My boy-filled life started almost 12 years ago when my first little man was born. Dude number two closely followed him a year later. My third fella came along a couple of years after that. Then finally my fourth child with a penis arrived a few years down the track. Family complete.
But let’s take a step back: When sons number one and two were born, the reaction to my two-of-a-kind was minimal. By boy number three, there was plenty of “feedback”. An acquaintance of my sister asked her if I was, “Okay?” upon hearing of the safe arrival of our third little chap. Seriously.
Then, when I was pregnant with my fourth son, I was sitting next to a dad from school (a father of two girls) when he said to me “Gosh you must be desperate for a girl?” Cue internal eye roll. He proceeded to highlight that having boys was about “protecting the real estate… they’ll destroy everything!” Righto. I could see a pattern forming here.
The exclamation and sheer disbelief from people when they come to learn of the multiple male branches on our family tree is staggering and something I never really thought I’d need to prepare for. “Oh gosh!” “Poor you!” “How many?” “WOW!” “They’re all yours?” It’s like a bad pop song on replay. Boys, it seemed, are little people to bring pity and fear upon their poor parents and we need to batten down the hatches if we were gonna have four of them!
You know what? There is a physicality that doesn’t seem to exist as much with girls. Boys DO rumble and wrestle. One minute there are hugs and high-fives and the next it’s descended into a junior version of WWF. And, if I’m honest, I worry that they’ll really hurt each other one day. Four boys will be a lot of muscle when they become four teens and (uh-oh) four men!
On the flipside I know they have each others’ back. Every. Time. But more so, they are more than their muscles, They have manners and a gentle kindness that makes me proud.
And no, I’m not sure what the future holds when the dreaded teenage boy hormones hits the house – we’re not there yet – but I’m conscious that deodorant will be an integral part of the shopping list soon enough.
There’s also the whole toilet seat staying down challenge that I’m faced with daily. But seriously, there are five fellas in my house (including my husband) and only one of me, so my expectations are realistic.
I used to care about the background noise and clichéd opinions. I did. Now, I just smile and think about who needs to be where – soccer, birthday parties, play dates, dance class, tennis, debate club, chess… The diary explodes on a monthly basis! My energy is for them, not the naysayers. To be fair, I do get my share of “Good on you!” and a few “That’s wonderful!” or “How lucky!” thrown in there now and then.
The way I see it, my boys are loud, physical, hungry (always hungry), active, funny, creative, loyal, kind, thoughtful (most of the time), helpful, inclusive, aware, chatty and they give me hugs with the determination of squeezing a fart out of me. They make my head hurt but my heart sing. But most importantly, they’re mine. And I love them.