Boy Love

Fripp Island beach

DorkyDad and I were lying in bed the other night. We were laughing.

He’s like you,” he said.

No, no, no. Don’t blame that mess on me,” I said. “He’s all you. Every last bit of it. It’s all your fault.

It was a shock to have a son. It was all a shock, actually. Pregnancy, labour, birth… that deep intake of breath that came when I was handed a solid little body for the first time.

I was so sure it was a girl. We had chosen her name. She would arrive calm and quiet in a rosy glow. Instinct would kick in and the rest would be easy.


That’s what DorkySon says now. ‘

Ha! Tricking you!

Wee bugger.

He gets some things from me, for sure – his stubbornness, his aversion to big crowds, his struggle to wake up in the morning. How well I know that sweet, sleepy longing for five more minutes under the warm duvet.

But, other than that, he is DorkyDad in miniature. He is all boy.

They both have a taste for jellybeans, digging around in the bottom of the bag to find their favourite flavours, then scrunching up their faces to chomp and chew through the colourful sugary spectrum.

They’re ice cream fiends too. Whatever the weather – sunshine or snow – their eyes light up at the sight of a scoop shop. DorkyDad prefers plainer flavours; vanilla or strawberry, a chocolate flake if he’s treating himself. DorkySon likes to jazz it up a bit. Jamaican coffee, with a marshmallow mix. Mango sorbet, with sprinkles on top. We always have to find a nearby bench. Somewhere they can work around those waffle cones, exchange nibbles, debate in detail who made the better choice.

There are the cowlicks that won’t sit down, no matter how much styling product or maternal spit is applied. There are the spontaneous, shotgun laughs, shocking and loud in the most inappropriate of places. There is the scowling brow of concentration, the piercing blue stare, that same guttural growl when life gets too much.

Then there is all that energy. Goodness. Where does it come from? There are fearsome wrestling matches, closely followed by the tightest of hugs. There are a lot of books, and jokes about poo. There is hypochondria – the constant administration of band-aids and ointment, reassurance and magic kisses.

Neither one of them can open a pot of yoghurt without it exploding across the room. Neither one of them can hear live music without stopping for a happy wee jig on the street. They both call me through, from another room, or upstairs, to help find some beloved object that is usually less than a foot away.

On Sunday afternoons there are the arguments about television – DorkySon desperate for one of his shows, DorkyDad determined to watch some war film or another. Eventually they settle on a happy compromise – extreme engineering, or a high-speed car chase. They snuggle up together, content and quiet.

Both my boys love playing with words and sounds, turning up the radio and dancing their metaphors around the room. Pithy puns tumble from their lips, and sometimes they even surprise each other with a perfect rhythm or rhyme.

They like to feel loved, and are loving in return. There are tickles and back scratches, skulls often pressed hard against each other. They both sidle up to me when they need a little attention. This is a tactile house, full of kissbombs and DorkyHugs, a little boy who likes to fold his Daddy’s ears into paper aeroplanes.

It was a good trick, they played on me. I think they might have been in on it together. I didn’t get the daughter I was expecting. I didn’t get the calm arrival or the rosy glow. But I got so, so much more.

There is nothing in the world like boy love. It is enthusiastic, and always a delight.

55 responses

  1. Boys rock! I have 3 and they are so much fun, the raw honesty is a relief from the drama that is a girl’s life.

  2. You just never know. My kids are pretty much grown up now, but it was always the boy who was the dramatic one and the girl who was/is calm and no-fuss. Mind you, he did settle right down once he got past the teenage stage but he did everything until then on full speed and volume – the yelling baby, tantrum 2’s, friendship dramas in primary school, the lot! There is hope! He’s now the most sensible, placid young man you could ever meet, guess he got it all out of his system in the first 16 years or so…

  3. You’re very naughty, you know. I’ve been perfectly content with my two girls up until now, leaving the longing for one made of puppy dog tails to the husband, but now you’ve made me wonder what it would be like to have one of my own! If I’m pregnant within a year, I’m blaming YOU!

  4. Lovely, lovely post, and am so with you on the boys being unable to find stuff, though if it makes you feel better, my daughter is just as hopeless- the ability to find stuff must be one of those things that arrives with motherhood I think!

