39. YELLING! So. Much. Yelling.

To get their point across, boys resort to yelling.  To communicate with siblings, yelling. Making rules for the backyard game of “wrestling match of trampoline doom?”  You guessed it.  Yelling.

This is possibly the number one battle around our house – the rule that gets broken the most.  With three boys ages 8, 6 and 6, we got a whole lot of yelling going on.  Boys yelling in the backyard.  Boys yelling in the front.  Boys in the back yard yelling to boys in the front.  I’m fairly certain our neighbors hate us.  As in, telling all their friends “We have the most UNBELIEVABLY LOUD set of kids next door who routinely ruin our evenings and frighten our pets” hatred of us.  Perhaps this would not be such a problem if we lived in the country.  Perhaps boys on isolated farms are allowed to yell all day, every day.  Who knows.  But in normal neighborhoods like ours with homes a normal distance apart, boys are probably appreciated about as much as neighbors with hobbies like roosters.  Or tinkering with jet engines. Continue reading

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28. The Incredible Hulk Move

I think we all like to watch the Incredible Hulk because secretly we all want to just go nuts and tear everything up.  At least once.  Boys get to do this quite frequently, but often they enjoy simply showing off like a crazed superhero — indicating to everyone nearby that although they may not be tearing everything apart at the moment, they certainly could do so if they had the notion.  This is a maneuver I’ve come to call “The Incredible Hulk,” and it’s way more awesome when boys break it out in public.  The more public there is around you, the way more awesome this move is. Continue reading

26. Throw Junk on the Roof

This flip flop was on my roof when I got home from work today.

Not surprising.

Boys are masters of throwing junk on the roof.  You name it, I’ve had to drag it down – from balls, bats and frisbees to shoes, socks and shirts.  Somehow they can make anything go up there, and think it’s just great fun. After tossing stuff on the roof, boys run around giggling at each other as if it’s the grandest new joke ever, even though it’s the fourteenth time they’ve done it so far since summer vacation started.

Thank God I can’t afford to put gutters on most of my house, because the one gutter that came installed on the screen porch is jammed up like the Hoover Dam every time it rains. Whiffle balls, nerf footballs, some jacked-up IronMan guy with only one arm left… IronMan made out of plastic, anyway – what did they expect was going to happen when boys got ahold of him?

I always end up on a ladder after a storm, digging down through four inches of water and leaf muck to dislodge whatever item boys have sabotaged me with this time. Did you know that one of those soft pink rubber balls that feels like a school eraser is the perfect size to plug up a downspout tighter than a cork in an 800-year-old bottle of wine? Nearly impossible to remove without serious power tools. And when you finally do get it free – watch out. Sixty gallons of gutter sludge goes rushing down those spouts in a hurry. I’ve almost been sucked in several times.

There was a three inch figure of Ernie from Sesame Street stranded in the middle of the roof in back of our house for like two years at one point. It was one of those spots that’s not quite slanted enough to really scare you, but still much too steep to consider risking to save Ernie.

Elmo? Maybe.

Ernie, meh.

I tried sending one of the boys up there several times, to no avail. You know, that method where you go “What, you think it’s funny, throwing junk on the roof? Fine, YOU go get it!” And then you hoist them up there all wiggling around while you’re shoving on their rear to push them up and over the eave while they’re screaming. It never works.

Finally I ventured out there last year after we’d gotten a humongous trampoline and stationed it right under Ernie’s rooftop position, where he was already faded on top until he was nearly white. Florida summers are brutal – I’m surprised he wasn’t melted into a little blob of Sesame Street grease by then.  I was already up there pulling down some rubber band-powered airplane and a foam boomerang or some such junk, so I figured I’d go for it. Made it out there, rescued Ernie, then decided to jump off the roof and land on the trampoline, with the entire family watching. My wife was NOT happy. She said it set a bad example… Pretty sure that if she’s right, you’ll be hearing about it later on this blog.

As for the flip flop in the picture?

Still up there.

We’re practically to winter at this point – that thing can stay stranded until spring. Or maybe until I shove a howling boy up there while I’m hanging Christmas lights.

