By Kristin van Ogtrop
Updated January 22, 2015
Portrait of grinning blonde boy with painted-on thick black mustache
Credit: Stephanie Rausser

Random observations from a mother of three boys who grew up with two sisters, and so was wholly unprepared.

1. Boys are wild animals. Just watch any nature documentary footage of lion cubs wrestling, and imagine human bodies instead of cat bodies. Really, there’s very little difference.

2. They never get tired of having their hands down their pants; they just eventually grow old enough to know there is a time and a place for that.

3. When you ask any boy over the age of seven for a hug, he will give you that weird, unsatisfying, half-shoulder, barely-touching hug thing that they teach you in boy school.

4. For a five-year-old boy, there is no more wonderful single word than “poop.” (Although “poo poo stinky fart” is funnier.)

5. At a certain age—13, give or take—boys send out a telepathic signal that they will Simply Refuse to Answer Certain Questions Where Girls Are Concerned.

6. A boy will never tell you that you look fat in those pants, or that you are too old to wear skinny jeans, or that your hair is embarrassing him. And you are extremely grateful for that.

7. No matter which ninth grade girl Mom thinks is incredibly, exotically beautiful, teenage son will always prefer the cute, popular girl Mom thinks looks sort of…boring.

8. Winter coats are for skiing or giant dorks, so don’t even try to make him wear one.

9. MOM is a very easy word to learn to write when you are in kindergarten, which is why you will be touched by all the little scraps of paper that say MOM in various rooms throughout the house.

10. If you ask a ninth grade boy why he did not hand in his science homework, he may very well say “I don’t know.” And he really means it. Even if it’s an answer that you cannot process.

11. Some younger boys are so completely uninterested in girls that they can’t even tell you the names of the girls in their kindergarten class. Just think of all the time you wasted being so completely boy crazy—turns out they didn’t even notice you until years later.

And finally…

12. Sometimes, if you are very, very lucky and listening very, very closely, a little boy will say, apropos of nothing, “You are a queen and a princess and I love you.” Which makes all the wild animal behavior completely worth it.