I was talking with someone recently about what my boy house is like, and I was laughing at the ways that my boys consistently think about things differently than how I do now, or how I did when I was their ages. For example, there are some things that they, as a group, really seem to hate, like:
PRINCESS MOVIES, AND DOLLS
My boys have zero interest in any of the Barbie-type movies and other princess-y shows that I see listed on Netflix in the kid section, which I get, but the movies and shows they do watch sometimes get a little close to the “princess movie” line than they like, especially when it comes to romance.
Even in their Star Wars and superhero movies, there’s often a romantic subplot and any time they catch a whiff of it they start yelling, “Don’t even think about kissing!” I put “The Little Mermaid” on recently for the little ones, which I know is the kind of movie that tests their patience, but we hadn’t seen it in a while, and I wanted to watch it with them. I thought my seven-year-old actually enjoyed it, as he watched it quietly all the way through, but when Ariel and Eric shared their final kiss, he said, “If this movie was the exact opposite, it would be a lot better.”
They also hate dolls. I’ll never forget how one of my boys had nightmares after seeing my niece’s baby doll with eyes that open and close.
CLEAN CLOTHES, AND BEING WARM
When I do the boys’ laundry, I fold it and put it in piles on their desks — this is the signal that they are to put their clothes away. Our laundry set-up is unconventional in that no one has a dresser (there isn’t enough space in their bedrooms); rather, they each have shelves or drawers of their own in the laundry/mudroom. Despite the fact that a couple of them are fairly particular about wanting to have a supply of clean clothes, which would seem to negate the idea that they hate clean clothes, they all are terrible about putting their clothes away in a manner that preserves the clothes’ cleanliness. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found remnants of their pile of clean clothes toppled off their desks onto the floor and then apparently walked on and kicked around for a couple of days. Most of them shove the neatly folded piles onto their shelves or into their drawers, which, as you all know, is not the way to keep things neat and unwrinkled. We had family pictures taken recently and I’d washed everyone’s chosen outfits the night before — it was a special thrill for me that everyone was wearing clean clothes, which isn’t something that could be counted on when everyone was little — and the first thing one of them did when we arrived at the place for the pictures was roll around on the ground. So he’s in our photos with muddy knees.
They also hate being warm. Every day during the winter they argued with me when I told them that, yes, they need to wear winter coats and pants when they leave the house when it’s colder than 30 degrees.
PLEASANT FAMILY RIDES, AND QUIET OF ANY KIND
Ever since we started having kids, my husband and I have used car rides as a way of maintaining (or restoring!) our sanity. It’s always been a relief to buckle the kids into the van, especially after a long day of misbehaving — they’re safe and restrained and I have them seated in such a way that I’ve tried to keep apart the boys who cause trouble together. When they were all little, it was heaven. But as they’ve gotten older, it’s become less and less peaceful to have them all in the van together. They constantly bother each other by pulling on each other’s seat belts, pulling each other’s hair (they all have short hair, but when they’re determined to torment each other, they find a way), throwing things at each other, putting their feet on each other’s seats, sitting too close, sitting too far, having private conversations that they yell at other brothers about wanting to hear … any time all the boys are in the van, I spend a good amount of time yelling at everyone to, “Turn around! Quiet down! Stop bothering your brother!”
They really just seem to hate quiet of any kind. I’ve been marveling recently at how loud our house is — the noise has increased exponentially as the boys have gotten older, and I myself have reached decibels I didn’t know I was capable of in trying to have myself heard over the din.
It could be as much a pack mentality as anything else — each of them on their own can be quiet (I’ve seen it!), and on their own they might not mind a love story every now and again (especially if there are also weapons), and I know some of them have tendencies toward order and cleanliness, but the opinions presented above seem to be ones they can all agree on when they’re together. Or at least when they’re within earshot of me, and that might be part of it too — they definitely love to drive their mother crazy! I’ll tell you what, though: when I’m not yelling, I’m often laughing — what personalities these kids have! It’s such a privilege to watch them grow up.