In general I’ve never really been a “girlie-girl”. When I was young I didn’t really like to play with Barbies very much. I didn’t really like to play “house”, although I remember playing it fairly often. I used to like to play “office”. Yeah, I don’t know…kind of strange, but whatever. I don’t particularly remember liking dressing up in flowery clothes much, although I know I certainly did at times.
The “stand-out” toy I got as a kid was not a doll or dress-up clothes, it was “Electronic Battleship”, baby – still the coolest game ever. I collected Star Wars cards. As a teenager I wore very little makeup and still don’t wear much. Never liked the color pink. I always hated spending time on my hair. To this day I kind of dread going to get my hair cut as I don’t much like the whole “salon” experience; it seems like a waste of time and the minute I sit down I can’t wait to get out of there. I dislike immensely the process of shopping for clothes – and while I definitely appreciate flattering, feminine clothing – I simply don’t want to go through the process of acquiring it.
My sister, younger than me by 2 1/2 years, was and still is, basically the opposite….pretty “girlie”…loves to shop, loves cute clothes, likes pink…the whole-nine.
Hmmm… I realize I’m sounding pretty “butch” here, but I don’t feeeeel that way and I don’t think I come across that way to people (pipe-down, peanut gallery…). I’ve just rarely bought into the whole “this is how you should be a girl/woman” thing. In high school I remember saying to myself “If guys don’t think I’m pretty in a flannel, skin-tight Jordache jeans and a massively huge, low-maintenance perm – screw ’em”.
My point is, I’m no princess. Which is inherently a very good thing as I am the mother to three boys; ages 6, 4 and 3.
My sister, well she ended up with three girls.
Destiny would deal the perfect cards for each of us; the gendered children who would best suit our personalities and strengths.
Or DID it??
So the other day I’m sitting at the table with the boys eating pizza, (literally the only food-group all three of them will eat simultaneously). Here is the conversation that followed:
THE PLAYERS: Mom (me), Boogs (6 yrs old), Bubs (4 yrs old) and Boo (3 yrs old):
BOO: Hey Boogs…do you like DIARRHEA on your pizza?
ME: WHOA! Whoa…disgusting. Stop. We don’t say that, especially at the table. And you better never say that out in public.
BOO: Sorry Mommy. (giggles by all three as I glare).
BUBS: ME! I like poo pizza!
ME: Hey! I said knock it off! (silence).
BOOGS: Did you guys just hear that fart? (Boys belly-laugh….there was no gaseous emission from anyone within a 100 yard radius).
ME: You know what, that’s IT! (I stand up menacingly)…Are you trying to make me sick? We do NOT talk like that in this house. That’s it, do you UNDERSTAND?! Tell me OUT LOUD that you understand!
ALL: (mutterings of yeah, sure, ok).
ME: (I walk to the sink to rinse my dish). Just gross.
BOOGS: Mom, you should have seen Bubs’ poop today, it was HUGE! (They all laugh).
ME: (My back is to them and I am now laughing, but am hiding it). Wha…what??? First of all, why the hell are you even looking at his poo? I don’t understand, that’s just weird. Stop doing that. That’s number one. Number two…yeah, ok, while we’re at it…from now on going pee is “No. 1”, and going poop is “No. 2”. That’s what we should say because you’re all clearly obsessed with poo. Now stop it. (I shake my head. There is silence).
BOO: “No. 2” is poop, Mommy? (asked in the angelic, high-pitched voice that betrays his true intentions).
ME: (Exasperated). Yes…Boo.
BOO: Oh, I want two pieces of pizza cuz then it would be poo-pizza!
ALL BOYS: (Uproarious laughter. In the time it took me to walk from the sink to the table in order for me to become menacing again, I heard the words: Poo, fart, burp and diarrhea).
ME: You’re all done. Get outta here! Goodbye, leave the table. Go to the naughty-spot. No more pizza, ever.
ALL BOYS: (Moans and groans….general “sorry’s”).
ME: (As they run away wrestling each other…) Why are you LIKE THIS?? (shaking my head to myself and muttering)…GOD…why….Poo pizza…what the……WHY are you so GROSS all the time? Come ON!!!!
And they ARE. Despite my Herculean best efforts, more often than not they say gross things, make gross noises imitating gross things, laugh at almost exclusively gross sounds and discussion, interject gross words into almost every sentence they utter, and in general…are just – the lovers of all words and sounds that have anything to do with gross bodily fluids or emissions.
It’s not like their father or I use these words, really, ever. I’m not saying we have never used them, but almost never…and almost certainly never in the context in which they use them.
It’s like they were born with this defective micro-chip in their brains that dictates the words and noises that fly out of their mouths must have something to do with burps or butts.
Now I’m not saying that girls don’t have their fair-share of fun at the expense of flatulence and related things. They do, we do. But it’s usually not so BRAZEN. Girls say and do those things, but they tend to laugh about it in more “hushed” tones, among themselves. My boys will burp and shout over to our sweet, elderly woman neighbor, “Hey, did you hear THAT!?” They’re proud of it. It’s like a badge of honor for them. It’s like a scarlet letter on my chest for me…”B”…for “Bad Mommy”.
I’ll be honest, I don’t get it. When I was a kid if I made some noise out of one end or the other in front of anyone, I might have laughed uncomfortably, but only because what the hell else could I do…I couldn’t crawl under a rock of shame like I really wanted to. It happens, we’re human beings – “machines” – and we inadvertently release…exhaust. I get that.
But for fuck’s sake. COME ON!!!!
Until I had my three boys I never knew how different boys and girls really were.
Look, overall I much prefer playing outside with my boys and pretending I’m Darth Vader chasing them around the swing-set than sitting around “playing house”. But today I was at Boogs’ baseball game talking to two other mothers. Each of them had a sweet little girl. The little girls were sitting quietly and talking about their pretty dresses and sandals, while my two younger boys were picking up their little lawn chairs and thrusting them at each other with “Hi-YAH!”-quasi-kung-fu voices. Then Boo, my three-year old, said gleefully and loudly through a smile, “I burped Mommy!”.
I shook my head, rolled my eyes and shrugged my shoulders and said to one mother through gritted teeth, “Arggghhh…I just want to take them home and put cute little pink dresses on them for a few hours and have a tea party. Would that be bad???”
One mother said in all seriousness with a loud whisper, “No. Uh-uh, it wouldn’t be bad. They won’t even remember it. Just do it.”
I kind of stared off into the distance with a dreamy look on my face and said in an I’m-considering-it sort of way…”Huh…”
That or I could simply wait for them to outgrow the gross-boy stuff.
That’s never going to happen, is it. IS IT?!?
They’ll all be home at lunch time and it will all begin again after I innocently squirt detergent into the dishwasher or squeeze the ketchup bottle or slide a chair on the floor or I utter the words “one” or “two”….and one of them will say: “Hey Mommy, did you hear that (insert your preferred emission here)”.
Cue uproarious laughter from the boys. Cue high-blood pressure for me.
Perhaps I should have worn more pink as a kid.
Perhaps THEY should. Yessssssss…(just for a couple of hours).
Shhh…they’ll never remember it. Right?