“Mommy, where is the train?”
“I don’t know. I don’t see a train today.”
“The yellow train, Mommy. Where did it go?”
“Uh, … um, … Wisconsin? The yellow train isn’t around today, baby.”
“What about the blue train? I don’t see that either.”
“It’s probably traveling somewhere, bringing cargo to another state.”
“Oh. What about the subway train?”
“We don’t have a subway train.”
“But, if we did, where would it be?”
“Um, in the subway?”
I wish I could say my son doesn’t stump me on an every-day basis, but he does. I’ve pretty much tucked my IQ in the back drawer, and admitted defeat in knowing any answer to any question my son poses. Yes, I’m a useless fount of knowledge in many areas, but when it comes to my son, I’m clueless.
Sometimes the answer is as simple as, “because I’m a girl.”
I grew up with Barbies, Carebears, books, and roller skates. Trains were not fascinating to me, unless I knew when my uncle was driving one past my grandmother’s house. I spent hours out of my day reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I could spend hours playing quietly in my room, brushing my doll’s hair.
However, since I’ve had a son, my way of life has changed. I’m constantly on my toes. I’m constantly moving. What’s more, I’m constantly asked to make up reasons why the blue and yellow train didn’t bother driving down the road at the exact moment we passed the tracks.
Which got me thinking about the standard lifestyle of the mom of a boy. Here are ten ways life is different when you’re the mother of a son.
1) You have panic-induced gray hair.
He ninja-jumps off the back of the couch onto the floor. He falls off the bed onto the hard floor, while awake. He creates hazardous slides out of cushions and tubes. He leaps five feet off playground equipment while holding the dog. He trips over thin air and face-plants into the concrete. He falls sideways off his bike because he was trying to bounce a basketball while riding. He finds out the hard way that Buzz Lightyear’s plastic wings can’t make him fly. He runs into the refrigerator door, … twice.
He shouts, “Mommy, watch this!” and your heart leaps into your throat.
But, you’re the mother of a rough-and-tumble boy who tries to kill himself on a daily basis. Although you feel like you’ve grown thicker skin over the years, and your hair stylist knows she’s paid to lie to you, panic has increased the amount gray hair on your head–not age.
2) You are the mother of a Superhero.
Perhaps you’re a rare mom who knew all of the superheroes growing up. Perhaps you’re like me, and only knew the basics. Whatever the case, you’re now well-learned in the names of the superheroes, their real names, their super powers, their arch-rivals, and their theme song.
3) You know every dinosaur name, their classification, and what period they belonged.
“I don’t know” is not an acceptable answer when your son asks you a question. He’ll pose it in forty different ways, so at some point, you have to break down and learn the boring history of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Not only that, but you need to know the Parasaurolophus, the Mosasaurus, the Pterodactyl, the Brachiosaurus, the Allosaurus, the Velociraptor, and every other dinosaur named by a paleontologist.
Barbies were so much easier.
4) You are constantly on the lookout for trains, and expected to know their whereabouts.
If a train is not on the tracks when your car passes, but the mysterious yellow train was passing by yesterday, be prepared to make up a lie. Because, if you don’t … well, you saw how my train discussion went.
Minnesota. The train is in Minnesota.
No, I have no clue if trains actually deliver goods from Texas to Minnesota, or if the same rail lines cover that area. He doesn’t know either, but at least I’ve given a slightly-suitable response.
5) You are an athlete, and you do not “throw like a girl.”
You’re not called a soccer mom because of your stylish good looks. Your son expects you to train, play, and help him learn the current sport of choice. Which means if you’ve never played a sport in your life, you’d better figure it out, quick.
He wants you to throw him the ball. He wants to throw the ball to you. He wants you to hit a home run. He expects you to dribble like a pro. He wants you to run, duck, weave, and play the sports he loves.
6) You know that “son up to son down” is not an expression.
It’s a lifestyle.
7) You have a “food cut-off” point.
He’s hungry nonstop. He’s always starving. He’s a bottomless pit that your wallet can’t afford. He can devour an entire pizza, and still want a snack.
At some point, though, you have a food cut-off point. You stare at the boy who just licked the last crumb in your cupboard, and say, “No more food until tomorrow. You’re done eating, dude.”
And then you try not to feel guilty, because you’re totally envisioning ice cream when he goes to bed.
8) You set an alarm to check pants pockets.
Legos, crayons, rocks, play doh, a button, a wadded up sticker, a dead bug. You name it, it’s there. Boys want to keep interesting things in their pockets, but they never remember to pull it out when they take off their pants and throw them in the laundry.
Following my son saying, “It’s my pretty rock from the park. It’s with the other rocks in my pocket,” I picked up my phone and told Siri to set a reminder that Tiny had rocks in his pockets.
Don’t question the reminder, just do it.
9) You pay $20 for haircuts … every three weeks.
You would think that hair salons would lower prices for boy haircuts, but it’s actually a profitable business. Girls can go six months to a year without a haircut. The premise of the girl haircut is length. For boys, though, it’s generally a manageable crew cut.
Not only that, but as a mom, you have to learn clipper sizings–which they don’t teach in parenting handbooks.
I know; I’ve looked.
10) You know that farts, burps, poop, pee, and boogers are hilarious to your son.
After the five hundred and fiftieth time of hearing, “I farted!” followed by countless belly laughs, you learn to just go with it. Farts are funny. Burps are hilarious. Boogers are hugely silly.
That’s just the way it is with boys.
My life has changed dramatically since becoming the mom of a son. Some days, the constant motion wears me down, and I wish my son would sit still and just be. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t argue the fact that a Brontosaurus is a made up dinosaur that was reclassified as a Brachiosaurus when they finally found the real skull. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t have to think up reasons why that train is not on the tracks.
But, boys are geared differently. They run, skip, hop, climb, bounce, wiggle, and tumble. They defy death on a near-constant basis, keeping us moms on our toes. They make us well-rounded from a different perspective.
And, what’s more: they keep our hair dresser employed.