Tuesday, October 15, 2013

boys to men

Ever since Mr. G came along (don't you love that--"came along"--as though his birth was some random, passive event, like getting a card in the mail), I've heard constant remarks on being the mom of three boys.

"Wow, three boys."
"THREE boys.  That must be something."
"Three boys--how do you do it?"
"Well, they say boys start harder but end easier than girls."
"It must be LOUD at your house."
"You must have some grocery bill."
And the classic, "Don't you want a daughter?  You must be so lonely as the only girl."

Generally these remarks are accompanied by pitying or sympathetic expressions.  Sometimes people even wince when they figure out all three of these knuckleheads belong to me.  I always thought Mr. D got the same reaction from people, but no, for him it's more of a fist-bump, "you stud" kind of moment when people hear he has three sons.

When the boys were younger it was loud and messy, active and crazy.  Zombies, yetis, sword/laser fights, Batman capes, muddy floors, grass-stained knees, balls and Nerf bullets flying.  My furniture is distressed thanks to them and the toilet seat is always--well--splattered somehow.  I have to beg and bribe my sons to bathe, wear a collared shirt to church and use a napkin instead of their clothes.  But they are creative and funny, healthy and curious.  Mothering three little boys was mostly pleasant because if you can tolerate the chaos and noise and projectiles aimed at your head, it'll make you laugh and stay in shape.  I didn't have to fix hair, shop much, dry many tears or endure that high-pitched noise that emanates from many small girls.

But things are changing around here ...

They are eating MORE.  Like, a LOT more.  Their milk and meat and bread consumption has nearly doubled.  A package of bacon for breakfast?  Inadequate.  One sandwich at lunch?  Surely you jest.

Their feet are growing.  I'm at the shoe store almost as often as I'm at the grocery store.  And they all need specific shoes--for basketball, wrestling, soccer and baseball in addition to their regular shoes.  Every time I turn around one of them is telling me their feet are pinched, can we get new shoes. 

Two of them are looking me in the eye without standing on a chair or step to do it.

They need deodorant and frequent showers because getting sweaty isn't just some damp aroma anymore.  This has implications on my laundry schedule and my shopping list.

One got braces today.

None of them plan to stay home with me during deer hunting.

The bin of hand-me-downs has more limited supply as they're all wearing close to the same size without anything in-between.

Things are not the same around here lately.


  1. DANG, I mean, just the shoe bill alone .... !

  2. I hear ya! Oh, the smells, and the food consumption, and the activity, and growing. And the laughter and the mama boy hugs and the appreciation for homecooked meals and the muscles which can lift things, and the many other positive things about having lots of growing boys in the house.

  3. When my three boys were out during the summer, they'd go through 6 gallons of milk a week. No lie.

    I used to joke around that our house was like a fraternity house, just without the drinking and the sex. Now it's JUST like a fraternity house, including those things.

    Having a clean toilet seat that is occasionally DOWN is a blessed thing.

  4. I liked the phase in early middle school when my sons' feet were the same size as mine. I got some rain boots and hiking boots out of it. Daughters would have stolen MY shoes.

  5. Lonely because you don't have a girl? What, boys can't be good company for a mom? Does that mean my husband must be lonely because we have a girl?

    When I see a mom with three boys --or three of any gender-- I'm just darn impressed that anyone can parent more than one child at a time :-)

  6. I can't tell you how many times people have asked if we'd try for a girl! Uh...No! Three strikes and your out mister (just kidding, but it got some great looks!). I think our three are the same age as yours. The shoes!!! Our 13 year old is taller than both of us now. Bacon, what a joke! I have to grab a slice straight from the pan before our monsters inhale it! And it doesn't matter how much is made...there's always room for them to scarf down more! Our youngest is constantly "starving"...he ate 4 sandwiches the other day (and not one slice of ham with a squirt of mustard...Sandwiches!). I boiled a dozen eggs for post workout snacks, went to grab one on the way out the door...gone, nada, zip, nothing!!! Calgon take me away ;)

  7. I remember having to feed my boy and wondering about his ever present hunger. I did shoot up fast and quickly towered over me very early on. I always thought he was much less complicated in many ways to raise than my daughter, but then again, he was very deep too.

  8. I'm not to excited about the stinky phase ;-)

  9. You are a member of the "My Three Sons" club! (They kicked me out when I had the 4th son.) My youngest is now 14 years old and will pass up my 5'10" height next summer, if he is anything like his older brothers.
    I am still astounded over the many comments about "trying for a girl" that I endured -- especially the ones said in front of my boys! -- when I was pregnant with boy #4. I'm thrilled to have had only boys, even if it does get lonely on movie night when they watch shows with Dad while I hang out alone. I like to say that someone else is raising my daughters for the same reasons that you listed. (I try to remember to pray for those girls and their families.)
    The food bill is incredible when they are all in growth spurts. Any time we had at least 2 of the boys in bottomless pit mode, the grocery bill was horrific. I recommend teaching them that the first layer on their plates should be an inch or two of mashed potatoes.
    Now that we only have 2 at home (high school senior and 8th grader) the bills are a bit lower. We encourage the drinking of water between meals. (My husband still forgets to pick up more milk mid-week!) And I buy eggs in 5-dozen batches. :)

  10. I have just my one girl, but her grocery store growth spurt bills are nothing to sneeze at. Pat will call to see if I need him to pick anything up on his way home and on those three & four gallons of milk weeks when I answer "milk" for the third time in three days, he has stopped saying "but didn't I grab a gallon yesterday?" and just sighs with 'again?'. And the amount of food a gang of girls can eat as they run through your house? We are convinced at least one child is never, ever fed anything at home. That girl can come in and take out a gallon of milk in a flash.

    And the shoes. She's got my expensive taste in shoes and she's closing in on my size. Her father this summer, in what I swear must have been a fit of temporary insanity, decided that I should spring for a new pair of 'nice' cowgirl boots for her, like mine. Really, just like mine? Sure, because I've had that purple pair since college. Yes, but my feet had stopped growing by then. So we have come to the agreement that when her feet stop growing, she is due one pair of Frye boots. Of course Daddy shared this with her, so she is currently willing her feet to stop growing and probably looking up tricks on line to make it happen. Don't put anything past that child.

  11. Lots of changes, yes, but they mean that your boys are healthy and growing, which means the changes, they are wonderful.

  12. Same thing around here with my Seamus. He is SO close to breaking the six foot barrier. I am secretly hoping he'll turn out to be the tallest boy in the Bartels' family, which means he has to be taller than 6' 4". And the food! He tells me he's trying to eat as much as possible so he won't be so skinny. My oldest son, Ian, grew an inch the summer he turned 20.

  13. Oof.

    A bit bittersweet, but oh, what adventures await!

  14. I know. I get it, man. The food consumption. It frightens me because they are so young yet and they already eat this much. It blows my mind. I don't know what we are going to do when they are all in high school. And my house is gonna smell SO BAD. And the growth spurts! I feel like I can't even keep them in clothes (and SHOES) that fit! It's nuts!

    But boys are so fun. So full of it. Full of everything. And they love their mamas. They are much easier on their moms, more forgiving and accepting, than girls are (so I've heard. I haven't found that out yet). I have a blast with my boys. And I love having three of them. I bet I would love having four (or five) of them as well. Boys rock.


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