Sunday, March 29, 2009


"I wonder what would happen if I tried this" was Matt's mantra, back in the day. And then his brother Steven came along and it is downright uncanny how closely he follows in Matt's footsteps.

First comes the curious gleam in the eye at the sight of something that could possibly be tossed, ignited, bent, inserted, twisted, pulled, detonated, shot, or eaten. You can just see the wheels turning in the head--I wonder what would happen if I tried this.

And then he tries it. And more often than not, something is damaged, destroyed, or endangered in the process, at which point I pull out my lecture on A Little Bit of Common Sense, for Goodness Sakes, Is That Asking So Much?? and then I also make him pay for the damage, leading to envelopes in the desk drawer with such labels as Ceiling Replacement Fund.

This tendency reaches a fever pitch when boys are in the presence of their friends. We have had an extra boy in the house for over a week, while his parents are on a trip. Paul was gone for most of that time, and the combination nearly put me over the edge, the final straw being the ignited WD40 in the upstairs bedroom. By the mercy of God the house did not go up in flames, and the damage is limited to black marks that were not there before.

Matt assured me on the phone that it's all about trying to outdo each other when you're with a friend, rather than terrible gaps in our parenting.

I was sure things would improve once Paul got home.

Paul came home on a Monday evening and oh how happy and relieved I was to have him take things in hand and send the boys down the strait and narrow.

A few days later I was cooking some beans in the pressure cooker. Pressure cookers always make me nervous but I've gotten somewhat used to this one, and it was happily steaming away, the little jiggler on top rocking back and forth with little hisses of steam.

Paul came into the kitchen. As though propelled by an urge he wasn't even aware of, a remnant of boyish curiosity, he reached out and lifted the jiggler off the pressure cooker, which went PSSSHHHEEEWWWW!!!! with a very loud and angry hiss. Paul reacted with satisfaction rather than surprise or fear, and replaced the jiggler.

I thought, "I give up. I just give up."

Quote of the Day:
"Ben, I really don't like it when you do that Dad thing."
--Jenny, when Ben started pontificating about how she could remember to put her shoes away


  1. Karen Layman3/29/2009 4:34 PM

    rofl THAT is just great.
    Boys will be boys I guess.
    Thanks for the laugh!!

  2. BOYS!

    Here's how it plays out in their schoolwork at my house:

  3. These Matt and Steven stories sound so much like my uncles and great-uncles! Thankfully their blood was thinned out some by the time it reached my boys! Pauline

  4. LOL!!! Phil does the exact thing that Paul did!!!! He loves to watch me worry and fret, I believe!

  5. My husband and his 6 brothers have done it all!! Anything they forgot, one of my 5 brothers tried. And now my 2 boys have the same blood running through their veins. What chance do they have? Love your blog! -Wanda from Iowa

  6. down_onthefarm4/01/2009 6:01 AM


    I can totally relate to All Of It.

    LOL and a big sigh at the same time. The brain cells labeled Cause and Effect are broken...I just know it. They are surprised at the damages and I don't know how I can hold up to one more seemingly sincere, "I didn't mean to!" :)

    Wasn't it in your book...A sense of humor is not a frill but a necessity?!!!


    And why did that person unsubcribe recently? Hmmm. I guess that there are plenty of Mennonite Pastors Wives that might fit in a box that is all about presentation and performance...I personally much prefer the REAL and Honest and This Is Where I Am At Today kind of stuff that I find here.

    Thanks Dorcas!!!

  7. As the mother of five boys, I can also attest to this... and the husband part OF COURSE! My grandfather used to say "one boy is a boy, two boys are half a boy, and three boys are no boy at all!" I knew I was in trouble when I ran past the three boy limit and started into the negative, figuratively speaking! Love your blog, btw.

  8. I just love it.You've got to love them for just keeping things interesting. By the way I grew up with 4 younger brothers and have 3 boys of my own,so i've been there.

  9. How lucky for Steven to be part of your family!!

    My pressure cooker story is I put too much chicken in too small a pressure cooker and a piece got up into that little escape valve and clogged it up, unnoticed. It didn't take long before the little rubber over pressure valve blew and I had chicken fat all over the stove, walls, name it... We will never forget THAT one!