10 Things no one tells you about raising a boy

Yes, traditional gender roles are outdated, and I've never been one to propose that parents abide by these tired standards. Why should the wardrobes of our baby boys be limited to shades of blue? And why would we assume that all girls like butterflies and unicorns? That said, even the most liberal thinker should ultimately admit that there are typically some differences in the experience of raising a little boy. What's truly fascinating, however, are the idiosyncrasies that no parenting book, friend, or relative ever tells you about and which you only discover during on-the-job training. Here are just some of the things I've learned while raising my awesome little boy. 

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1. They will pee anywhere. Literally, anywhere. When my son was 4 and 5 years old, he would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. He'd be so disoriented he'd pee somewhere else--one time, he thought the trashcan in the kitchen was the toilet. As it turns out, this is rather commonplace. One friend's son actually pulled down his pants and started peeing in the middle of a convenience store.

2. Sound effects come naturally. Have you ever watched a little boy playing with his toy cars, planes, or trains? You'll feel like he's channeling Police Academy's Michael Winslow as he mimics police car sirens, screeching car brakes, revving engines, honking horns, steam engines, creaking trail tracks, wailing car alarms and basically any sound that could possibly be emitted by a vehicle of any kind.

3. Bath time will be dreaded. Most toddlers are weary of water but, for boys, the distaste for bath time extends far beyond a mild aquaphobia. See, boys don't mind being dirty. They might even take pride in having stinky feet or grimy hands, making it all the harder to convince them to embrace the rub-a-dub-dub routine. Even when they're old enough to take showers, they'll still groan when you remind them to take one.

4. They love being naked--and talking about their wee-wees! My cousin's 3-year-old son loves streaking through the house, completely naked, slapping his own butt. My 10-year-old son went through a similar period as a 6-year-old during which, on an almost daily basis, he'd peel off his clothes right before getting into the bathtub and do what he dubbed his "Pee-Pee Dance," during which he swiveled like a Chippendale's dancer and marveled at his penis. Apparently, boys are fascinated with their genitals since birth and, as we all know so well, this sense of wonderment never ebbs.

5. Running is the only alternative. That whole walking thing? Who needs it? Boys have one speed setting: Go! Even if they're traveling all of six feet, they'll feel the need to run that distance.

6. All of your sheets will become superhero capes. Whether he's pretending to be the Man of Steel, the Dark Knight, or Thor, your boy will, at some point, envelop himself in a sheet or blanket and proclaim to be saving the world. Sure, he'll get your linens dirty in the process but he'll look so cute, it won't even matter.

7. They'll feel compelled to announce their gassiness. Adults will blame the dog, the trash, anything, before admitting that they cut the cheese. Boys, however, will look at you with a straight face and, at the top of their lungs, declare, "I farted!"--even when in a public place like, say, a clothing store, restaurant, or airport--then start giggling uncontrollably.
8. Anything can be turned into a faux sword or gun
. Paper towel rolls, celery sticks, remote controls, straws, rolled-up towels, and even French fries will be turned into weapons of war. Even if he's not exposed to any violent television or video games, your boy will likely feel compelled to mimic a battle and, in the process, he'll use his imagination to expand his make-believe arsenal.

9. You'll be doing a lot of laundry. When my son would come home from kindergarten, his uniform was often so dirty, it looked like he'd dropped his lunch on the floor and rolled around in it. This was the case for almost every boy in his class. Whereas some little girls can be persnickety about their appearance from a very early age, most boys could care less about their clothes looking like crumpled-up napkins. They'll wipe their mouths with their shirt collars, run their dirty hands all over their pants, crawl on the dirty floor for absolutely no reason, dive into puddles, and so forth.

10. Boys love their mamis! Even when they reach their pre-teen years and don't want to be spotted holding their moms' hands or giving them a kiss on the cheek, boys will continue showering their mamas with affection within the privacy of their own homes. And their moms will relish every single second!

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Topics: raising boys  child rearing