When boys get together: What to expect

We recently took a trip to visit with family, where four other little boys – my nephews – would be. My daughter pretty much ignored the army of mini-men to live in her own little world. My 5-year-old son – no stranger to spending an extended amount of time around other children – morphed into something … weird.

I have seen my son in one-on-one situations with little boys, and I have seen him around co-ed classmates. None of that compares to what he became when he was with his cousins, all of whom are right around his age.

I learned from this weekend that when little boys get together, you can count on every one of the following to happen:

1. They will wrestle.

My kids get into the occasional shoving match, but it usually ends after just a few seconds. When my son and my nephews were together, it was a non-stop cage match that would have gone to the death had an adult not intervened. I was in amazement at how much testosterone already pumps through their skinny, not-at-all-muscular bodies. It was as if they had been locked in solitary confinement for years and escaped, tracked down their captors and sought their revenge through jumping onto each others’ skulls and delivering punches that probably could have knocked me out. Also, this happened every few hours.

2. They will get vulgar.

The potty language – as in actual words related to the potty – is simply out of control. What is a little boy’s obsession with the bathroom and the body functions that happen in there? They sing songs about it, they call each other names using those words, they whip out body parts to, I don’t know, compare or something.

3. No, like, really vulgar.

If there is a slightly older boy in the pack, say, an 8-year-old running around with those 5- and 6-year-olds, he might find the newspaper left on the kitchen counter, locate a picture of a man and draw a set of heaving breasts on him. The kids will all find this hilarious and insist that everyone in the newspaper now get their own pair of nipples, and every other word out of the boys’ mouths will be “boobies.”

4. They become invincible.

I know they all have common sense. These are good kids. These are kids who ordinarily would not try to jump from a rickety rocking chair onto a stone fireplace. However, because other little boys are around, they have to go for it, right?

5. They will inevitably cry.

Five-year-olds cannot play daredevil without needing stiches, a cast, an icepack or, at the very least, a hug and kiss from mom.

6. They will be surprisingly sweet.

Just when you thought you had heard the last “poop” you can tolerate without going insane, one of the little boys will, unprovoked, walk over to your 2-year-old daughter and help her reach that toy she wanted. Then he will pat her on the head and return to his game. I think little boys know that is the way to hit the “reset” button on a parent who has all but decided that little boys are gross and rough and have engines that just don’t stop.

7. They will crash and burn.

Nothing wears out my son like spending a full day with his cousins. Unfortunately, he is still at that age where he runs until his legs simply won’t work. When he is finally reduced to a sweaty pile on the floor, he realizes how exhausted he is and goes into instant meltdown. I finagle some food into his mouth, put him in his PJs and sneak him into bed before the older kids can spark his second wind.

Little boys are a handful. They test your patience and your fitness level, your tolerance for the word “butt” and your knowledge of where the closest emergency room is. But getting to look at a content, fast asleep little man in his bed at the end of the day makes it all worth it.

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