The other day a friend promised me that while bringing up boys might feel like more work up front than girls, it gets easier. It really does, she told me, as I exhaled a sigh of relief.
“When my teenager’s male friends visit, it’s great fun,” she said. “If the girls come over as well, there’s always two crying in the toilet.”
But, as all boy-mums know, there’s an initiation you have to go through, before you can honestly say you no longer feel winded by the non-stop action, the catapulting off couches, and the, ahem, appendage comparisons. Here, I give to you, my boy-mum indoctrination, in its four distinct phases:
Phase 1 [with a health warning]: While friends with crayon-loving girls are able to entertain their children with colouring and hair clips, you realise your boy has more energy than an atomic explosion. He scales the furniture, hurtles round the room like a mini tornado and has turbo-charged growth spurts. Continually ravenous, his ability to turn anything from a stick to a finger into a weapon is disconcerting. Between your morning latte and lights out, you save his life at least three times, and you’re so full of nervous energy yourself, your eyes are practically on stalks. There are days when you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck.
Phase 2: You’ve emerged, with battle scars, from the horrors of toilet training, and learn that your boy would rather plunge the scissors into his thigh than wash his hands. He’s attracted to dirt, puddles, even dog poo, like bees are to honey. Your voice has taken on a shrill tone; it doesn’t even sound like you, but listen to it you must because your boy only hears what he wants to hear.
Phase 3: You’ve given up trying to keep him clean, you never wear your nicest clothes around him and you’ve learnt how to block out the decibels. He zips through activities in seconds, practically burning up the carpet, and takes risks at every opportunity. “What’s the worst that could happen?” you think. The answer is you don’t know, and would hate to find out. Despite the boisterous ways and toilet talk, you notice he’s developed a penchant for your heels.
Phase 4: You find out that your boy is an incredibly affectionate creature. You’re the apple of his eye, and you’re so loved up, it’s like being on a ‘boy-moon’. He slips his little hand in yours and says sweet things, before running off to kick a ball. You feel special, adored. The mother-son bond is unbreakable. You’re Kate Middie in McQueen. An empress – on speed. Because don’t think your life is about to get easier. It’s not that slowing down is bottom of your boy’s priority list. It’s not even on it.