On Raising Boys and Other Feral Things

I was sitting at my desk the other night, when Kieran emerged from the bathroom. He was nekkid from the waist down, clutching his nighttime pull-up and his polar bear fleece pajama pants. Pretty routine for this boy; if I had a dime for every time I found him without pants lately, I could fund his college education. I started to help him put his bottoms back on when I saw his left foot was splattered with liquid.

My mind pressed rewind.

One minute earlier a tinkling sound had come from the bathroom. I had ignored it, thinking he was using the potty. But the discovery of the wet foot led to a wet leg which led to a scurry to the bathroom where I found an empty potty.

"Kieran! Did you go pee-pee?" I tried to keep the terror from my voice.

"Yep!" he answered proudly. "In der."

And he pointed to the shower.

My shower.

Sure enough, there was a splatter of liquid gold still trickling to the drain.

"Buddy! What did you go potty in the shower instead of the toilet?" I asked, completely befuddled.

"I dun know," he shrugged.

Boys. They are feral things, wild creatures we welcome into our hearts only to find pee in the shower and exactly zero underwear in the wash. (Because it's too much work to go get a clean pair after the shower, Mom.)

I am confused by them but equally delighted. My three-year-old Kieran wipes his snotty nose on my shirt sleeve and then says, "I wuv you so much, mama" and hugs my neck hard. My 10-year-old Connor has to be reminded every day to brush his teeth, every day, as if it's a new task we've suddenly given him instead of a twice daily routine he's been doing since he was three. But he also shows me the new comic strip he's drowning and lays his head on my lap each night before bed with a quiet, "Will you pray for me, Mom?"

I can't predict them, and Lord knows I don't understand their native ways. (Why is burping so funny?)

But I love their otherness, and I can't imagine my life without their hugs, their adoration and their boy grunts and giggles.

Even if it means there's occasionally some pee in the shower. At least it's not on the front rug, right?

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