If something is broken around here I know that one of the boys did it. I don't even have to ask. The girls would never do such a thing. If they break something, they tell me. If the boys break something I discover it piece by piece.
They also build things. Boys are like carpenter ants. They feed on protein and sugar and then destroy things in the house in order to build nests that are otherwise known as forts.
Another thing boys do is give parents heart attacks. Last week my four-year-old son ran away. But this time it was different. He meant to run away. In the past if the door was left open, he'd run out and down the street willy-nilly like a dog on the loose. You know the kind. You spoil the mutts, give them treats and then the door opens and they run off like they don't know you from the dog catcher. Some dogs just trot around the yard and then go right back into the house. Others run for it and up until last week so did my son.
This time, though, it was deliberate; he had a plan. And two hair-graying hours later, after a big ta-doo that involved police and concerned neighbors searching, he was finally home and we were finally de-stressed enough to talk about it.
"Why did you run away?"
"Because I don't want to live here anymore."
"Why? Why don't you want to live here anymore?"
"Because it's dangerous."
And then we slowly came to understand that this poor little kiddo was dealing with his older sister's illness in the best way he knew how. He saw an older sister lose the ability to walk, run and play, to eat and drink and he was scared to death it would happen to him…unless he ran away.
You bet we loved and hugged him up. Thankful that this latest escapade only aged us twenty years and we still had our youngest boy. We spoiled him with treats and attention. The whole family did.
And we thought all was well until the next morning when he said to his father: "Dad, I'm done with my life."
"What?" Immediately my husband conjured a bazillion reasons for this statement. He wondered if there more trouble on this little one's mind.
"I'm all done with my life. I don't want any more." And he showed my husband his empty cereal bowl. He didn't want any more Life cereal.
See? I told you boys give parents heart attacks.
I had to call my sister, mother of two delightful daughters and one boy nicknamed "Wheels." I knew she'd understand.