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Monday, September 26, 2011

What I learned on my Birthday

It happens all the time.
I walk into a store or restaurant and someone will comment on all my kids.
“Wow, all yours, huh!” they might say.
“Four boys!   You've got your hands full.”
Just sweet and fun comments I take as compliments from total strangers.
A few weeks ago, the counselor and I were out with all the kids when a woman with 3 little girls and 1 boy of her own passed by me and said “Four boys, huh.  I wouldn’t trade places with you for anything.”
And I smiled at first, thinking it was like the rest of the comments I get, like it was some sort of a compliment, only to realize a few seconds later that was more an insult.
What’s the big deal, I thought.  Yes, I have 4 boys in a row.
Yes, they’re rowdy and wrestly (is that a word, let’s just say it is).
Yes, they like to tease each other and poke and have fun and be obnoxious.
Yes, they’re boys! 
Yes, they eat a lot! 
Yes, they can drive me crazy if I’m really tired and have too much to do.
Honestly, having 4 boys has it challenges, but most days it’s manageable.
On my birthday, we all went out.
I wore my Eileen Fisher silk pants I found at Goodwill for $1.00.  I tried to dress up a bit, after all it was Joe's BBQ.
At first, the boys started playing tag.
Eden has to be one of the boys, trying to catch up with them.
Then, the boys turned competitive on each other.
Running, yelling, tagging “You’re it!” and the other one is crying because he didn’t win.
I’m wondering what can I do on my birthday to just keep my boys still for a little while, with not fighting.
The counselor and I don't fight.  Where did my kids learn to fight?
And the counselor says “They’re just boys and that’s what boys do.”
I’m starting to question this idea because it’s taken over my life.
Is this really what boys do? 
Because I don’t like it all the time – teasing in the car, wresting in the house, pestering each other at the restaurant.
We walked across the street to the City of Gilbert water tower.
The water kept my kids occupied for the rest of the afternoon with no fighting on their part.
Eden's not too sure about joining them this time.
There she goes, just a bit closer to watch.
It occurred to me that my boys always need to be engaged, conquering something, 
entertained by a challenge, an obstacle that empowers them, 
they want to feel strong and they want attention.
 If they don’t have an opportunity like that, they take it out on each other, find it in each other through wrestling, fighting, teasing.  Sometimes I compare them to baby wolf cubs, fighting with each other to learn how to be strong when they grow up.
That's what "Boys will be boys" means to me.
How is it I just realized this?  
Parenting has a way of teaching, humbling, keeping us on our toes.  
By the end of the afternoon, they were soaking wet but happy.
I know this understanding doesn’t fix my parenting challenge, but it is some sort of consolation prize for years of additional parenting.
Thank heavens for little boys (and one little precious girl)!
And thank you for all the birthday wishes and love.


  1. Enjoy those 4 boys (and that little sweetheart)! Those of us lucky enough to have so many little boys running around (or not so little any more in my case), well we are a select club. Only the members of our club realize what a blessing we have been granted! Happy Birthday--a little late!

    Jamie G.
    (It won't let me use my blogger account to comment-odd!)

  2. As another member of this club, I say, "They have no idea what they're missing." Boys are the best. Girls are great, too, but there's just something about your grown-up son enveloping you in a hug. Just wait. It is unbelievable.

  3. I wouldn't trade my house full of boys for anything in the whole wide world. Enjoy them all; they are a true blessing :)

  4. I loved this post! I also have 4 boys and I get comments all the time when I'm out and about with them. It has taken me some time to realize how blessed I am to have all boys. I had always imagined I'd be a mom to girls. But, with no girls in the mix i now see what a wonderful and exciting thing raising boys truly is. My husband and I have to opportunity to shape and influence our little men to become godly men of honor and integrity. At least that's what we're aiming for! :) In the meantime, it can be so loud, chaotic, and busy that I wonder if we're succeeding. But, I think you did a fantastic job of summing up the nature of boys in your post. (We often refer to ours as a pack of lion cubs). They need to explore & discover and make their own mistakes.

    And, happy birthday! You looked amazing in that outfit!

  5. Yes, you looked gorgeous, Laura! Your photos are great, as always. Happy Birthday!


  6. Happy belated Birthday! I hope you had a wonderful one.
    I have not had any children yet, I plan to have two and if I end up with two boys I will be just as happy as having it any other way. (Although I really do like all the adorable girly clothes. *lol*)

  7. Happy Birthday. I have to say whenever I see a large family out, I try to say something positive. People can be so rude with comments and judgments. I was at a C.E. Cheese once and there was a family there with 8 children. The kids all sat and waited patiently and quietly for their food, ate, and then were excused to go play. I told the parents that their children were so well behaved and that they were awesome in raising them, since I have a hard time with 3!