Tuesday, 19 June 2012

On becoming an advocate

On the weekend during a visit with my in-laws, Justin, Shawn and Dave, Shaune’s sisters’ husbands and boyfriends had Deaglan in stitches. In fact he was laughing so hard I thought he might cry. The guys had triggered his four year-old funny bone with the age-old humour of all men.

Toilet talk.

There was nothing sophisticated about their jokes.
No lengthy lead up.
No clever punch lines.
In fact they simply took turns making up scenarios: Hey Deaglan, I ate a poop sandwich the other day. Or I saw a guy pee in a cup and drink it. And when I thought he might spew orange juice through his nose: My name is Sir-Farts-Alot, nice to meet you.

These "jokes' had my son doubled over, holding his stomach with both hands, machine-gun giggling, rendering him almost breathless. I shook my head and wondered not for the first time, at the mystery of the male species. 

Growing up, I had four brothers but our house was crowded with girls too. I was able to ignore my brothers’ antics, focus on the books I was reading, pursue feminine interests or simply escape to friends’ houses that had substantially lower people to living-space ratios.

In my dating years, I rarely sought to understand whoever I was with at the time. Mostly I wondered why they didn’t get me. And even after all these years next to Shaune, I’ve never really wanted to dig deep into the male psyche, figure out how it works. Mostly, I’ve wanted him to identify with me, sometimes even resenting him for not caring enough to get to the bottom of who I was.

These little boys of mine though – well they’ve changed all of that.

I find myself remembering to be brief when lecturing Deaglan, not getting annoyed that he suddenly needs to use the bathroom the instant he’s landed himself in a time-out, knowing it’s likely only occurred to him then.  I try to remember their need for constant movement even when I want to pull my hair out because they’ve made yet another couch-cushion trampoline.

I’ve read books. I’ve spoken with other mothers of boys. I’ve watched quietly the males in this household interact in my quest to learn more about them.

I’ve gotten downright sanctimonious, itchy even, when I’ve heard someone say a child was “good” because he or she was calm and cooperative. I knew without asking in most cases they were likely referring to a girl.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I struggle in small ways all the time; this journey to embrace my testosterone-soaked family is not as anecdotally-sweet as I’m making it out to be.  

A few days ago, I entered the bathroom after Deaglan had used it. I asked him why there was pee on the wall and the floor. In a tone that suggested I’d asked him the colour of the sky, he answered simply this:

Mommy, I don’t have control over my penis, it controls me. (I swear to you that's an exact quote!)

Cold panic gripped me. I shook my head in an effort to dismiss the many disturbing images my mind conjured up of the future.  I wiped up the mess in the bathroom. And I took up, once again, the imaginary decorating of my future bathroom. The one for which only I held the key. 

It was Gramma's birthday.

Riding on Grampa's "tractor" is a highlight of summertime.

This year, Naveen got to drive too!

Joke telling Uncles. Shawn is missing.

Aunt Chrissy, Shaune's youngest sister.


  1. Even though I don't get men jokes either and why they think they are so funny. The sound of a child hysterically laughing always gets me. There's somethnig about bringing kids to that point that makes me smile too :)

  2. With 3 little boys, I totally get this. And we've only just begun, haven't we?!? I admit his direct quote made me smile.

  3. my daughter "acts like a boy" so I get questioning stares when she is climbing all over the place instead of sitting quietly. She might get her tomboy ways from me because I kind of like potty jokes

    p.s. great photos. it's great your boys have extended family to grow up with

  4. There is so much to look forward to as a boy mom isn't there. Toilet talk isn't funny yet, but I'm giving it another year or two. The direct quote almost made my Diet coke go up my nose. I was not prepared at all.

  5. Oh Kim, you have your hands full!

  6. Hysterical!! "I can't control my penis..." Oh MY!!! You are in for a treat. Parenting boys is an adventure. Hang in there my friend. Noah is beginning to experience puberty and he thinks it's the best.thing.ever!! xxO

  7. Oh my GOD!! Hahahaha.... I haven't been by in quite sometime, but I AM SO GLAD I didn't miss this post! I couldn't help but laugh - I'm sorry dear! With two little brothers (and a largely male circle of friends), I've never understood the potty humor that they find so funny (even as grown men!) Good luck with your boys! You have your hands full!

  8. It doesn't get much better than being the mom of boys! I don't get the toilet talk either...and trust me, they don't really outgrow it...it just changes a little. I've spent more time rolling my eyes at the disgusting 'jokes' but secretly still love that it makes them giggle like little boys. Sit back and enjoy it... p.s. - I love the penis control comment...I laughed so hard that I almost wet my pants ;)

  9. Hahaha!! Oh my goodness...the penis quote...SO funny!! I will never fully understand my boys or husband, but I've come to terms with it ;)
    Love those tractor pictures, looks like so much fun!

  10. Kim, that boy of yours had me doubled over laughing!!! I love the innocence and matter of factness of his quote too, but I gotta say, years (many years) from now, that will make one hell of a pickup line!

    Bless you and your precious family for making my day once again:)

  11. I've tried banning those sorts of jokes in my house, although my boys still find them amusing.

  12. Potty humor, true potty humor. It's so innocent but also so gross. My little guy is just beginning to understand.

    How are you? Where are you? It's been a while. Are you alright?


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