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 domestic tranquility.
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 the problem?
I got my answer almost instantly.
“I am not wearing a BIKINI, Mommy,” affirmed Jack. “It looks BAD.”
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 beach volleyball.
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 time.
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 butt cheek.
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 Speedo.
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 tush.
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 AUSTRALIA.”