Smelly Socks: The oddities of boys

Oct. 3, 2013 at 5:03 a.m.

Boys have quirks. Not that girls don't, but boys in particular have ways about them that can be construed as weird, odd or gross. My boys are no different.

For example, they have secret hiding spots. Now, I think every kid has them. I know I did. But my boys' take on a secret hiding spot is the unused spot in the cabinet underneath their bathroom sinks.

They've taken to decorating them with pillows and artwork and making them feel as comfortable as they can, at least until they can no longer fit inside. Adam uses his for reading, and it's decorated with British Flag postcards, a flashlight (because, you know when you close the cabinet door it can get kind of dark in there), some books and a skull of some small, dead animal. I don't even want to know if it's real or fake.

Charlie uses his hideout for his art. He has his little notebook in which he draws, a flashlight (for the same reason as Adam), some drawings hung up with Scotch tape and a few cars and trucks in case he gets bored.

When one boy goes into his "hideout spot," the other goes into his own as well. I agree that everyone needs their own space; I just didn't think my kids would find theirs in the bathroom cabinets.

And then there are the pocket collections. I know that boys are notorious for keeping things in their pockets that may one day break their mom's washing machine for good. Mine are no exception. This summer, we went up to Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula, and I saw Adam and Charlie putting rocks into the pockets of their shorts.

By the time we piled back into the car after "oohing" over the beautiful lake, their pockets were full to the point that they were bulging with rocks, and they couldn't even sit down in the car. When I asked them what they planned to do with all of those rocks they just replied, "I don't know, put them in our room?"


And when I do laundry, it never fails. There is always some sort of item, be it a Lego, a rock, a tissue or a paper clip left in the pocket that can do damage to the washing machine or the rest of the clothes. Try as I might, I'm not always able to check every single pants and shorts pocket that goes into the washing machine, but I guess I'll have to start doing that from now on.

And finally, why, oh why do they insist on peeing outside (especially up at the boathouse) every chance they get? I just know that they wait to pee until they can go outside and do it in the fresh, country air where privacy abounds. Charlie first learned he could pee outside when he was staying with my parents this past summer.

Apparently my dad, Adam and Charlie were outside "cleaning" up the forest, and Adam had to pee. My dad, being the outdoorsman that he is, told him to pee on a tree right in the forest. No one was around, so it was OK, my dad said. Once Charlie saw that, that was it.

I didn't know that he had learned how to do this, so I was oblivious when a few weeks later, as we were back home in Chicago, the boys next door were playing with Adam and Charlie in our yard. I was inside washing the dishes, when Alex, their friend, comes running in and says "Charlie just peed outside on the tree."

"What?" I exclaimed. "Yes, I'm not lying, come see."

Sure enough, there was Charlie smiling at me just pulling up his pants while the other boys watched, and, yes, I'm sure the neighbors saw as well. Needless to say, we had a "stern" heart-to-heart with me doing some yelling and hand gestures and him crying.

I thought I had gotten through to him but then a week or so later, he did it again. This time, the talk was a lot more stern, if you catch my drift. I tried to explain to him that while he's up by Grandma and Grandpa's house up north, it's somewhat OK to pee outside because no one is there to see him do it.

While we're home in Chicago, he is forbidden from doing it. He finally seemed to understand and hasn't done it since. At least not that I know of.

So maybe it's not all boys but just mine. Do your kids (boys and girls) have any quirks you find strange? Let me know.

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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