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Humor@Home: Of Slugs & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails

by Tracie Grimes
Tracie is a monthly contributor to Kern County Family Magazine

After having three girls, I was a little nervous when I found out number four was a boy. I was excited to have a boy, of course, and everyone around me was almost giddy with joy, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was stepping into the Great Unknown. I was used to bows, sparkly shoes, and Barbies. What kind of manly things would I be able to stick on his head or strap onto his feet? Not to mention the fact that the plumbing was COMPLETELY different. I realized that parenting someone of the opposite sex would bring changes and challenges that I’d just have to adapt to.

One thing bringing up boys teaches you is to tolerate grossness beyond levels you could not have even dreamed about. For all of their endearing cuteness, the gross factor for any toddler is off the scale. They eat food off the floor, pick their noses, begin chewing gum they found stuck under a table, and run away when you attempt to change the diaper that has ballooned to the size of a snowman’s abdomen. However, toddler boys take things to new levels. Boys never come in from the backyard without being completely covered in dirt, mud, and something slimy. And when they eat – let’s just say I used to dress my boy in white shirts because I could bleach them.

Not only did I find out that little boys take gross to a whole new level, I learned that boys are much rougher than girls. Most girls like to have tea parties and put Build-A-Bear clothes on their pets, but boys want action. They slide down things and jump off of things and climb up things and tumble and tackle and leap and pounce and run. Our son liked to throw himself on the floor when he entered a room. They taste dirt and snails and glue and hard candy with fuzz on it and batteries. Our son once swallowed a watch battery (that was a fun visit to the ER, followed by a week of searching through - let’s just call it my son’s “exhaust” - to make sure the battery passed through his system safely).

I think the biggest thing I learned was that when you have a boy, you must maintain large quantities of food in your home at all times. I don’t know why I was so surprised by this one; I grew up with two brothers and every day I witnessed the way they plowed through the pantry, freezer, and refrigerator like a swarm of locusts. But one day I put a stack of pancakes in front of my son, turned my back to grab the syrup, and when I turned toward him again said, “Holy moly – did you just inhale that entire stack of pancakes?” Once, when he was about 12, we went for sushi—and he ate 58 pieces. Fifty. Eight. Pieces. Of. Sushi. I thought I was going to have to sell my wedding ring, or perhaps my son, to pay the bill.

All in all, I think I’ve adapted pretty well. Our son managed to survive the rough and tumble world of little boys and came out pretty much unscathed; just a few scrapes and bruises, a sprained ankle, and one minor concussion – oh, and the battery thing. However, I still haven’t hit upon that magic formula of just how much food I need to keep at the ready. How could anyone know what it takes to satisfy the hunger of a 6’2, skinny, teen-aged human male who can practically eat his weight in sushi?

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Tags: Infant & Baby, Parenting, Preschool

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