Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The male brain. Decoded. A little bit.

The boy brain is fascinating indeed.

Hailing from a family of six girls, (I am second in line) I am well-versed in the female brain. It helps that I am a female, yes, but growing up with five different women (plus my mother) exposed me to all kinds of estrogen and girl talk. I can wax poetic on any topic of a girly nature. If you want to talk about what color to paint your toes, or which purse you should buy, or if those shoes match that belt, then I am your gal. On the other hand, growing up with zero point zero brothers (even our dog is a girl) did not give me much insight into the way men think. Yes, I have been with my husband for 18 years and married to him for almost 12, but it is my boys who are truly teaching me how the male brain works.

My brood of three little men, although frustrating and challenging at times, are actually very simple creatures. Feed them and they are happy. Put them to bed when they are tired. Frequently tell them that they are awesome. Repeat.

That last step is important. The male ego bruises easily.

Although I shouldn't talk. I cry easily. That makes us even.

Over the last decade of being a parent, I have found that boys are fascinated with good versus evil, and bad guys versus good guys. If we are driving down a road and see a police car with its bright lights flashing, all necks crane to see if a policeman/woman will slam a bad guy to the pavement and cuff him. It has never happened on our watch, but one can only hope. My boys will sigh loudly as we pass, and say, "Aw. It's just a guy who is speeding. BORING!" Personally, the last thing I would want to witness as I am leisurely driving down the road is police guns being drawn as a perp is caught. No thanks. But that's just me.

Which leads me to the conversations I have with my sons on a daily basis. The topics are wack. I enjoy a wack topic as much as the next gal, but DUDE.

Where do they come up with this stuff?

My daughter likes to talk about pink, princesses, flowers, farts (she has three older brothers as you know), fairies, pink, hearts, pink, sunshine, Barbies, pink, ponies and pink. And sometimes purple.

My boys and I recently spent the entire drive to school, a whole 20 minutes, discussing whether or not certain activities are legal. It was not a conversation I could have imagined in my wildest dreams.

And no, before you ask, I am not worried in the least that I will be spending my golden years visiting them in the State Pen and bringing them cakes with files baked in the middle.

It's just a boy thing.

I hope.

As we were driving along that morning, I saw a runner unsafely running through traffic. I said, "Geez! Look at that guy! That's not safe!" which unwittingly started a conversation about legal matters.

"Mom, if I jumped out of this car right now and starting walking on the other side of [name of the busy road on which we were driving], would that be legal?" my 8-year old asked.

"Well, it wouldn't be safe, and you'd probably get hit by a car and have to go to the hospital and get a thousand stitches, a cast, and some shots, but no, I don't think that would be illegal."

Sidenote: Have I mentioned that I'm a bit of a fearmonger when it comes to safety issues with my children? Better have them afraid of the road than run in the middle of it. The words, "stitches" and "shots" will set any kid on the straight and narrow.

And all is well. I make no excuses for occasionally ruling with fear.

My 9-year old son continued, "That wouldn't be illegal, but if you stood in the middle of the road, then that would be illegal. You would get arrested."

Me: "Blah, blah, blah, SHOTS, blah, blah, STITCHES, blah, blah, blah MAYBE DEATH, blah, blah, blah, DON'T EVER DO THAT."

"Duh, Mom. We would never do that. We're not babies, you know."

"We're not babies" is their new mantra. They would sing it from the rooftops if they could. But then again, I wouldn't let them on any rooftops because of SHOTS, STITCHES, and DEATH.

Hearing the word stitches, my 3-year old daughter yelled, "I don't wanna go to the doctor!"

"Nobody's going to the doctor, honey."

My 5-year old son decided to join the conversation. "Mom. What if we drove our car up to the top of a water slide and drove down. Would that be illegal?"

You can't make this stuff up, people.

"Um...probably? But who would do that?"

Excited and his interest piqued, my 8-year old said, "But Mom! It's not like there's a law saying you couldn't do it, is there?"

They're killing me with this logic.

"Well, no, but it would be impossible. The car would never make it up there. And then you would probably die."

Or get shots. And stitches. And you would have to take lots of yucky medicine, none of it tasting like bubblegum and lollipops.

Sidenote to Congress: I know you're a tad busy as of late, but could you draw up a law making it illegal to drive down water slides just so I can win this one? Mmmmkay? Thanks.

I soon realized that this whole conversation stemmed from bald eagles.

Follow along, people. Did I lose you yet?

Switching gears, my 8-year old shouted, "It's illegal to own ANY part of a bald eagle you guys! They would arrest you at the zoo on the spot if you even picked up a teensy-weensy, little feather!"

Ah. The bald eagle. The puzzle pieces fit together in my brain as I recognized the reason for this random conversation. I felt a small sense of relief that my children were not fantasizing about committing felonius activities.

Allow me to explain.

We were at the zoo a few days before this conversation, and as we were watching a beautiful bald eagle behind a netted area, there was a small sign that said something to the effect of, "It is illegal to own or possess ANY part of a bald eagle, dead or alive."

And that is all we remembered about our trip to the zoo that day.

The zoo had them at the word, "illegal".

At that moment, they fantasized of situations in which hapless people would be walking along in the zoo, innocently pick up an eagle feather not knowing exactly what it was, and...


The next thing you know, those people are wearing orange jumpsuits and serving ten to twenty in the State Pen.

"Guys, I don't think it works like that. You have to knowingly possess or own part of a bald eagle."


That was the sound of their excitement dispelling.

But it's not like I could have them believing that the zoo has police staked out in the bushes, guns drawn, waiting to arrest people for finding eagle feathers that probably would never make it outside of the netting anyway.

What kind of mom lets her kid think that? I mean really.

Just a little insight into the male brain for you today, peeps.

You're welcome.


  1. I forgot how much I missed those random conversations! I have three boys and we experienced many....not quite illegal....but close calls over the years. One of mine got suspended for laying down in the street pretending to be hit by a car. The vice principal was not ammused. They are wired different - I enjoyed your blog - it took me back!

  2. Thanks, Clare - it took me back to when my three boys were younger. (They are 18,19 and 21 now). One was suspended once for laying down in the street pretending to get hit by a car. The vice-principal was not amused. It will only get better from here! I enjoyed your blog - it took me back!

  3. Hilarious! And so true. (I just have one thing to say...I'm so getting a girl dog! This house needs some estrogen!!!)

    This post reminds me of when I took 5 year old to Princess and the Frog (I know, I know) and after it was over, and I asked him what his favorite part was, he said, "The bad guy!" and laughed. Meanwhile, I teared up throughout the movie. It's totally true---the boy brain is different!

  4. I'm the youngest of four (three older brothers). As soon as your pink princess realizes you enjoy pink princesses (like when she's 12ish), she'll hate pink princesses. Good luck. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything! Ha!

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