Baseballs in the bathroom, footballs in the frying pan

When I was pregnant, I secretly wished for boys. I know some mothers may have thought I was crazy. Didn’t I want a girl to do “girly” things with or take care of me when I grew old? Not really. I grew up with two sisters but I always wanted a brother. Boys seemed very different and mysterious.

I was ready to become a mother to boys. However, I wasn’t completely prepared for the culture shock that accompanied the ride.

My husband and I decided to wait for the day of delivery for both our children to find out their sex. Each time the doctor and midwife said, “It’s a boy,” I was delighted.

My sons, Matthew and Bryan, are each unique in their own right but are definitely full of “snips and snails and puppy dog tails” as the nursery rhyme goes. I began to notice the differences between girls and boys when my oldest son was an infant. I attended a mother/baby group where the female infants seemed so calm and content while some of the boys, mine included, were a bit more fidgety, active and cranky. The mothers of the girls told me their daughters were this way most of the day and slept very well. I was envious; their job seemed so much easier than mine.

Annemarie Husser and her boys, Matthew and Bryan.

As my boys grew older, the differences became more evident. As toddlers, they were so active. I eventually got used to the jumping, climbing, running, running and running. They even tried to run as I changed their diapers so I became good at changing their diapers while they stood up. My sons then became fascinated with guns. A stick, a banana, a remote control or a spatula served as a gun. I was shocked by this and didn’t know how to respond at first. My sisters and I never played with guns or wrestled with each other like my sons did. But my husband assured me that this is what boys do.

The throwing stage came next and, soon after, the constant physical contact stage. One afternoon after becoming frustrated that my attempts to break them apart weren’t working, I told them firmly to continue on. At last, they finally stopped.

Then came the sports stage. Oh, the sports stage.

I actually came home from work one evening and noticed a basketball on the dining room table, a baseball in the bathroom and a football in the frying pan. I had to chuckle because as trying as my boys can be with all of the gun business and the baseballs and footballs throughout our house,

I relish them with all my heart.

Boys aren’t as complicated as girls. If they are mad, they are mad; if they are happy, they are happy. They live in the moment and I appreciate this. The first act of my life was all about girls, and now the second act is all about boys. The journey of raising my sons has deeply enriched my life and has taught me so many lessons.

Believe it or not, I like what I have learned.

Annemarie Husser is a mom and family therapist living in Carpentersville.

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