Mum of boys Rachel Tompkins on surviving the sausage fest...
If you’re about to give birth to a boy, or you’re already lucky enough to be outnumbered by the male species, then you’d better swot up on superheroes, and read Rachel Tompkins’ guide on how to survive living in a sausage fest…
1. Always remain vigilant for wees
Just the sound of a nappy tab ripping open and I swear that a signal is transmitted into a baby boy's brain to make them shower you in wee once the nappy comes off.
Someone once told me to cover their bits with a wet wipe whilst you’re changing them and it seemed to do the trick; preventing hosepipe-esque drenchings when you’re scrabbling around for the Sudocrem. Don’t try to kid yourself that it’ll get better as they get older though. Put two boys into the bath and the effect seems to be the same – wee. And lots of it!
2. Never be shocked by the willy obsession (no matter what their age!)
I can’t remember how old boys are when they first notice their willies – usually in the bath. But once they do, they never stop noticing it. Or fiddling with it. Or stretching it. Or bending it. Or pulling it. You get the idea! It still seems to provide great entertainment at bath time where previous incidents in our household have included wrapping it round the bath-xylophone mallet, and the ‘how many foam letters can I fit onto it’ game. Oh, and that’s not forgetting the almost daily flinging it around as soon as the clothes come off (the boys that is – not their dad!)
3. Be prepared for superheroes
Growing up with just a sister meant that our house was filled with Care Bears, My Little Ponies, and dolls. I’ve always been adamant that my boys wouldn’t conform to gender stereotypes. They’ve got a toy buggy that they love pushing around, and are partial to playing with my jewellery and nail varnish. But despite my best efforts, our house looks like it’s been hit by a flash-mob of caped crusaders. Batman and Robin, are, I’ve discovered, just the tip of the superhero iceberg. Unbeknown to me until recently, there’s a seemingly never-ending world of make-believe men, and women, in tights. Upon a trip to the zoo in half-term I was amazed to discover that there was an animal called a Wolverine. Because until then I knew it as a yellow and blue Marvel member whose fancy dress costume omits a particularly nasty electric shock after being worn on a slide!
4. Sport will (soon) be your friend
Memories of unflattering navy PE knickers and cross-country runs in the rain meant I hated sport at school. Now though, there’s no escape. It’s not just Rugby Tots on a Sunday, the swimming lessons mid-week, or the constant kicking of a football around the garden, sport is everywhere in our household.
As a fellow mum of boys told me once, ‘boys are like dogs – they need a long walk and a run around every day’. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. They’ve got this seemingly endless energy to burn. So I’ve come to realise that the more sport they do the better. And as my rugby-mad other-half eagerly awaits the day the boys can all go to a game together, I can’t either. Because 80 minutes will be just enough time for a facial and a cocktail... not that I’ll need it of course!
5. The slugs, snails and puppy dogs tails are all true
Yes, my eldest loves poking around in the garden for slugs and snails, and he adores (small) dogs too. But unlike the negative portrayal of the male species in the age-old rhyme, my boys are ‘all things nice’ too. Thanks to them, my days are filled with endless kisses, cuddles, and laughter, and my life is bursting with the most amazing energy I’ve ever experienced. Never will I tire of running through the park as the wind blows us, or sporting mud-splattered clothes from puddle jumping. Of course, they fulfil the stereotypes – muddy, snotty and like two little hurricanes, but look past the stains and the snot, and you’ll see little people who love sitting on my lap for a cuddle, are confident enough to wear their ‘jewellery’ when they fancy it, and can be found dancing to Salt-N-Pepa’s ‘Push it’ (blame their crazy auntie Lou) when the mood takes them. So I’d like to think that whoever wrote the famous quote ‘A boy’s best friend is his mother’ was right, because I’d be honoured to call my boys mine.