet) to this phenomenon but I know other families who have.  Cause and effect experiments.  My brother placed one of those reusable plastic frozen cooler packs in the microwave and nuked it when he was younger.  This was back in the 80's so I still cringe at the thought of some blue radioactive gel oozing out of a first-edition microwave that scattered who-knows-what kind of particles everywhere.  Here's the kicker: he forgot that he was conducting this experiment and went off to do some other boy thing and left it there for our mom to discover.

So as parents we try to find a safe way to channel this "build and destroy" drive.  Enter - Legos.  Man, I wish I had bought stock in this company before I even thought of having kids.  We have so many bins of minuscule plastic blocks throughout our house.  And the marketing department is genius!  Back when I was a kid you had one big box of multicolored Legos  and you built one thing and then took it apart to build the next thing.  Now you buy one box, often with hundreds of specific parts to make one object, which either gets displayed on a shelf, or stepped on and never put back together again.  Have you ever stepped on a Lego?  It sends a shooting pain up your leg like nothing else except maybe stepping on a sea urchin, and I pray never to have that personal experience.  My vacuum has picked up so many unseen pieces (that I'm sure were essential to some creation) and the horrendous knocking sound always alerts me to the fact, but you don't think I'm opening up that bag to hunt around for a piece of plastic, do you?

It's even gotten to the point where my boys fight over individual pieces.  "That part came with my Ninjago Garmatron and I need it!" "Nuh uh!  It goes to Vizsla's Mandalorian Fighter!"  Seriously people.  They can keep this stuff straight, but can't remember whether they ate lunch today or not.  Zack is thinking of becoming an architect one day.  Let's just hope he keeps his parts in order.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Force Fields

My boys, like many young boys, were naturally drawn to all of the Star Wars movies and superhero adventures.  They learned everything there is to know about these mystical worlds where individuals can wield super powers to control nature and battle evil forces. I believe that somehow they have learned to channel this energy and weave it into our quiet, everyday home life.  How else do you explain the force fields?

As a mother I am unable to see or feel this force field.  It exists only in the realm of boys, but the effects are plain to me.  Take for example: the laundry basket.  It clearly has a force field around it and I can safely say that the dimensions of said barrier extend about 2 feet away from the actual basket itself.  Dirty clothes simply cannot penetrate the bubble and are repelled back out onto the floor surrounding the hamper.  The barrier weakens near female hormones because I am able to pick up clothing from the floor and deposit it into the basket (occasionally with some difficulty to be honest), but it can be done.

Where else are these force fields you may be asking?  (Or not, but keep reading anyway.)  The dishwasher is protected by an invisible shield that is oftentimes impermeable even to the powers of the grown-up boy known as my husband.  Dirty dishes cannot be placed within its confines.  They are simply relegated to the counter directly above the dishwasher, thus indicating that granite must weaken the barrier at some places and allow the dishes to merely come close to their designated place.

Another force field?  It hovers over the toilet.  Need I go on?  I think you get the general idea.

And just recently I've been wondering if there is a small but powerful force field around my boys' heads.  Their hair almost jumps away from my hands when I attempt to comb it down or coerce the strands into an organized direction.  Scissors are repelled like strong magnets of reverse polarity.  There's no hope for a haircut despite all of my attempts.

It is my mission to try to discover how to battle these force fields.  If I make any momentous discoveries I will pass on the valuable information, but don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Music Appreciation

Last night we attended a fabulous Area Band Festival where my older son joined other kids from 5th grade through high school showcasing their amazing instrumental skills.  I give HUGE kudos to the music instructors in our area who somehow teach these kids how to play a myriad of different instruments and then organize that into a harmonic demonstration of their new-found abilities.  It's amazing to watch the growth from a few years ago to now, and to look forward to the stuff that is still to come.  Any parent who has endured that first school concert knows how hard it is to keep from visibly cringing a few times.

Of course, I always knew my children were musically gifted - like all parents, right?  I mean, my brother gave us a drum when Zack was 2 and he banged away on that thing until it "broke" and had to be given away.  Tragic.  And then there was the harmonica stage.  What an auditory treat that is to hear a child huffing away on a harmonica.  So we decided to encourage their musical journey.  Luckily our school still offers band and musical instruction so Zack was eager to pick an instrument and get going.  His first choice was... the flute.  He's a bigger-than-average kid and also a boy (hopefully that part was clear) and we worried that the flute might be just a bit too - well, girly.  When's the last time you saw a burly guy playing the flute?  They don't have that at the Scottish Games.  So he settled on the oboe which is a woodwind with a double reed, similar to a clarinet.  His first day with the oboe he tried to "impress" his younger brother by playing it as loud as possible directly into the ear canal.  Logan reared back and knocked the instrument against Zack's tooth - thus breaking the first reed and costing us $20.  Smashing start.

