I am finally a Grandfather. Put me in coach – I have been training for this all my life.
We were blessed with our first grandchild this week, thanks to my amazing daughter Lauren and equally amazing son-in-law Mark. It goes without saying that little Benjamin is the most handsome, amazing, athletic, intelligent, kind, caring, compassionate human ever born. He will likely grow up to to be famous. Maybe a brain surgeon, a movie star or leader of the free world. Of that there is no question. Before that can happen though, there are things he must experience as a right of passage.
To my dear sweet daughter: There are things you need to prepare yourself for. The evolution into manhood has many challenges that you won’t always understand. These are normal. Don’t be alarmed. You are very lucky to have me, to teach and guide this wonderful, amazing little man. Things only a grandfather can share. I bring a lot of “little boy experience” after all.
First off, little boys are fascinated by their willy. They will compare it to others. They will constantly touch it, hold it, pull it, spray things with it, pee on you with it, stress over it and eventually be confused by it. Much later, it will control all strategic thinking and decision making. This is a well known fact and causes no end of consternation for much of a boys life. Boys may appear distracted or inattentive, but they are simply weighing 2 competing opinions.
Little boys must learn how to pee outside. This is a rule and important male ritual, a birthright, a time honoured tradition. Girls don’t pee outside. They can’t possibly understand. In fact there are many things girls can’t do that boys MUST learn.
Like, how to write your girlfriend’s name in the snow. It is much easier if they have a short name. It can affect your dating choices. Dotting an “i” or crossing a “t” can be sloppy business and makes it impossible to start over. This is our first foray into cursive writing.
Like, how to have a pee sword fight. He who pees longest and furthest wins. End of story.
Like, how to hit the hole in the toilet. To the un-initiated, it would seem to be an easy task – after all it’s a big hole, but it is more difficult than it looks. One can get easily distracted. For instance, an unexpected itch or noise may cause you to turn ever so slightly – and boom, you have peed on the seat and/or on the floor. This misfire does not automatically mean that we will acknowledge it. Getting pee on your hands is icky. Little boys soon learn that if you don’t acknowledge it, it didn’t happen.
Further, when confronted, it is common knowledge among little boys that if you simply say “I love you mommy”, all is forgiven. I once peed in the wastepaper basket BESIDE the toilet. My mom would not have found it for a few days, but the basket was made of wicker. Apparently wicker leaks. “I love you mommy.”
Like, lifting the seat. No little boy will consistently do this so don’t waste your breath. Best approach is to try to get him to wipe the seat after peeing. Still, little boys have a lot on their mind and may forget. There is much to remember after all, like pulling up their underpants and/or the zipper. Oh, and washing your hands afterward is at best a suggestion. Did I mention we have a lot on our mind? Moms, rather than get frustrated, do yourself a favour and before you wee, make sure the seat is down – the water runs cold and deep. It is after all, as much your responsibility to ensure the seat is down, as it is ours to make sure we lift it. Sharing responsibility is a good thing.
While not as common, pooping outside is a trial and error thing. When you are a little boy, a poop can be a sudden and traumatic event, as it can come on rather unexpectedly. Sometimes it starts as a fart and the next thing you know you are walking bow legged. Thus the term shart (part fart and part sh*t). When this happens any privacy will do, as the important thing is to hide the evidence. A nearby tree or shrubs will sometimes do for cover. Look both ways, drop your pants and deposit the load. Cover with leaves and move on like nothing happened. Little boy strategic minds develop quickly – usually out of self preservation.
I was once swimming with buddies in a favourite spot in the Otter Creek. A friend that will remain anonymous, declared he wanted to undertake a scientific experiment. Little boys are know for their scientific experiments! “What if I were to swim out into the deeper water, take off my trunks and poop in the water. Do you think it would float?” Proven scientific fact – It did float. Mission accomplished. Needless to say, the party was over.
Little boys are competitive by nature. EVERYTHING is a competition. How far can you pee? I can pee farther. I bet you can’t pee on that electric fence. I dare you! Oh, the “dare”!! That is a big one. You can’t be called chicken, or a wuss. “I dare you to pee on that fence”. Against all better judgement you know it is not a good idea, but you can’t let your friends think you are weak. This is a lesson you are only taught once. If you do it twice, you are just an idiot and will never become famous or a world leader.
If you aren’t bleeding, you aren’t trying hard enough. I have been pushed off a combine and fell on my head 10 feet below (that might explain a lot). I almost lost an eye in a sword fight with sticks (fortunately not pee). Almost cut my thumb off on a broken pop bottle. I was a human torch, after playing with matches and catching my snow suit on fire. I fell off my bike taking a corner too tight and could not pee for a week. My friend put a fish hook through his cheek – that was fun.
And then there are the fist fights. Unlike girls who can hold a grudge forever, boys are very forgiving. They will get in a fist fight, have a bloody nose and a black eye and a few minutes later are sharing an ice cream cone.
Don’t stress moms. Cuts and bruises heal. Experiences last forever and shape decision making skills. Don’t wrap your little boy in bubble wrap.
Little boys LOVE to fart. They love the sound. They love the smell. They love the word. They love the reaction it causes. The more somber the occasion, the more likely they are to fart – the noisier and the smellier the better. They will measure the duration and they will inevitably try to light a fart. They will compare what it sounds like to fart on a wooden chair, into a bucket, in someone’s face, under the covers and on their sister’s cereal. Some little boys will never grow out of this fascination. Learn to embrace it.
Burping is another well defined skill that a little boy must develop. Sometimes a burp or a sneeze can simultaneously cause a fart, which in turn can cause some panic, resulting in the need for cover. However, a burp is an excellent way to traumatize your mom. The more dignified the company, the more likely a well crafted burp is likely to surface. 2 or more little boys together is likely to result in no end to the creativeness. How long can you burp? How many letters of the alphabet can you recite before your burp runs out? A champion belcher will always impress a pretty girl. Everyone knows that.
In general, any noise generated from the body is to be explored and exploited.
Little boys are not known for thinking about consequences. Logic kicks in way later – in your 50s – sometimes much later. In the meantime, don’t expect much from us. And don’t expect us to mature intellectually beyond about 25. The point is, we may look mature physically. We may even trick you into thinking we are suave and debonaire. But believe me, inside that head, we are immature.
Mothers, don’t despair. You can’t prevent any of this and it doesn’t make you a bad mother. It is all perfectly normal. Trying to understand us is a fools errand. Take solace in the fact that boys will eventually become men and will get better at controlling these urges. Every man has a little boy inside him, still secretly wanting to write your name in the snow.