Anyone remember that episode of Seinfeld with the B.O. car? Now you know what my face looked like.
Oh, these B.'s left the car, but their O. sure stayed! I didn't have to do too much detective work to figure out that it was my 13-year-old son and a few of his closest and stinkiest friends in that car. Add to it that my husband didn't realize that the rear air conditioner has a separate temperature gauge, so he was actually cooking them when they asked for more air. Nice.
Which brings me back to the subject of boys in general. I don't understand them, which could pose a problem, because I have a husband and four sons. You see, I grew up with five sisters and only one brother, who wisely kept his boy habits to himself. Having this husband and sons has opened up an entirely different world to me, and sometimes it smells pretty bad. Here is a partial list of what my boys have taught me:
Boys are delightfully wonderful and loving and need their moms, until the moment they don't. This moment varies, but is unilaterally present by the age of 10, and it is the precise moment when they start to stink. I am currently in possession of two such sons.
Changing underwear and/or socks is only necessary about once a week at the most, regardless of the number of showers taken.
30-second showers are perfectly acceptable.
Toothbrushes are completely unnecessary on sleepovers (but just bring one anyway to humor Mom).
Extra changes of clothes are also completely unnecessary on Boy Scout campouts.
Scout shirts are brown for a reason.
Fire is cool. Heh heh, heh heh.
Pajamas may consist of any pair of softish shorts or pants and the T-shirt worn during that day.
Kleenex is completely unnecessary, as boogers are self-adhesive on any surface. They also make lovely bedroom and bathroom wall art.
Grunting is a perfectly acceptable communication style.
Anything showing on a rectangular screen demands attention.
Bodily functions are always funny. Always.
Each and every school paper needs to be crumpled in at least one corner, if not completely obliterated. "Um, I need this paper signed, Mom. It was due yesterday."
Lots of things have the ability to disappear into thin air.
11 through 13-year-old boys are emotionally identical to 14-year-old girls.
If asked to practice piano/do dishes/sweep the floor, it is best to act as horrified as possible, conveying the absolute truth that life is unfair. When that fails, feign incompetence. Continue to use these methods, even when they don't work. Because they never do.
Do not enter a boys' room with a closed door without a gas mask.
Putting things up one's nose is quite fun, even when 10 years old. We recommend scotch tape and pomegranate seeds.
Any glove can be used to become Anakin Skywalker or Michael Jackson.
Any cloak/cape can transform a child into Harry Potter, bad Anakin or Darth Maul.
Every stick is a sword.
Rocks are meant to be thrown.
Girls smell gross--"like...GIRL!" Eww.
Arms are completely unnecessary for hugs.
Some body parts are more fascinating than others.
It is acceptable to fall asleep with both hands tucked into one's underwear.
After all of these lessons, I am still holding out hope that somewhere, deep inside, they will remember what I've taught them about basic hygiene and communication. My friend would always tell me that my current 10-year-old will make a great adult (I'll write more about him sometime. He's spicy). Judging from what my mother-in-law tells me about her oldest son who grew up to be my husband, it is unfair to judge a man by his teenage years. I'm holding out hope for my sons. After all, my husband smells pretty good now.