Raising a Pack of Boys: the Physical Truth

At any given moment of the day, you might hear someone in my house screaming, “I’m going to punch you in the face!” and then the sound of a chase-grab-scream and finally, “MOM!”

It is not that my house is a violent place. . .nor that I’m the one yelling or chasing or screaming MOM.

They're Not Always Boy Scouts
They’re Not Always Boy Scouts

I have four boys that are within 4 years of each other.

I’m not kidding when I say we have an arsenal of Nerf guns that would make any NRA member shake my hand. And, if they aren’t playing a Wii game where they are punching or slicing with swords, then they are having an epic Nerf battle with the 50+ Nerf pistols, shot guns and machine guns that we have acquired through birthday presents and garage sales.

Any Wii play results in ALL of the couch cushions on the ground and possibly raisins and Honey-bunches of Oats scattered on the floor. Of course no one claims to the feeding frenzy that accompanied the Wii massacres.

Three of my boys haven’t worn pajamas since the last freeze, preferring to sleep in just their skivvies, and you’d think that asking them to get dressed in the morning was akin to tar and feathering them.

Their bathroom is always the biological hazard zone: Is the toilet flushed? If it isn’t flushed did the last user (who no one ever claims the honor of being) in fact utilize any toilet paper when. . .well, you can figure this out.

Yesterday, in 99 degree South Texas heat, Marc cut a winding path/maze through the “should-have-been-cut-last-week” grass in the backyard. When he was finished he ran into the house and yelled to his brothers, “I finished the grass path. Come down and run!” And, in 99 degree heat they all ran outside and ran around and around this grass path.

Honestly, none of this phases me or Scott because we were raised with lots of brothers. I have four brothers (no sisters) and Scott is one of six boys. Teasing, trash talk, competitions and some other rather gross and questionable behavior have been a major part of our upbringing. . .and are now part of our sons’ as well.

Here is Scott and his siblings (SIX BOYS!) and their mother, Lucy. (See, she’s still smiling!)

Eight Children

When Scott and his brothers get together there is always some type of competition. I wrote about the hula hoop battle here.

Muscle Men
Comparing their Muscles. Grunts were part of the sound effect
Do 50+ year old brothers still act like this? YES!
Do 50+ year old brothers still act like this? YES!

It isn’t until I’m around well-manicured families with just one or maybe two boys or all girls that I start to question our seemingly wild, loud, hygiene-questionable pack and I think maybe we are doing it all wrong. The boy in these other families seem so well-behaved, proper–and well, dang it, his shirt and their short always match!

So it was with a relieved heart that I listened to this essay on the NPR news program (my go-to station when doing anything in the kitchen) All Things Considered by children’s author and  webmaster of Guys Read, Jon Scieszka, talk about living in a house of six boys. This crazy, loud, sometimes violent, competitive guy world that swirls around me on its own trajectory is normal. You’ll love this essay even if you don’t have any children!





I am a mother of two sets of twins and a singleton. I explore the wild world of multiples and provide resources for other parents of multiples.
  1. I think part of it is just life when you’ve got a pack of kids in general! I’m one of 5, but for us it was 4 girls, 1 boy. I don’t think anyone would have ever accused our family of being “well-manicured”!

    Mom’s answer to the “chase-grab-scream-MOM” was always “Do you want me to solve the problem?”

    No, no we did not. Mom solutions were never fun. Off to destroy the livingroom!

    1. Jennifer,

      My friends with girls would totally agree with you! Not having any experience with sisters or more than one daughter, are girls as physically rough on each other? My boys can’t go through a day without someone being hit, tripped, punched. . .

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