The indisputable boy and a new species

I should really pay more attention to the laundry, but the truth is that I try to ignore it as much as possible. In fact, I do my hardest to think about anything but the laundry while I am washing and folding. Sometimes I talk on the phone or listen to music, other times I just blankly stare into space and think about anything that doesn’t involve stain removers and popsicles.

So it came as no surprise to me that I completely overlooked the fact that I had not washed, dried, folded, or put away any underwear for my son for quite some time. And for as many hugs as I get from my five-year-old, I can’t believe the odor didn’t tip me off before he spilled his secret.

Our family is fortunate to have a place to go to unwind and get away from it all. A small cabin in the woods, with a pond and acres upon acres dirt and forest to run in. We spent every weekend of my entire childhood in the wilderness of central Ohio, and the rolling foothills of the Appalachians hold a special place in my heart.

Nowadays, with t-ball and school and community functions, we rarely get the chance to pack up the cooler with hotdogs for the assumed campfire and head to the woods. Very rarely. So rarely that it becomes a monumental event for my children, who think that the gravel driveway is practically paved with gold because they can a) get as dirty as they want without having to take a bath, b) drink juice because the water smells like wild animal, and c) stay up late and jump on the bed.

Pretty much heaven when you’re five.

We purposely cleared our calendar last weekend so that we could finally get away to the family getaway and the buzz around the house was buzzing for days.

“How many more hours?”

“Can we pack yet?”

“Can I sit in the car and wait even though we’re not leaving until tomorrow?”

It makes me feel good as a mother to know that what little time we spend down there fills my children with so much joy, just as it filled me with joy when I was their age. I used to absolutely love our weekends in the woods.

But I didn’t love them so much as to not maintain my hygiene.

It was the day before we left for our little trip and my son, who already had a backpacked crammed with his flashlight, rope, and other apparent essentials, turns to me and tells that he loves the getaway so much that he had been wearing the same underwear since we were last there “to remember it.”

I quickly did the calendar math. “But that was three weeks ago!” I exclaimed. “I have given you baths; don’t you put on clean clothes?”

“I put on clean clothes, but keep the same undies,” he grinned.

After a little lecturing and even more eye-rolling, he agreed to change his underwear which were the first pair his hamper had seen in weeks. I washed them straight away, in fear that if I didn’t they would get up and haunt me in the middle of the night. Scary stuff.

But even scarier is how that, while telling this story to friends, so many mothers have gone through the same thing. Being a female without any brothers, I was a little shocked to know that this sort of behavior is nothing new when it comes to boys. My own husband, I hear, never washed his practice jersey throughout his senior basketball career. The stories poured in of lucky shirts, favorite shorts, socks so odiferous that they had indeed become rock hard because the sweat and dirt had combined with the cotton fibers to metamorphose into a creature so nearly real that it virtually deserved its own genus and species classification.

Boyus stinkifus.

There’s just no stopping it. Boys will be boys.

And mothers will do laundry.


look! he's a lost boy! i am sure wendy did the laundry somewhere in that book...
Anonymous said…
Love your story boys. Last year my son went to summer camp for 1 week. When I picked him up he proudly told me he wore the same clothes all week. Sure enough- all the clothes I packed were still neatly folded in his bag. He said that way I wouldn't have to wash so much when he came home- soooo thoughtful! He smelled so bad we could hardly stop for lunch before we got him home to shower:) Boys are definitely their own species! Thanks for the great stories you share.
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