The 2012 London Olympics officially lit a torch in the Walsh
household this past weekend. All three boys were glued to the
television as they watched the swim trials, volleyball games, and
cycling with rapt devotion. Not a cross word was exchanged. I
thanked the Olympic gods and NBC for providing some rare moments of
As each swim heat began, my sons would jump up and down cheering
like madmen. Ever the opportunist, I figured now would be a good
time to revisit swim lessons for the kids. Surely the crowds, the
fame, and the adoration of the entire world would help reinvigorate
a passion for swimming? Surprisingly, the responses I got
were far from enthused:
DAN: No way, Mom.
JACK: I am NOT swimming in the Olympics, Mommy.
JOEY: (Who has taken to calling me by my full name) Nope. You
can't make me, Marianne Walsh.
I was confused. They obviously enjoyed watching the sport. They
love the water. Their competitive natures know no bounds. What was
I got my answer almost instantly.
"I am not wearing a BIKINI, Mommy," affirmed Jack. "It looks
Ah. The swim attire. I should have known. They didn't want to
wear Speedos. I have always been told how much easier it is to
raise boys. They don't care about clothes, friends advise. I would
never suffer the early morning tirades that girl-moms face as their
daughters demand strappy summer dresses in mid-December. Piece of
cake, I was assured.
What a pack of lies that was.
The number of garment-restrictions I face grows yearly. No
sweats for Dan. No sleeveless shirts for Jack. No pants with
zippers for Joey. No shirt tags for ANYONE. Jack spent an entire
month wearing only his beloved Bears jersey to school because I was
too un-caffeinated to argue. The jersey rarely got laundered. By
Day 10, it could practically walk itself out the front door.
So it was not unusual to find my sons obsessing about the
uniforms throughout the Olympics. Regardless, we were all eager and
excited to hear Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh were up next in
DAN: Kerri Walsh? Like us? Like a WALSH?
JACK: Is she our COUSIN??
JOEY: Can she come over for a playdate, Marianne Walsh?
I sat down with my anti-Speedo-ites as we prepared to root on
Team USA. It was a match against the Australian women. From the
corner of my eye, I saw three little faces fall to the ground as
they glimpsed their "cousin" and her teammate for the first
DAN: (Horrified) You can see their butts!
JACK: The Australian players get to wear REAL clothes. I want to
play for AUSTRALIA.
JOEY: HAHAHAHA. Dey got naked butts der, Marianne Walsh!
Oh lordy. How in the world had I produced such Puritans? The
boys furiously shielded their eyes with their hands as though
Medusa herself had walked into the room. All this over a little
I immediately regretted my staunch refusal to allow them to
watch the Disney Channel.
My sons conducted a quick straw poll and agreed to never play
beach volleyball or participate in any sport that required a
I needed to diffuse the situation, so I explained how the
largest and strongest muscles in the body were located in the
posterior region. I discussed how important the derriere was to
good balance, proper posture, and overall athleticism. I encouraged
them to not feel ashamed about the beauty that is the human
They listened. They nodded. They pretended to go along with
everything I said.
And then they begged:
"Whatever you do, MARIANNE WALSH, please just don't sign us up
for the Olympics! And if you do, we want to play for
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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