24. Stand Up at the Table

For once, here’s one I have no idea about.  All I know is that at any given moment at the dinner table, one of my three boys is either standing up in his chair or crawling around on a covert mission under the table.  I couldn’t tell you why.  And I can’t make it stop.  The brothers are five, and already they’ve been reminded 1.3 million times that “we don’t stand up at the table!”  It doesn’t matter.  The next reminder usually results in them assuming the “still standing but only on my knees in my chair so I can lean over the whole table” position, which is the number one contributing factor to worldwide chocolate milk spills. Continue reading

18. The Waistband Wad

You know that awful feeling when you have too much shirt bunched up in one spot where you tucked it in?  Or even if the tiniest section of underwear is folded over at the seam, but it feels like you have a 2008 telephone book jammed between your rear and the office chair?  Yeah, that feeling means nothing to boys.  In fact, after assisting the brothers in getting ready for K5 today, I’m pretty sure they actually enjoy it.

We don’t usually help much as the brothers get dressed, other than telling them to stop building train tracks while they’re naked, or reminding them that the shoes go on after the pants, etc.  Continue reading

17. Outnumber the Girls

I wish I had better news for you, but it’s not good.  Boys are proliferating.  After a mere handful of weeks spent authoring this blog, I have endeavored to conduct expert research in order to bring some lucidity to these pages.  I feel like we’re just getting out of control here, what with all the climbing fences and national monuments, potty talk, rock throwing and other boy stuff.  I mean, just this morning I filled all three boys’ cereal bowls (ones with that nifty milk-sucker straw deal on them) and before I could even get back to the sink there was a three-way race going to see who could twirl their bowl by its straw the fastest.  Like some kind of crazy carnival ride, only this ride would have milk and raisin bran all slinging out everywhere.  Stuff like this.  Nobody should have to yell “NO SPINNING THE CEREAL BOWLS!!” that early in the morning.  Something’s gotta give. Continue reading

15. Button Pushing

I work in a television control room with video switchers, camera control units, and an audio board with about ten thousand buttons.  If the kids come in there and I turn around for more than ten seconds, my boys will have pushed about 9,843 of them.  Boys will push any button just to see what happens.  They’ll pull levers and flip switches.  They are capable of evacuating entire buildings of people with the single press of a button.  With three boys, I am petrified of those red fire alarm pull switches in our church.  Who thought it would be smart to put those things 35 inches off the floor?  They’re just dangling there like a flashing neon “fun” sign for boys.  Might as well have a tootsie roll stuck to each handle. Continue reading

13. Weaponize Anything

Last week, as I watched Nicholas (5) chase a screaming Caitlin (2) in circles around the kitchen table while firing laser beams at her from half a baked potato, I realized – there is no stopping the weaponry of boys.  They will truly fight you to the bitter end with any item.  If a battle is going down, boys will fight it with whatever is on hand.  Even if they are in the process of eating their weapon while they fight.  Boys will keep on firing.

Of course we’re all familiar with the standard issue weapons all boys employ, like sticks and rocks, but I’m talking about crazy creative weapons here.  Stuff that makes you yell ‘dad phrases’ that immediately spawn a discussion inside your head about “how the heck did I get to the point in my life where I just had to yell ‘STOP SHOOTING YOUR SISTER WITH YOUR BAKED POTATO!!’ and am I still sane?”  Those kinds of weapons.  Therefore I present to you a few of the most outstanding boy/weaponry scenarios I’ve found myself enduring, and the “Insane Dad Phrase” uttered thereafter that cause me to question my mental health: Continue reading

12. The Clench

One of my favorite activities is to ask my boys to show off their muscles.  Because obviously there have been gigantic improvements in their muscles since the last time I asked for a show, four days ago.  Boys do not know how to flex muscles.  Instead, they do the clench.

Ask a boy to flex, and you’ll see him clench every fiber available in his being at the same instant.  During the clench boys also grunt loudly, grind their teeth, and turn bright red from lack of breathing.  All boys believe that the harder they clench, the louder they groan, and the redder their face gets – the bigger their muscles grow.  They also contort their fists and arms into awesome crooked shapes that look nothing like a body builder, but a lot like that one-legged crane move by the Karate Kid. Continue reading

11. Throwin’ Rocks

Holy cow.  For the sake of all that is noble and kind, can somebody please tell me WHAT IN THE WORLD IS UP WITH ALL OF THE ROCK THROWING???!!!

I am convinced without a shred of doubt that, left to their own devices beside one of those river banks with all the smooth stones piled everywhere, my three boys would throw rocks indefinitely.  They would throw rocks into the water until they dammed up the entire river like a bunch of beavers, creating a giant pond.  And then they would throw rocks in the giant pond.  They would never stop, because for boys nothing beats throwing rocks in the water. Continue reading