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- 1 Apr 18

Life with boys is never dull, often messy and always manic. There is never a moment’s peace, there is often a flying Minion whizzing around your head and you are forever picking up their stinky socks. You never get to do girlie things like clothes shopping, you are often on a bike ride or being jumped on and you are always having to act as peacemaker when fights break out. In short, boys are FULL ON. But boys can also be super-sensitive and extremely loving…plus they give the best cuddles in the world.

Here’s a few things I’ve learnt about my boys (aged nearly four and six):

THEY SAY ‘IT’S NOT FAIR!’ A LOT
From having exactly the same amount of cereal in their bowl (they will count every shredded wheat) to having an equal serving of apple juice (again, they will measure), if one has more than the other then all hell breaks out. Everything – I repeat, everything – has to be fair.

THEY WANT TO WIN
Whether it’s who gets to the car first for the school run or who eats their chocolate egg in record time, they want to be the winner. And the one that comes in ‘second place’? Cue angry, frustrated tears and lots of stomping.

THEY FIGHT CONSTANTLY
The trampoline turns into a wrestling ring and board games usually end up with one throwing the dice in a strop at the other. They are always rolling around on the floor on top of each other, like lion cubs – and when the claws come out it’s time to intervene…

THEY LOVE STICKS
As soon as they have one in their hand, they feel empowered. When outdoors, they are always on the hunt for them and will hoard them in a pile outside the front door. But beware of getting rid of any because they will soon know.

THEY WANT TO PLAY BALL THE WHOLE TIME
So be prepared to brush up on your football skills – and to stand on the sideline for hours in the freezing, blistering cold when they start playing in matches.

THEY ARE LIKE PIGS
And will cover themselves in mud from head to toe if they get the chance.

THEY WILL OFTEN SAY ‘I’M HUNGRY!’
You will spend most of your time in the supermarket, stocking up on boy essentials such as bread, milk, bananas and biscuits.

THEY ARE BIG ON BUGS
Worms, spiders, woodlice, ants, ladybirds…they spend ages inspecting and prodding them.

THEY WILL CLIMB EVERYTHING
Nothing is off limits. One minute you’ll be walking through the park, the next you’ll be dangling dangerously from a tree trying to save your seriously stuck five-year-old.

THEY THINK FAKE POO IS HILARIOUS
As well as fake sick and any other Horrid-Henry-esque jokes.

THEY RUN EVERYWHERE
And you will run everywhere too, chasing after them as they go full pelt down busy pavements without a care in the world.

THEY ARE BLACK AND WHITE WITH THEIR FEELINGS
Unlike us girls, there is no emotional manipulation with boys – and I love them for that. Yes they fight and have tantrums, but it’s soon forgotten; nothing lingers for long.

THEY OFTEN SAY ‘I’M BORED!’
Getting them out of the house by 10am stops them from going stir crazy. No matter what the weather, fresh air and exercise usually does the trick.

THEY WILL BLOW YOUR MIND
‘Why is the sky blue?’, ‘Why does God never die?’ ‘What would happen if there was no moon?’ They will throw random questions at you each day – most of which you can’t answer. (Thank goodness for Google.)

THEY PRETEND NOT TO KNOW WHERE ANYTHING IS
‘Where are my socks?’ [In your drawer, where they’ve been all your life.] ‘Where’s my blue HotWheels car with the flames down the side?’ [In that basket where all your cars are kept.]

THEY WILL TRASH YOUR HOUSE
Your home will not truly be yours until they leave home, so you have to let go of those Farrow & Ball colour-scheme fantasies.

THEY WANT TO BE SUPER-COOL
And like to sport funky hair-dos (having spent ages looking in the mirror, moulding a spiky fringe with water) or dance around in Dad’s sunglasses. The kitchen doubles up as a disco during breakfast when they crank up the radio and show off their moves on the table.

THEY SECRETLY DO LIKE GIRLS
Even though they think it’s the done thing to say they don’t. I’ve caught my boys with my niece, dressing up as mermaids and playing ‘mummys and daddys’ – with my 3-year-old being rocked to sleep in a doll’s cot.

THEY NEVER TIRE OF LOO HUMOUR
‘One day a poo landed on my head and then fell on the floor!’ Cue ten minutes of giggles.

THEY HAVE THE CONCENTRATION SPAN OF A GNAT
So colouring for longer than five minutes is off the agenda.

THEY LIVE FOR SLEEPOVERS AND MIDNIGHT FEASTS
And will go on – and on and on – about having one.

THEY PEE EVERYWHERE
You spend what seems like a lifetime cleaning this off the floor because it’s so much more fun to aim for that than where they’re supposed to… And don’t expect them to flush the loo or put the seat down – it’s just too much effort.

THEY WILL MAKE YOUR HEART MELT IN A SECOND
You can’t beat that feeling when your boy looks you straight in the eyes and then gives you the biggest kiss ever or an enormous heart-buzzing squeeze.

Once you feel that love you’re hooked on them forever – stinky socks and all.

originally published in april 2016

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Fiona Pennell

Fiona Pennell lives in the Cotswolds with her husband and their two boys, Jack, 6, and Otto, 4. A former YOU magazine sub-editor, Fiona now spends her days being trampled on, going on slug hunts and dreaming of lie-ins. (Twitter: @fiona_pennell)

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