03 February 2011

No, I Don't Want to Smell That

I live with guys. My house is ripe with guy smells.  And the guys don't care. In fact, I would say they revel in it. They burp loudly, often trying to incorporate speech into the act. They lift cheeks off chairs to fart with abandon. Only One has any sense of decorum, but I think that's because he finds bodily functions kind of gross, not because I've instilled in him a greater sense of mannerly behavior.

They play a game called "Door Knob," wherein the farter must yell "Safety!" after farting, before any surrounding boys yell "Door Knob", or he gets punched in the arm. Even Five knows this game. The other day it was just the two of us in the kitchen, and he yelled "Safety!" I took that opportunity to explain two things to him. One: I am his mother, and as such, I am not going to run across the room and punch him in the arm. At least not for farting. Two: I am his mother, and a GIRL, so it is bad form to fart without saying "Excuse me."  He seemed to comprehend that I wouldn't punch him, but he looked doubtful about the girl part. He didn't identify me as female.

Every so often, I get dolled up to go somewhere, and the pack is practically rendered speechless by the sight of me in a dress. One time, Four literally stopped talking, as his brain struggled to assimilate the image before him with the data he had stored about his mother. I had to call his name, for voice recognition. This worries me. I am supposed to be their template of femininity, upon which they will model their behavior toward all women. Clearly, there are some "opportunities for growth" in my job performance.

The older boys seem to understand I was a girl once, WAY BACK WHEN, but can't see how that applies to their lives now. They've actually said, "Kids today aren't like when you were young." And I had to disagree, because their father is exactly the same today as when he was a teenager.

The other night, he was unpacking his hockey bag. In our dining room. The hockey bag is the pinnacle of bad smells. It should be labeled as hazardous waste, or at least contain a warning about the possible release of deadly ammonia gas. I try to avoid the hockey bag at all costs, and I will only touch the contents within if I am wearing latex. But for the Captain, it's an odoriferous treasure chest. Sure enough, he opened it up, pulled out a glove with pride, and said "Smell this!" I declined, but the dog wandered in for a sniff. He is a boy, and smells butts, so he found it appealing.

But I felt a little better. The Captain  managed to land a swell girl like me without changing this aspect of his personality, so perhaps his sons will find the right women, too. I hope so, because I need some of this stink to go.


  1. I know the door knob game! Too funny about the clothes... you know me I'm a jeans kind of gal. The boys think I'm dressed up when I wear a nicer pair of pants and top. I've gotten that puzzled look before and then one of them will say wow! mom you look pretty today. I enjoy reading your blog - it makes me laugh!
    Have a good day! See you Sunday. :)

  2. @Michele: Yes, it takes them a moment to shuffle through all the female references in their brain, before they land upon one that works. "Oh, she's dressed up like that actress I saw. That actress is pretty. Hey, Mom, you look pretty!" I'm happy to provide the chuckle-thanks for chiming in!

  3. This post really made me laugh, Megan! I remember a similar lesson in gender identification when Boys One and Two were little guys. June and I came for a visit and one of them referred to her as "he."

    You informed them that she was a girl, but they clearly had a tough time comprehending. So you expanded. "She is a she, not a he."

    Two looked dubious, then finally hit upon a real world example.

    "Like Mulan?" he asked tentatively. She was, of course, the only girl considered worthy of their attention, by virtue of her sword, war horse and rescue of the Chinese Empire.

    "Yes. Like Mulan."

    Both boys gave a have-it-your-way kind of shrug, but they seemed to accept it. I guess the lesson just needs repeating from time to time!

  4. Janet-- How good of you to patiently search for the upside in the boys' definition of a girl :)
    Megan-- when your boys find the "right gals" you females will make one formidable pack of your own.

  5. I love the Mulan story in the comments. As far as dressing up, I teach in jeans and school sweatshirts for the most part. So one day, I showed up in black pants, a floaty top and red lipstick. The kids were stunned into Silence. As in, dude, who's that? After being told eleven times in the first five minutes that I "look pretty" I decided it MIGHT be time to bring my A Game out more often lol.

    Personally I'm fussy about body functions. I have tried to impress this level of delicacy on my husband but since I tend to go into loud peals of laughter whenever I hear someone say "balls" it's difficult to convince him I'm dainty.

  6. You shouldn't feel bad. If my kids knew about the Door Knob game, they'd play, too. Daughter included. I'm hoping puberty will sort her out, but it's not a strong hope.

  7. Anonymous3.2.11

    I would love to know the reasoning behind using the word 'door knob', and as for the love of smells, all I can say is...boys will be boys.

  8. @curiousmisskriss: Apparently, if the farter does not call "Safety" he gets punched in the arm until he touches a door knob. Charming, no?

  9. I am very glad to have been spared "door knob" for lo these many years. It sounds both horrifying and kind of tedious. I guess you have to be a boy to appreciate it.

  10. Anonymous4.2.11

    It does take them a while to realize that we moms were "girls" first, their mothers only later. Well, some of mine have realized that.


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