As a woman who was raised with only a sister there are things that come as a surprise to me; and the surprises come on an almost daily basis. Who knew that ‘poop’ could be an always entertaining conversation around the dinner table? Or, that ‘potty time’ could turn into quality time of discussing the size of their ‘poop’? Burps, another favorite topic and endless reason for laughter (second only to Farts) are simply becoming a way of life here in the Haughton House. Fingers held up to look like guns and little voices saying ‘I’m gonna shoot you’ are another source of endless fun and always end in a round of giggles when someone ‘dies’ of a mortal ‘gun’ wound. Swords, pirates, cars, buzz light-year lasers, flying, jumping from the couch to the floor, from bed to bed or from the dining room chairs and of course the ever popular game of ‘superhero vs. bad guy’ to which Josh always seems to be the good guy and Kaper always the bad guy. The biggest thing I have noticed with boys is the word ‘competition’. It’s always a race, always about winning, always… and I really mean ALWAYS, about who is going to get there first, finish their food first, get into the car first, get to school first, get their coats on first, get into their shoes first, get onto the potty first, get into the bath first, and of course who has the biggest poop or longest pee. Nothing happens in this house that doesn’t end with someone saying “I WIN!” and jumping up and down with glee.
There are of course the negative sides of raising boys, the endless streams of tears when one boy takes another boys toy, or when a sword is wielded a little too hard, a jump from the couch is landed wrong or in the worst case scenario one boy lands on the other. There are the towers built that the other ‘crashes’ or the Lego house that the other decimates when pretending to be a bad guy bent on destruction. There are fists that get flung when someone is tired or angry with the other for some unknown wrong they have committed or of course the reason could simply be that one kid (or both) are tired and just grumpy (or in Kapers case it could just be hunger). The reason doesn’t necessarily matter, boys are physical in a way that girls just aren’t. Boys throw a fist first and ask questions later (if ever).
A few weeks ago Tim had a Sunday off from St. Paul’s so we made the choice to go to his new church (Little T) for a Sunday service. At the end of the service we were introduced to the parish as the new rector and his family. As you can imagine, when the service ended there were a lot of people who wanted to say hello. We stood in the center isle greeting people and chatting and the entire time I had to literally hold both boys by the scruffs of their necks to break up the fighting. At one point Josh had Kaleb by the back of his pants and was pulling his pants down! One man, who witnessed me admonishing Joshua to behave whispered in my ear ‘if it matters, Kaleb threw the first punch, Josh was defending’. I was mortified! ‘YUP, here’s your new senior pastor and his boys and the Pastor’s wife who can’t contain them!’
These things should not come as surprises I realize, I had friends who were boys growing up. I saw fist fights, I saw races and competitions and all the other things I have mentioned above. I heard the boys in class making farting noises with their arm pits and of course I heard the often repeated ‘whoever smelt it dealt it’. Yet, no matter what I saw when I was younger I still find that when it happens in my home I find myself wondering how I created such monsters; then I pray that somehow, some way, I will find a way to raise them into men that can be seen in public. (you can pray with me for that if you feel so inclined!)
However, I should mention that the law of brotherhood is not always ‘beat him until he cries or bleeds’. Today, after fighting over who would get into the car first, Kaleb turned to Josh and said ‘go away Josh’ to which Joshua smiled and said ‘I can’t go away, I love you’. If one of them gets hurt the other is always concerned, if one of them is crying about something they don’t like, the other is there to protect them and inform me that ‘he doesn’t like that Mummy’. If one is in trouble, the other tries to make me laugh or stop the time out etc. They are truly the best of friends even when at times when it seems they are the worst of enemies.
Shakespeare says ‘for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother’ and as I watch these two little guys growing up and learning how to be a friend to the other I find that there is no truer quote. They shed blood together, (real or imagined) and their bond is only made tighter. Rue the day that someone messes with one of these two because the other will be a force to be reckoned with.