Anyone who is blessed with a son will know it’s a wonderful accomplishment to keep the house in order, especially when they’re in their Terrible Twos … and beyond. Boys will always be boys, and the ten things listed below is how we know they’re around:
1. The house is a battlefield. Toys everywhere, laundry in various states of use and dishevelment, a makeshift battlecamp made from pillows and cushions -- this is the glorious wake of disaster that accompanies boys after a non-stop 14-hour Big Hero 6 marathon. Little girls may get messy too, but boys can give new meaning to the term. Back in the day, the weapons of choice were sumpit and tirador, now it's Nerf guns and lightsabers. Woe to the unprepared and unarmored parent that ventures forth into No-Man’s Land during a sleepover reenactment of The Avengers’ Battle of New York City.
2. You see pets in the house you didn’t know you had. An uncle of mine had two conflicting situations: four strapping young boys and a vicious (and viscous) allergy to dander. The allergy won out and this prevented his four boys from pursuing the loyal playmates of boyhood such as dogs, cats or bunnies. Unfortunately, this didn’t stop the boys from seeking out companions and they chose to make pets out of frogs, spiders, crickets, dragonflies and salagubang.
3. You get exposed to bizarre cuisine. Many years ago, I knew of one child who was once asked, “If you had a lot of rice and no ulam but Royal Tru-Orange, Coke and Mountain Dew, which one would you pick?” He replied, “Mountain Dew, I’ve already tried the other two.” (Author’s note: that child is now an amateur chef) Sometimes your little boy earnestly attempts culinary experiments such as bread sans yeast or whether spaghetti, siopao and Milo will taste good together but unless he is a Batali-in-the-bud, his attempts will be doomed to decorate the kitchen countertop, sink and even the dining table.
4. Your house becomes the Mad Scientist's laboratory. Stop yourself for a moment and think about the last time you were at the perfume section of a department store. It wasn't just the scents that appealed to you -- it was also the bright, sparkly bottles with the wondrous liquids inside. Boys don't care much for scents but there are cool and horrifying things they can do with the liquids inside. One parent discovered to his chagrin that his son found his grandfather's decades-old prescription cabinet, complete with expired bottles of Gentian Violet, mertiolate, shaving cream, Oil of Wintergreen, Selsun Blue and Alka Seltzer. The boy poured the resulting toxic muddle on a tree and it became petrified wood a few days later (no, really!).
5. You always seem to lose your tools. Little boys like finding out what makes things tick. Beware if you let them get ahold of tools like screwdrivers and wrenches because before long, things like clocks, Optimus Prime and your iPad might suddenly find themselves with their insides outside. On the other hand, you may have a fledgling mechanic or engineer on your hands, particularly if he manages to put it back together again. Or, you might also end up with...
6. Having Frankenstein's toybox. This is a corollary to the previous item about boys and household tools. Sometimes, Lego just ain't enough. A fine example of this is Sid, the little miscreant neighbor of Andy from Toy Story. He's easy to remember - he's the one who would take apart his and his sister's dolls, action figures, cars, trucks, robots and other items and reinvent them in rather strange ways to leave them scattered around his room like a toy graveyard of sorts.
7. You become used to “The Smell”. There is something about what is known as the Smell of Day or Amoy Araw that a little boy exudes. You hate it, but, admit it – you love it as much.
8. You can’t decide whether water is a friend or a foe. Boys are normally adamantly resistant to the notion of taking baths, hence The Smell mentioned earlier. However, they love playing with water, especially when it's flowing rapidly through a garden hose, filling a water balloon. Puddles of water trailing up the staircase? Check. Couch soaking wet after 30-minute water pistol duel? Check. Also, there is something alluring about having a sink full of water and watching a plastic submarine sink to the bottom. If your boy likes fish, the sink or the bathtub may also become a makeshift aquarium. Poor fish.
9. There are marks in the weirdest of places. Tracking dirt around the house is the average family's experience with little boys, but sometimes it can be taken to creative extremes. If you find footprints on the walls or food remnants anywhere else but the kitchen, don't hire yourself an exorcist just yet. It might not be poltergeists but your rambunctious little one having found novel ways to decorate your dwelling.
And, lastly, the classic…
10. The seat is always up. One of the most obvious signs of Little Boy Infestation is the toilet seat being raised, which differs from the adult male version of this “household affliction” in that sometimes little boys miss anyway, no matter how hard they try. Or sometimes, they will miss on purpose as the allure of golden showers, billowing fountains and figure eights is too good an opportunity to pass up.