Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Thankful Tuesdays: The thing about boys

These days, our conversations with strangers or acquaintances usually run along the line of a few commonly asked questions, in this order:
1. You have three kids?
2. Is your baby a girl? (For some reason, all three of our boys are usually mistaken as girls when they were babies. And of course, we do correct them.)
3. Oh, you have THREE BOYS? (This is usually followed by a moment of silent horror.)
4. Wow, how do you cope? or many a time "So are you going to try for a girl?"

Yes, I get it, daughters are lovely to have. Everyone extols to us the benefits of little girls: they are conscientious, they are affectionate, they show care and concern, the older ones take care of their siblings very well. Mummies get to have lots of fun dressing their little girls up, they get to dress matchy-matchy with them. You get to scrap in pink and pastels, and can stick on a million and one Prima flowers on your layout featuring your daughter, and it would be just perfect. 

But we have boys. Three of them. So we are well-versed in the challenges of boyhood, which have been featured in many a blog post by witty mamas (for example, this one). Boys are fascinated by gross things and are delighted with loud farts and burps. They stick their boogers on the wall and think its perfectly fine. You are always wiping or washing or putting down toilet seats if you live with them. They are rowdy, they can't sit still, they are always getting into one scrape or another. Their idea of fun is jumping off the bunk bed or destroying something, basically anything that gives mama a heart attack. So yes, boys can be challenging, in ways that girls are not. 

But can I just say this? Boys and girls are wired differently, and while we lament about our boys fidgeting and struggling with sitting still during lessons, they have their good points too. Here's a few things we love about them:

:: That beautiful juxtaposition of tough and tender: Boys can be incredibly sweet, and it makes it all the sweeter when thoughtful gestures come from these little men who are pretty rough around the edges. Mamas to little boys, you should know how wonderfully snuggly boys can be, and how much they need hugs and kisses when they are little. Adolescence does bring about raging hormones, but some fragment of that sweetness does remain: I remember how thoughtful some of my ex-students (who were fifteen or sixteen year olds that towered over me even when I was in heels) could be, helping me to carry things, and writing cards for Teachers' Day.

:: They have a special place for Mama in their hearts: Words can't really describe this, but I think boys have this special relationship with their mothers. It's just like that father-daughter relationship. 

:: Handling emotions and relationships becomes more straightforward: Boys may face difficulties controlling their emotions. However, things are usually simpler for them, as they tend to take things at face-value, and say things as they are. Girls are a little more complicated.

:: All that incredible amount of energy can be channeled for good: They are usually bouncing off the walls, but if directed towards their talents or interests, boys can harness their energy in creative and productive ways. They can use their strength to work, to build, to conquer.

:: They are usually blessed with analytical minds: I love how they think, how they are obsessed with construction and destruction, I love how they try to solve problems, and how they like numbers and maps and tools. 

:: You get to save money on clothes and wardrobe space, and save on dressing up time: Girls have all manner of clothes. Then there are the accessories. And the shoes. And those matching tights. And.. the list goes on. Boys? It's either shorts, or pants. And T-shirts, singlets, or shirts. Dressing them is pretty easy (unless you have a toddler in his "I must wear my rattiest T-shirt to church" mood), so usually that means getting them out of the house is a slightly faster affair. And footwear? Just a pair of shoes and pair of sandals for each, which leaves more room in the shoe cupboard for Mama's!

:: Diaper-changing and toilet training is a lot easier: My mum always remarked that it was much easier to change baby boys, and it is true, once you learn how to block projectile pee! And if the boys are out and about in nature, and there is no toilet for miles, a bush or a plastic bag would easily do the job. 

So please, if you ever meet us and our three very noisy boys... don't give us a look of pity. Yes, we can sound a little like a circus on the loose, but life with boys is also filled with lots of joy. I thank God for blessing us with these three very different boys!

P/S: So back to the question everyone asks: will we be trying for a girl? I'd say we're open to #4 in the future, and we will be thankful if God blesses us, be it a girl or a boy!

PP/S: A disclaimer before I get any hate mail from mothers of girls: This post was not meant to put down girls, or suggest that they are any less than boys. Boys and girls are just different, and have their strengths and weaknesses. I am just writing this simply because I feel that while we are quick to extol the great points of having girls, we tend to poke fun at the boys for being who they are.

