I am the mother of sons. Although I had no say in the matter, the truth is that when hubby and I decided to have children I made it fairly clear that I expected him to give me sons and not daughters. Now, I know we had no say in the matter given that the general rule of conception, at least at this current moment, is “you get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit,” but I’ve always been a girl who knew what she wanted. You see, I am the oldest of three girls. And, while I know my mom enjoyed having young daughters, I remember what I was like as a teenager. I remember how I treated my mother. Furthermore, I remember what it was like living in a house with three teenage girls. Frankly, that amount of estrogen scares me. So, I put that part of my life behind me and gave it a firm “no thank you” when I considered my future and potential parenthood. I was thrilled when the Powers That Be determined that I should have not one but two darling little boys. Apparently, someone up there either understood what I wanted or figured I should parent what I was least likely to strangle. I have always understood why some animals eat their young.
Being the mother of sons is an interesting proposition, though. On the one hand, I never have to share clothes, make up, jewelry, or zero-calorie soft drinks. On the other hand, I am the problem child when it comes to camping and long car trips since I wasn’t built with an external pee hose for convenient potty breaks. All in all, though, being the only female in the house has been an ideal situation for me up until now. Now, my oldest son is now firmly in the throes of being a preteen. Situations in which I am asked to demystify the male anatomy are becoming more frequent. This might freak some women out, but I am not squeamish. I’ve never talked to my sons with baby talk about body parts. I’ll bet I utter the word penis at least five times in any given day, and I’m okay with that. I’m the one who gave my sons their first (very simplified) “sex talk” because 1) they had questions and asked me, 2) their dad was not interested in discussing it yet, and 3) I determined it would be better if they got the details from me than from one of their little friends who has erroneous information. Quite honestly, it’s been fun to hear the things my sons will tell me.
“Please put your penis in its house,” I requested of a not-quite-fully-clothed Joe who was standing in the hallway wearing nothing but a towel after his bath.
He looked down into the towel. “It’s not ready to get dressed yet,” he replied matter of factly.
I closed one eye, cocked my head, and pondered why it might not be ready to get dressed yet. Then I shuddered. Oh Good Lord. “It will be fine. It will fit into pajamas. Get dressed. I may not have a penis, but I know how they work,” I claimed.
“Trust me, Mom. They have a mind of their own.”
So I’ve heard.
You know, my whole life I thought that saying was a cop out. Turns out that even 11 year old boys know it to be true. The best part about being a mom to boys isn’t what I expected it would be. It’s not that no one is hogging the bathroom while doing their hair or that no one is breaking down into weepy, hormone-induced puddles, although those are both good things. It is instead the education I’m getting being able to see the male experience as it happens from birth. It’s given me an entirely new perspective on the male species. I still don’t truly understand men, but I’m getting closer. Apparently, it really is all about the penis.