Smelly Socks: Boys will be boys

By Anita Spisak
July 12, 2012 at 2:12 a.m.

Having had boys for a few years now, and in talking to Johanna Bloom, and other moms about them, I'd just like to point out that there are things I'll just never understand about boys.


A few weeks ago, we were traveling by car for six hours to visit our boathouse and my parents up in Northern Wisconsin. Two bathroom stops, a breakfast stop and five hours later, we stop by a liquidator store in the small town of Antigo.

It's basically a store that sells stuff that other stores have tried to sell, yet no one else wants. They are for sale for significantly lower. As we're perusing the aisles, I'm looking to see if we can pick up a game for the boat house, or maybe some coloring books to keep the boys occupied.

But no, what they want is the $5.95 guns that make noise and light up. The boys start shooting. I show them the board game, Twister. They keep shooting ... at each other. I try lobbying for the board games, but no one is listening, not even my husband, who is now himself engaged in some sort of toy gun battle with the boys in Aisle 12. Do we get anything educational or entertaining - not unless you count a pack of playing cards. Mama loses again.

Big, loud, rusty pickup trucks

Whenever my boys, in particular Charlie, my 21/2-year-old, see an old, loud, rusty pickup, they yell, "my car." Then Adam, knowing he'll just get on Charlie's nerves, starts a war of "my car" and Charlie yells, "no, my car."

And so they go back and forth like that for minutes. The rustier and louder and muddier a pickup is, the more my boys like it. When I point out a flashy red sports car or a muscle car, I get a wave of the hand and a polite "that's boring, Mama." But when the rusty, old, loud pickup drives by, they crane their necks and squeal with delight. I don't get it.

Potty Humor

Now this one I will truly never understand. For example, my boys know not to wear hats when they eat at the table, stay seated until they are done and get dessert only when everything (OK, almost everything) is eaten.

So why do they insist on making the most inane and gross potty jokes and comments at the kitchen table and then throw back their heads and give off hearty laughs and giggles? And just who's to blame for this one? Who's the instigator? The biggest boy of them all - my husband.

But this isn't just relegated to the dinner table. There are songs sung about it in the car and serious conversations between Adam and Charlie while they are in the midst of playing with Legos. I've been told that this will not change. Not now nor when they are 15 and 18. Oh Lord, what do I have to look forward to?


OK, here's the difference between boys and girls. A few years ago, we were up at the boathouse with my niece, Natalie. She and Adam, who are about the same age, were looking forward to the s'mores that were being made by Joe in the chimenea for everyone to enjoy. Natalie very carefully bit into her s'more, making sure little or nothing of the soft marshmallow and gooey chocolate got on to her lips or her face.

She had a napkin and a plate on her lap. She was, very simply, a girl eating a s'more. Adam, on the other hand, managed to not use a plate or a napkin, getting chocolate on his cheek and marshmallow bits in his hair and black char and chocolate on every finger.

So, you might ask, what have I learned from having boys?

It is that as a mother, you have to take the messiness, the potty humor, the love of rusty trucks and the affinity for guns and anything else that makes no sense to a mom/girl/woman and let them be boys. Even if I'm still trying to figure it out.

Anita lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two boys and two dogs one of which is a girl. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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