PPP/S: Ok, I'm being long-winded today. But if you've enjoyed reading our posts, we'd love for you to cast a vote for Mum in the Making for the Singapore Blog Awards, under the Family Blog category. You can vote here. Thanks very much!

Mum in the Making


  1. Thanks for sharing this Jus! I agree with all the points, well-said. Especially about boys having a special relationship with their mums - I think that is really true. And I do appreciate how direct I can be with them, and vice versa. It makes negotiating their squabbles easier for now, and I hope it means the teenage years will be less full of second-guesses! I also get asked ALL THE TIME if we are trying for a girl. And the answer is no, we are happy with two. But if God does bless us with another child, I will truly be happy, whether it's a boy or girl. :)

  2. Well said, Jus. I hear you on the first point. My boys bounce off the walls all the time but they can be very sensitive too. I love that. Personally, I think I like having boys because I am wired a bit like one too. To add on to your list, I think fathers tend to have a special connection to boys too (something that Mama is not really part of) - they play ball games, read comics, discuss superheroes and rough and tumble together all the time! ;)

    PS. If I had a fourth, I would be ok with a boy but I would love a girl too because I want the boys to learn how to treat a girl/their sister well :)

  3. I love my boys to bits, just as they are, and cannot imagine exchanging any one of them for a baby girl, even if a trade-off is possible. Like oliomok, I think it is probably partly because I am not girly to begin with and have always enjoyed hanging out with the boys when I was a child. My mum has babysat so many baby boys, one after another, so we were used to growing up with little noisy active boys around! And I love how my eldest now digs science, non-fiction, maps, geography and architecture - cos' these are my very interests too! But hb does think there is a bit too much testerone around the house, and hopes that our Eva will finally make her appearance, God-willing. (See, we even have a name for her already!) Although, I would be just as happy to think of another boy's name.

  4. I'm glad to see that toilet training and diaper changing is easier for boys! Having grow up with girls, I've zero experience with boys. Now that number 2 is boy, I'm kind of worried on how I should care for him, especially in terms of diaper changing and toilet training. :P

  5. Awww.. such a sweet post. I always wonder how it will be like to be a Mama of boys, but well, I don't even have one right now and for all we know, I might end up never knowing how it feels so I really love reading posts like this! =) I do know girls and boys are wired differently but yet they just bond with Mama and show their love in different ways. It's so heartwarming to know you have three different boys and that you are enjoying every bit of your time with them! =) You rock, Jus! And oh, congrats on making it as a finalist, I think your awesome blog totally deserves it, all the best!

  6. I've a girl and boy, and I've to agree, most times, the boy is more tendering sweet than the girl! Oh yes, I used to keep disposable bottles for long road trips to answer his nature call. Easy solution.

    1. Enjoyed your posts. I am very blessed to have twins; one boy and one girl. One shot and done with. Totally understand where you're coming from. It's not important whether your children are boys or girls. The fact is that you're blessed. Gone through all the boy stuff and girl stuff; good and bad. It seemed like it was only yesterday that we brought them home from the hospital. Now mine are going off to university this coming September and they definitely will be greatly missed! But truthfully speaking, I can't wait to do things I kept putting off in the past or didn't have time for. If I had to choose whether or not I would have children again, I would do it all over again but maybe lighten up a bit the second time round. Enjoy your time with each child; they grow up fast!

  7. Haha Jus. Circus on the loose - wait, are you describing my family?

    Um, how shall I say this.... I have two very rowdy and un-girly girls! I've grown to realise that my girls are often the loudest ones in most groups we're in (really, Poppy is an NDP Parade Commander in the making). Remember how Poppy was screaming at J1 when they first met? Like "Come J, come and play! Look there! Let's go there!" and he was a bit scared of her I think! Haha. Oops.

    Oh and toilet seats? They are almost always down in this house :D

  8. Love what you said. I'm gonna be mama to 2 boys and already I can see horrified faces when I'm being asked (not like they're the ones having it). I'm excited nonetheless because there's just something about having boys as there is about having boys+girls, all girls. All kids are blessings!



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