We took a different approach when it came to Logan.  We gave him a guitar for Christmas when he was almost 6.  He opened it with the usual "Oh wow!" exclamations, and then as the wrapping paper floated back down to the floor he asked, "Uh, why did you think I wanted this?".  Fast-forward a few years to guitar lessons.  Logan asked for the typical beginning guitar songs to practice:  AC/DC, Metallica, Linkin Park... you get the picture.  The boy wants to shred.  I have heard the opening of "Smoke on the Water" a million times already and we've moved on to parts of "Another One Bites the Dust".  In order to get a sense of the timing he's watched some Queen videos on You Tube.  How do you explain Freddie Mercury to a 9-year-old?  You just don't.

So yes, maybe I see them up on a stage somewhere in the future.  A world-renowned symphony or an arena rock band.  It could happen!  For now I will settle for listening to them practicing from other ends of the house.  Metallica vs John Williams: it's on!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What's That Smell?

My older son, Zack, had cradle cap when he was a baby.  This, combined with the fact that he sweat profusely while sleeping, caused the strangest, most unpleasant smell.  You always think of tiny infants smelling sweet and clean like baby shampoo or fresh laundry.  I believe that more than one of his uncles handed him back to us after only a brief interaction, with the admonishment, "Uh, here, you take him instead.  He has the funk".

Come to find out, boys always have 'the funk'.  I mean, they can shower and bathe, but it will soon return.  Believe me.  As toddlers and preschoolers it takes on something like a puppy dog smell.  Once they're in school it is more reminiscent of working long and hard in the garden - dirt mixed with fertilizer and perspiration.  But you know they haven't been doing any manual labor, so that rules out an obvious source.  And as they age it becomes simply unidentifiable.  Zack's 5th grade teacher sent out numerous emails during the year pleading with parents to "do a sniff test and take appropriate measures".  I feel for the guy - cooped up with hormonal boys and girls in a stuffy classroom all day.  No wonder they hand out sample deodorants to the boys in the spring!

The worst olfactory assault came this past fall during a Chili Cook-off that we were hosting.  I guess that being a M.O.B. ("mother of boys" in case you're just joining us or you had a few drinks already) I associate mainly with other families that also have boys.  Of all the attendees, most of the kids running around were boys of elementary and middle school age.  Somehow they tended to congregate in one room playing video games.  This was a smallish room (our guest room where my in-laws were staying), and the window was unfortunately closed, allowing the heat from the TV and video components to build up quickly and mingle with their own body heat.  I'm sure you can guess what's coming, right?  One unfortunate parent opened the door to shoo them out.  I was behind her and the blast of foul air that emanated forth was so potent it defies words.  I'm surprised there wasn't a noxious green cloud that poured out - although I may have lost consciousness for a brief time and simply missed it.  We stood blinking as if in a haze (it was that cloud, I'm sure) before finally accessing our language pathways and yelling for them to go outside into the fresh air.  Hoping for a decontamination process to occur perhaps?  Or maybe just a diffusion of funk into the unsuspecting neighborhood?  Either way, my in-laws have yet to come visit with us again.  Coincidence???

How Did I Get Here?

There's a point in life when you look around and take inventory of your current surroundings and you wonder, "How did I get here?"  If you are ankle-deep in Legos, have peanut butter smeared somewhere on your body, and you're wondering what cleaner will best remove blood, grass, and dirt stains, chances are pretty good that you are a parent of boys.  Welcome to my life.  Now, I grew up with 2 younger brothers in a court full of active boys, so I am no stranger to testosterone-fueled antics.  But many a day I sit with my brow furrowed in confusion, head swiveling side-to-side like a barn owl on the hunt, and sigh trying to come up with some rational explanation for whatever new predicament surrounds me.  Where do these alien creatures come up with these ideas to try my sanity?  Oftentimes I feel like Jane Goodall: living in an environment dominated by my research subject.  Sure they are my flesh and blood, but they are so unlike me in many ways that I will never grasp what truly makes them tick.  Boys and girls are simply wired differently.  Ask any parent who has children of both sexes and they will attest to the fact with a knowing laugh.

Let me back up a little bit.  I am blessed with two wonderful sons who are happy, smart, friendly, active - well you get the picture.  Yes, I am a proud mother.  A "Mother Of Boys".  If you are also in this boat, you realize what an interesting group we are.  I had one toddler-aged boy when we found out we were pregnant again.  My pregnancy was so different from my first one that I was convinced I would be having a girl.  At our 20-week appointment the ultrasound technician clicked on an image of my new baby's open legs.  She  slowly started to type out "p.e.n.i.s", and it honestly wasn't until she was at the "s" that I realized what was going on.  I was completely shocked.  Why would she play this trick on me?  And as it sunk in I thought, "Okay, I can do this.  I already know what to do with a boy and they'll grow up playing happily together".  Thus began my misguided journey into MOB mentality - thinking I knew how to control and pacify the whirlwind that is a multiple-boy household.