All I knew before having boys could be summed up in one word: NOTHING. 

Unaware of just how hardwired little boys are for epic household disasters and bodily maladies, all of which are fueled by a seemingly never-empty tank of childhood gas (the fart kind too), I naively assumed it would be all snips and snails and puppy dog tails. Snips and snails and puppy dog tails? What the hell does that even mean? It’s more like bruises and farts and Nerf Gun darts. Why didn’t anyone tell me?

1 | Evidently, getting hit in their private parts really, REALLY hurts.

All those cheap shots to a boy’s nether regions I always saw on TV – the ones that brought grown men to their knees – are actually a thing. Protect the “house” at all costs.

2 | How many different names for penis are there? More than you can imagine.

Wanker, wiener, dingie, peter, twig and berries (just to name a few) are all now part of my personal anatomy vocabulary. Lucky me.

3 | Everything becomes a weapon.

EVERYTHING. Spatulas, hair brushes, nine irons, mops. If something can be used as a weapon to inflict pain on their brother, they will figure out a way to use it as such.

4 | “Clean” has a whole new meaning.

So does dirty. And sometimes, they are the exact same thing. What you once considered borderline filthy is now acceptably clean. Boys lower cleanliness standards. Big time.

5 | They like things resting in their hands. Think TV remote. And their own genitals.

One hand resting down their pants, the other flipping through channels equals the male version of true bliss.

6 | They don’t require expensive toys.

A $100 Lego set entertains for two hours. A $5 basketball entertains for a decade.

7 | They will wear and lose about 1,000 pairs of socks during childhood.

Just go ahead and buy them by the case.

8 | The world is their bathroom.

And honestly, thank God for that. No searching for bathrooms when a tree is readily available.

9 | You will need serious toilet plunging skills.

And the ability to use a plumbing snake and auger. Make friends with your local hardware store manager, he’ll be a lifesaver.

10 | Helmets. They need them. All the time.

Don’t even think for one second about sending them off on anything with tires or wheels without protecting their noggin. EVER.

11 | Some things are just plain innate.

Like wanting to kick all the toys. One day they’re  lovingly playing with a baby doll and the next they’re using the same doll as a soccer ball. Don’t look at me, I never once modeled that behavior.

12 | Think of the most expensive and indestructible piece of furniture you own.

Now picture it ripped, cracked, and completely busted up. Two words : Bean bags.

13 | Use plastic cups and dishes until they’re teenagers.

And then just go ahead and transition right into paper plates. Trust me on this. Lock up your good china pronto.

14 | Puberty happens overnight.

Vienna Boys Choir voice one day, Pavarotti the next. Facial skin as soft as a baby’s bum at bedtime, full on 5 o’clock shadow the next morning. Dollar Shave Club people. No joke.

15 | Given enough unsupervised time everything in your garage will end up in a tree.

An obsession with heaving sporting goods high into a tree to see if they will stay there is beyond me.

16 | Chicken wings can happily be eaten at every single meal.

Deep fry it and add hot sauce and voila…breakfast, lunch, and dinner is served.

17 | They only have two speeds. Just TWO.

FULL THROTTLE and OFF. From sunrise until they literally PASS OUT at night, it’s 100 MPH.

18 | You’re gonna need a lot of butterfly bandages.

And liquid stitches. And a separate savings account for ER co-pays.

19 | You can never have too much bleach.

Whoever thought it was a good idea to make all Little League infields out of dark red clay needs to be hung out to dry in left field.

20 | Cheap clothes won’t make it through one season.

You get what you pay for when it comes to discount store boy clothes. If you want to have any hope that they stay decent enough to be handed down, you’re gonna have to pay higher prices and choose quality over thriftiness.

Above all, they truly, madly, and deeply love their mamas. No matter what they destroy, inhale, or crap on, I wouldn’t change raising boys for anything in this world. 

Well, maybe someone to go get pink pedicures with, but I can wait for granddaughters to do that.