Category Archives: Uncategorized

Of boys and noise

When I was a young girl, I used to be partially deaf in one ear. I didn’t know that of course, but everyone else did.

My siblings knew because they would whisper to me when I wasn’t looking and see how long it took to get my attention. Finally, my mother, having given up on my siblings’ rudimentary way of testing, confirmed the diagnosis in a dim and humid doctor’s clinic. I was ten years old.

My mother at the time, bless her, had no idea that I would eventually end up living with four boys and that being partially deaf in one ear may actually be a good thing.

Because living with boys as anyone will tell you, is noisy. Doors don’t close, they bang. They don’t unlock, they’re wrenched open. Conversations are not had, they’re shouted across rooms and corridors. My boys are teenagers now, so they’re quite hormonal and so there’s a lot of shouting and screaming going on.

Then there are the musical instruments of course. The piano, played only with the foot constantly to the pedal, and the bass. And the drums. The drums played without the silencing pads.

And the music that stays on long after the premises have been vacated. Music is always in the background.

Boys also like to watch noisy things: a football match with all the cacophony of the stadium, action movies with long car chases and noisy exhausts, war movies. All with the volume pitched high.

And then there’s Big Boy Number One, of course. My husband loves to watch replays of football matches he’s already seen a couple of times already. If his favored team had actually won, I get treated to replays and commentary on television, tablet, phone…Location doesn’t matter either: bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, living room…it all works. This doesn’t bother me, I have to admit, except when I’m trying to read or I’m concentrating on something else, happily and quietly in my bed, in which case the commentary becomes quite a distraction.

Especially if it’s in German.

(Neither my husband nor I speak or understand German.)

And here’s an observation I made the other day. Boys don’t notice when a sound is too high, only when it’s too low. My eldest son recently joined the school choir and we were, naturally, invited to watch his first concert. It was really great to go and watch his lips move.

“How did you like it?” he asked me hopefully at the end.

“I liked it a lot though I would have liked it even more if I had heard you,” I replied, “your father was complaining that he couldn’t hear you at all! You sing louder than that when you sing alone at home,” I tried, wanting to offer one positive-sounding comment at least.

“Yes well, we were asked to keep it soft and melodious,” he explained.

“Well maybe that’s the problem,” I said. “Next time keep it loud…and try singing in German.”

Of boys and grieving mothers

To every grieving mother today, I pray for you. To every woman whose heart has been savagely wrenched, I pray for you. 

I pray that you find solace, I pray that you find peace, I pray that you find acceptance.

To every grieving mother today, I think of you. To every woman whose heart has been irretrievably broken, I think of you. 

I think of your stabbing wound, I think of your incomprehension, I think of the unfairness you have been subjected to.

To every grieving mother today, I cry with you. To every woman whose core has been ripped to shreds, I cry with you.

I cry for your pain. I cry for your tears. I cry for your loss.

To every grieving mother today, I hope that we will never forget, I hope that we will never comply, I hope that we will never accept.

May the angels walk with you and may they always be by your side in your time of need.
May every hand in this world reach out to cradle you, may every arm around you offer you comfort.
May your child rest in peace.

May you one day dance again.

Of life with boys

I love living with boys really I do. Boys make you feel so important. They give meaning to your life. And the reason boys make you feel so important is because they are just so needy. You realize that the reason you were born and the reason you are living is actually to

  1. a) give them birth,
  2. b) cater to their every whim after you give them birth.

Sometimes you don’t even give birth to them but you still have to cater to their whims and needs.

Somehow, once a boy is with a woman, he loses all sense of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. They do fine when you’re not there but somehow, once you materialize, they turn into helpless beings, incapable of any action without your approval. Better yet, you do it!

When I first started living with my husband (I am going to get into so much trouble for this) he suddenly, after four years of living on his own, lost the cognitive skills necessary to operate a washing machine. Suddenly all these images and numbers became way too complicated for him to deal with.

“But I don’t know what they mean!”

“They mean the same thing they meant on your other washing machine, the one you were using before we lived together.”

“No they don’t.”

(Another great skill that boys have. More on that later.)

As for the fridge and the cooker, he started bumping into them because he had no idea what they were.

I blamed his mother of course, to whom I now owe a deep apology because, having had three of my own, I realize that the simple cue of remove your (replace with anything) usually needs repetition. Every. Single. Time.

It’s not that boys are dumb, quite the contrary, they are very intelligent human beings. It’s just that when you’re around, there’s no need for them to be. No need for them to do anything. I try to convince my boys that I would happily do their homework and revise for their tests myself but what would they do in the classroom when they have their exams and I’m not there?

They look at me with their puppy eyes saying nothing. They are waiting for me to answer. Of course! What was I thinking?!

 

On beauty in simplicity

 

The great thing about boys is that they are so simple. No over thinking things, no thinking between the lines…hardly any thinking at all in fact. That’s fantastic and it makes living with boys – in that sense at least – much easier.

Things are taken at face value. For example, if you give them food, they eat, if you give them juice, they drink, if you give them a ball, they kick it. No answering back, no asking whys and hows, no questioning really. It’s there, it’s good, take it. All is well, all is easy.

They are also great deflectors, that’s also an asset that they have. They never feel targeted, their feelings don’t get hurt. But that’s mostly, I think, because they just don’t get it. They don’t get the under meaning of the understatement of the hint that we women, of course, only know how to speak in. Hence most of our discussions at home tend to move in parallel lines rather than intersect at any point. That is if they’re actually listening.

All these musings to bring me to the point of my husband, whom upon reading my “about the author” page, wondered why I was writing all these things about myself and asked, very simply: “who farts?”

You’ve got to love them.

(Because if you don’t, nobody will.)