The Realities of Almost Two Decades of Raising Four Boys

The following is a collection of almost two decades of the highlights and lowlights of raising four boys, born within five years. These memories have been hand picked to best represent the nuances of raising little boys, medium boys, and teen boys. (Plenty of opportunities below for Mommy Shaming, but refraining would allow those moms with “wild” little boys to feel less alone. )

Things I heard:

  • “Seriously, Mom? You don’t have a knife in your glove box?”
  • “Can we pour lemonade in the (public) toilet?” (So that it looks like pee)
  • “Mom, how would you siege a castle?”
  • “Mom. What is your favorite type of hand gun?”
  • “Mom, if I stabbed a zombie with a machete, how long would it take to die?”
  • I tried to prematurely stop a wrestling match and their response was, “WHY? No one got hurt?”
  • “If I promise not to drop him, can I hold (anonymous brother) out over the balcony?”
  • A certain 4 year-old announced, “I need more hookers for my closet.” (Hangers)
  • “Can we dig a hole so deep that we can stand in it…if we promise not to die?”
  • At a sleepover in our basement I overheard a 14-year-old remark, “Hey guys, hog tie me with the duct tape and see how much pain I can endure.”
  • “My bottom just threw up.”
  • “Well, he promised not to get hurt.”img_4407-1
  • While in a beautiful national park, someone remarked, “Can we PLEASE go back to the campsite so we can thrash each other with those cattails?”
  • No one has ever asked: “Can I go shopping at the mall?” or “How do I look in this?”


Things I did:

  • I washed 10 shirts and only one pair of underwear for one son’s week of laundry.
  • I bought bottles of rubbing alcohol and a 10 pack of Bic lighters as stocking stuffers. (To make fires in the backyard fire pit.)
  • I found a snake in the window well while they were at school, and I caught it myself since I knew they would be excited.
  • I had an aquarium with four baby squirrels in my house for a month
  • I bought an arsenal of weapons over the years, despite calling squirt guns “squirters”, because I so badly didn’t want them ever to play with guns.
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  • I played fruit ninja in person by pitching rotting oranges to a 14-year-old who swung at them with his machete.
  • I made rules for “fake fighting.”
  • For an 18th birthday request, I shot guns with a son at the firing range.
  • I received a “seed” that a toddler had brought to me. As I rolled it around between my finger and thumb, I asked him where he got it. “In my nose.” Was his simple response.
  • I allowed them all to get dirty, climb tall trees, and play rough “games,” though I had no understanding why that would be part of having fun.
  • I allowed the boys to pee in a variety of outdoor locations because they could.
  • I feigned excitement over toads, ants, spiders, worms etc.

Things I saw:

  • I watched an apple tree die in our yard from being the designated peeing tree. You know the one that all four little boys would pee on when they got out of the car so they didn’t have to go inside.
  • The kids’ giant plastic playhouse inherited from my niece was played with upside down for two years so they could climb on it rather than play in it.
  • I watched them shoot bottle rockets aimed out of a long tube hoping to ignite their alcohol soaked school project.
  • I observed a son shooting quarters out of tree limbs from the kitchen window.
  • I noticed the canopy for the play set is forever riddled with airsoft bullet holes.
  • I watched them shove tin foil and Works toilet cleaner into a 2-liter bottle so that it would blow up.
  • img_1239A snowman was built lying on the ground with a pitchfork in his belly.
  • I witnessed the construction of three different coyote traps…one with magnets, one with a falling cage door, and a third with a Scoobie Doo net made from a hammock. No coyotes caught despite hours of planning, building, revising, collecting fish heads from the butcher, etc
  • A rotten watermelon was blown up with fireworks.
  • A mysterious hole appeared in the basement drywall in the shape of a head. All heads inspected for plaster. No obvious suspect has ever been discovered.
  • I NEVER saw them walk by a group of Canadian geese or seagulls without chasing them. Nor were squirrels or chipmunks safe either.

Things I learned:

  • I learned about how they chose their outfits each day: “Whatever is on top!”
  • Almost anything can be a weapon. (carrot sticks, pretzels, Pop-Tarts when chewed artfully)
  • You can buy a whole new toilet seat at Home Depot for only $18.
  • I learned that you can never have too many knives.
  • I learned that you can look at knives for 37 minutes before I would freak and say, “Seriously, how long are we going to look at these?”
  • I learned that most big cities have a gun and knife show each year.
  • There is a book called, “The Shooter’s Bible”
  • Trying to impress a girl never included a new outfit or anything beyond basic hygiene.
  • I learned about two types of sword fighting (Which most mothers with two boys have observed)
  • Golf clubs were for whacking not golfing up until the age of 10.
  • Airsoft welts were seen as a badge of honor and bravery.
  • Cushions will come off the couches every day for six years.
  • Most importantly of all…I have learned that boys who have said and done all of the things listed above can still become gentle, kind, responsible, strong, protective young men.img_5133
















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