“Do you want to flip for it?”
“Over there. Look. Do you want to flip for it?”
It’s a game that Mister Husband likes to play when we’re out and about as a family and he spots another clan with three lads, roughly the same age as ours. He’ll ask if I want to flip a coin to see which of us goes over to enquire of the other mammy and daddy are they going to go for the girl. Naturally enough we never do. Chances are they’re as sick of the question and its variations as we are. Also that game is not as much fun as the “what’ll we buy when we win the lotto” one.
I realise people don’t mean any harm and perhaps I’m overly sensitive to the interest others have in our brood but I’ve stockpiled a few retorts for the poor unfortunate who meets me on a bad day. Apologies to that person in advance. They range from “the other two are at home” to “some people are just lucky.” I’m toying with the idea of telling people we put a dress on the youngest at the weekends. I was once asked when I was out and about sans Mister Husband, were they all mine.
It makes me wonder how my own parents must have coped and dealt with similar remarks about 6 daughters and one son.
So, yeah, we have three boys. There was once a time when children didn’t feature in my future, never mind having three boys. C’est la vie. And a very good vie it is and all.
A good day starts at about 7am. I like to think I’m the type of person, that when her feet hit the floor in the morning, the devil goes, aw, shite, she’s up. Alas the lads are not of this opinion, so I don’t fancy my chances with the devil. I’m usually woken by the eldest, standing at the side of our bed and kissing me gently on the nose. When he’s sure I’m awake, he’ll creep in beside me for a cuddle. A lovely way to wake up. When I lift our second son out of his cot, he stands on the side for a moment or two with his arms wrapped around me and his face buried in my neck. The baby is only 7 months old and due to the ignorance of his age, is full of unconditional love for his mammy.
This familial bliss lasts for approximately ten minutes before all the shouting and roaring starts. Mine. A mad race ensues with three sets of small persons’ clothes to be donned. I get dressed in between brushing my teeth and washing my face. The deodorant ball barely touches my underarm as my other hand smears a bit of moisturiser onto my face.
We all traipse downstairs to fill bowls with Rice Krispies or Cheerios. I slap on a bit of slap while the lads chow down. There might be a wash to take out of the machine but there’s usually always one to be put into it. Bags are packed for creche, more shouts to turn off the telly, a headlock may have to be employed to get a coat put on, another double nappy change before we leave the house, an errant child or two chased down and cornered before bundling into the car, A quick kiss from Mister Husband before he goes his way and we go ours, a sip of coffee from my travel mug followed by a sneaky bite of toast before the toddler sees it. I turn the key in the ignition and the day has officially begun.
It’s exhausting, it’s frustrating, it’s manic. It’s lonely. There are tears, there is laughter, there are hugs. We fight, we make up. Every day. Things are broken and I fear the day my heart will be. I dread the day one of theirs will be.
Our lads are loud, boisterous, messy, spontaneous and rude. Ingeniously imaginative, inquisitive and funny. They are equally gentle and endlessly affectionate. The oldest will, unprompted, reach over to stroke my cheek and tell me he loves me or that he is going to “mind” me. I am often told that I am a “purdy lady” and he will, on a daily basis, reach up with outstretched arms to give me a kiss. The next lad ( I refuse to label him the middle child) will hurl himself at my legs and hug them hard whilst crooning “mama” and the greeting I get from both of them when I pick them up from crèche brings tears to my eyes. But they can also be totally oblivious to my distress at times. They rarely walk, but run everywhere.
Presently, they are obsessed with body parts. Mine and theirs. It doesn’t matter to whose chest they are attached, breasts are fair game. I promise on a daily basis that a bird will swoop down out of the sky to peck off their peckers if they are not put away. Naturally enough this is licence to persist.
I’ve been told by one in the know (Mister Husband) that this is the start of a lifelong interest, albeit a healthy one.
Ours is a house taken over by tractors, diggers, Power Rangers, Spider Man and Ben 10. Angelina Ballerina, has on occasion, put in an appearance but Peppa Pig kicked her butt.
Our boys love to run in the rain and “help” with the hoovering. They have a thing for collecting twigs and dead leaves and a penchant for cracking eggs into the cake mix.
Trailing spiders and feeding the birds feature heavily in their daily activities. They have a tendency to miss the toilet bowl and a habit of stripping naked regardless of the season.
They will guard their chocolate from each other but without prompt, share it with me.
The older two will clash like Titans but when in the company of other kids, hold hands and look out for each other.
Tantrums can and do happen but blow over very quickly and are immediately forgotten. Time outs are frequent, resisted, endured loudly and always completed with a hug and an apology to the wronged party.
They are self obsessed but curiously interested in others. Certain ads on telly bearing unfortunate children in other parts of the world, bring forth why’s and how comes.
The older two go through extremely passionate but very short lived phases. A new toy will have its worth saturated in 48 hours. Something that is treasured so much that it makes it to under the depths of a Spiderman duvet for two nights in a row, will, 48 hours later, be discarded to different depths. Those of the toy box. And they move on to the next fascination.
As much as it irks to have strangers comment on our one gender family, it always brings a smile to my face when the eldest brings up the subject. Sometimes he asks if we’re going to get a girl baby. I take a peak at the three of them sitting behind me, strapped into their car seats and wonder how a Little Miss would fit into that picture? Would she be pink and frilly or as much of a mucky pup as her big brothers?
Maybe one day Mister Husband and I will find out. Maybe we never will, we could be destined to have boys. And all I’ll have to worry about then are the daughters in law. But until such day arrives, we’ll carry on in our house of fun.