Boys: Demented & Dangerous

Nervous Life With Males

When you give birth to your third boy and know that you are done having children and will be surrounded by swaggering penises for the foreseeable future, you can make certain general assumptions. Trucks, not tiaras. Blue, not pink. Mud, not icing. Scribble-scrabble, not coloring within the lines. Fart jokes. Booger jokes. Butt jokes. Barf jokes.

As the babies get older, you find out that your bed is primarily a receptacle for boyish pranks. You never get in without cautiously sweeping a hand under the sheets to see what might be under there: a plastic spider, a rubber chicken, a greasy corncob, or a prickly pine cone (this after a showing of The Sound Of Music). A good mother then finishes her nightly toilette, makes sure her nightclothes completely cover her underwear* and slides into bed. After a moment (during which there will be excited whispers from the hall) she must emit a series of piercing screams and spring from the bed, while her boys run to her, shrieking with glee at the success of their trick and pull the chicken or the pine cone from the sheets and wave it around in victory.

All of this has been true for me, and it has been loads of fun, although the greasy corncob was nasty enough to lead to the rule “No Sticking Food In Mama’s Bed, Either With Or Without Her Knowledge.” The boys have pride in their ability to scare me and then to comfort me with hugs and kisses.

Bill, of course, is the man behind the scenes helping with the shenanigans, and (I hoped) tempering the bad ideas with some common sense. Perhaps he was unaware of the greasy corncob, for example, or maybe the boys first proposed sliding a piece of grilled salmon under the sheets, and he felt that the vegetable was the better option.

Given what happened last week, I’m not so sure.

The whole family was watching American Idol, and during a commercial I went to my room to get my workout clothes. I opened the armoire and saw this: squirrel
No manufactured histrionics were required.

I screamed, “Honey! There’s a rat eating shrimp on top of my clothes and he’s about to leap out of the drawer!” and I sprinted back to the den and ran into the boys, who were red-faced with laughter, and Drew’s reaction was so strong that he had snot coming out of his nose.

As it turns out, this was all Bill’s idea. I was wrong about him. He’s no knight in shining armor protecting me from my boys’ most outrageous ideas. He’s the man behind them, the man who apparently places little value on an entertaining lifetime companion who provides him with gourmet meals, a spectacular (or at least regular) sex life and who sews the buttons on his shirts eventually, with little grumbling.

“Get that rat out of my house right now and take the shrimp with it!” I screamed furiously.

“Honey, it’s a fox squirrel, and that’s a pine cone. Squirrels don’t eat shrimp,” Bill said.

I was in no mood to listen to biology and locked myself in the bathroom until Bill assured me it was gone.

What a rookie mistake he made, right on the heels of our month of medical mishaps, and so close to Valentine’s Day. I hope the joke was worth it.

*If you jump out of bed clad only in a T-shirt, the boys forget about their chicanery and focus on your underwear and start chanting “Mama’s wearing panties! Mama’s wearing panties!” which robs them of the satisfaction of having tricked you and makes them think of other things way too soon.


  • lake lurker

    Hey turn arounds only fair play! Since you’re a gourmet cook why not whip up smoked squirrel instead of salmon on a cedar plank for Bill and the boys this week.Maybe fix a sauce that contains pinenuts. Just a thought.

  • Keith

    Hey, boys will be boys!! We used to tell my mom to close her eyes and hold out her hands…and she ALWAYS would!!! We would then deposit a lizard or frog or something else generally considered icky by females into her proffered hands. We would then laugh until we cried when she proceeded to scream and throw whatever it was up in the air. It never got old (to us, at least)!!

  • KLee

    And when, exactly, is Bill’s funeral? I’d like to send some flowers.

    The idea that the “rat” was eating shrimp absolutely *killed* me. I think I may have some snot coming out of my nose myself.

    All I can say is: Thank God I have a daughter.

  • talentedgirl

    Thank you so much for the best laugh I have had in a long time!
    It made my bad day seem so much better!!

  • Laura

    So my question is- where’d they get the squirrel? It’s not a typical trophy item, is it? (Though I once knew a guy who stuffed a chipmunk and used it hold his business cards. He’d prop them up in it’s little hands, right under it’s chin.)

  • bluepaintred

    Oh dear. Oh no. Oh heaven help me. I have three boys. they have already been at me witht he plastic spiders, rubber bats who drop from shower heads. Is THIS what I have to look forward too?

  • Charro

    I raised two boys who are now 32 and 29 and we STILL are doing things like that to each other. We have been through all the animals and various parts of them.Just recently I sent hamburger buns(another story) as a joke to one son and he never acknowleged getting them..making me believe they were lost in the mail. A few weeks later, I opened a large envelope and bread crumbs fell all over the floor. Keeps life full of laughs… ENJOY !! Charro

  • momumo

    This is wonderful – I had six brothers, my husband is one of 4 boys, I always wanted a whole houseful of boys – thank G-d I only birthed one, (I can’t afford to feed more than one – he ate 1 1/2 pizza’s last night, of course it was the first day of baseball camp)… He doesn’t have anyone to collaborate with other than his dad, and his dad’s pranks are based more on hideous hot desert things like scorpions that we don’t have here. Also, after growing up in a houseful of boys, they can’t see me flustered much (you see sisters are even more fun to torture than moms – we had every conceivable thing done to us, including things that would land a kid in jail now) – this of course doesn’t mean I’m not flustered, it just means that for this (and only this) area I do have a poker face. Even my poker face would have failed at a dead squirrel in my clothes though – it’s truly wonderful, makes for a temptation I am having trouble overcoming – wonder how payback on those brothers would be now… 30 years later, hmmmmmmm

    p.s. the pregnancy test gag is wonderful!

  • Karin Blue

    That’s not funny. My husband tried something like that early in our marriage, and I pulled out my suitcase and started packing (pretended to). He has never done it again.

  • Tiffany

    OMG! I’m laughing so hard! I have 3 boys myself (6, 4 & 10 months) – is this what I have to look forward too??? 🙂

  • PeanutButtersMum

    I’m sorry, but a rat eating shrimp??!!! That’s hysterical! I can emphatically say that had I been the one in your shoes, I would not have found it funny in the least, but it sure makes for good reading on a blog!

    Thanks for making me giggle!

  • tiff

    Funny. now that I have my little girl, I think it would be fun to have a boy next. Especially since I caught my husband reading a book called something like Extreme Sports With Your Kids. She is two and I overheard him asking her if she would like to go kayaking this summer. Don’t think so.