Oh, Boy(s)

Categorized as  Goshen News,  November 12, 2007

While there are no ponytails here, there are rooster tails. Lots of them. The father and chief of this tribe is the worst. To honor his creative morning hairdos, I have named him “President of the Bedhead Club.” It has become an official sport to attempt to capture his creativity digitally. With the stealth of an Iroquois, I sneak up behind him as he is profiled in all his morning glory against our white walls, camera in hand. At the speed of light, I whip it out and snap!

What happens next is amazing. My groggy, barely awake husband erupts in a fantastic display of gymnastic prowess, the likes of which have never been seen in any Summer Olympics before or since. Words fail. I have literally seen him execute a few moves that do not yet have names.

Shoot. Missed again.

Another thing that I do have at my house is a ringside seat to all manner of wrestling matches, high speed chases, and general shoving and punching. Daily discord, you ask? Not necessarily. This is how they show their affection for one another. It’s irrational. What’s wrong with flowers, cards, or – here’s a novel idea – a hug and a kiss? Somehow, Greco Roman wrestling, headlocks, and Dutch rubs just don’t say, “I care deeply about you,” to a girl. In the world of Bohemians, however, it’s the language of love.

Obviously, living with males is not for the faint of heart. They think crude bodily noises are a badge of honor. The louder the noise, the bigger the badge. They sweat. They scratch. They grunt. It’s enough to send me sprinting for the coffee shop for twice-weekly therapy where the staff there puts me in a padded room and kindly administers large doses of caffeine intravenously until I regain my equilibrium.

One thing that raising boys has done is to sharpen my bargaining skills. I have become a very deft negotiator in tense standoffs involving a cookie jar and a hungry boy with eight hands. Or 11 monkeys and 2 boys. Really.

One of our sons was, in earlier years, an avid collector of all things Curious George. He managed to amass quite a collection that included a large number of stuffed monkeys. The problem arose when he began taking them all to bed with him. As he shares a room with his big brother, it became a source of great conflict. Wars were fought. Invectives were hurled. Punches were thrown and monkeys were catapulted across the room.

“I hate it!” his brother would shout. “I keep waking up in the middle of the night with a monkey under my back.” See, at our house it’s not the monkey on your back you have to worry about. It’s the monkey under it.

“The princess and the pea,” I would sigh under my breath.

And so was born what became known as the “Two-Monkey Rule.” No more than two monkeys in bed on any given night. Period. From that point on, love reigned, harmony was restored, and an application was submitted for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I’m pretty sure I could have a brilliant career with the FBI, training their hostage negotiators. After brokering a peace deal during the monkey crisis, Arab terrorists wearing Pizza Hut tablecloths don’t scare me at all. Robert Mueller, call me.

I could share with you the trials and tribulations of grocery shopping with this little gang of thugs, but honestly, I am still recovering from our last outing. It’s going to take several more weeks of intensive java therapy and facials before I can even speak of it.

Hold on. The phone is ringing. My husband says the White House is on the line for me. It’s something about a “purple heart.”

Rhonda Schrock

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