  5. What a lovely piece of writing; entertaining, subtle humour, snarky in bites. Liked the content too. Thank you.

  6. I recognise all of this: the expectation I’d have a serene little girl, the impromptu dancing, the cuddles. The ENDLESS amount of energy (or none at all – my boys are binary). It was such a shock to me, and sometimes I wonder how I’m going to handle obsessions with swords and balls and dirt. You’re right though, boy love is always blissfully enthusiastic. To the point that I find myself wondering, if we had another and it was a girl, would I even know what to do?

  7. Oooooh, I love the idea of a kiss bomb. When Z is cross with me I blow him a kiss telling him he can either catch it or throw it back to me….it always makes him laugh diffusing the situation. Little boys are very cool 🙂

  8. Oh I love this so much. I had a bit of a shock when my first little guy was born, especially after my first born was a girl. I was worried I wouldn’t naturally connect as well or understand him. But oh wow…that boy love thing. There is nothing like it!
    Beautifully written as always. Miss you xx

  9. There is definitely nothing like a boy snuggle – although there is equally nothing like a small boy strop! I will say, girls are far more fun to shop with xxx

  10. You are so right. My girl is wonderful and I love her beyond belief, but boy love is so full on and bare-faced open it takes my breath away sometimes. Loving the idea that you might lick and spit on Dorky Dad’s hair 😉

  11. We expected a girl too. She was called Lottie till the 20 week scan. We both had tears in our eyes at our discovery but 4 hrs later we named him and never looked back. I didn’t think I could enjoy dressing a boy but I proudly choose his clothes to wear everyday.

    Your post is SO beautifully written.

    I love being a boy mum.


  12. awww that is such a wonderful post about your boy and his dad. I have two boys myself and have no idea what having a daughter would be like, but i am perfectly happy about that x

  13. I so love this. And I love how we see our children develop in front of us and become real little people and miniature versions of ourselves. I see so much of myself in my son, and then I hear him laugh and he is his dad.

    • Oh I love that too! It gets better all the time, doesn’t it? I don’t long for the baby years at all, I just feel so proud watching him grow up and develop. A laugh is a wonderful thing to inherit 🙂 x

  14. It’s funny how we create these little creatures and then we are surprised by how they are a combination of us isn’t it? I had the three boys first and so I was all about boys and when I fell pregnant, I never even considered that I could have a girl. In fact I had an amnio and when I rang for the results, they told me it was a girl and I asked her to double check. A is such a force of pink and sparkly but in any ways she has the same energy and enthusiasm for life as her brothers. Lovely post again.

    • It’s so true! And what’s also odd is that you only start recognising those traits when they get older, but then you look back and realise that a lot of their behaviour even as a teeny tiny baby corresponds with what their character is like now. Lovely that you’ve experienced both worlds 🙂 x

  15. Such a lovely post! i have two girls but really wanted a boy too! so nice to see some of ourselves in our kids though. seeing them grow and flourish is the best thing in the whole world!

  16. Love trying to work out which bits of which child they got from which of us. Having one of each I have concluded the differences are huge, you capture boys so well! Lovely writing 🙂

  17. That’s lovely. And very sweet. I too have a mini-Daddy. It’s ace. He his however a twin – boy and a girl. I LONGED for a boy but I’m also astounded at my daughter and how much she’s like me. We’ve got a mini me for each of us 🙂 x

  18. hehe. My Mum says this too, with two girls its a strange concept to me, Though have you heard the old saying. A girl is your friend for life, a boy just until he get a wife. Its so not true I’m sure but its a funny saying.

  19. Such a beautifully written post Ruth. I have two girls and don’t know, haven’t experienced this boy love you talk about – I can relate to maternal spit on a cow lick though 😉

  20. Such a lovely post, so beautifully written. I have 2 of each but the boys come along first so for a while we were a boy house. I find boys much easier (apart from always wanting to be outside rain or shine, muddy knees, knocked out shoes & footballs breaking everything in sight), but then I come from a family of 5 brothers so I guess I would x

    • Thank you so much for your comment Mama Syder. That’s interesting to wonder what influence your own upbringing had – I have two older brothers too. To be honest I was just terrified of babies and children in general before I had one! I didn’t discriminate by gender! x

  21. Lovely post, great wee details (I haven’t eaten Jellybeans since pregnancy, maybe I should try them again!). I always imagined myself with a girl too, so much so we chose to find out the gender at our 20 week scan. Took us minutes to get used to the idea of having a boy, he’s wonderful. I don’t know how much of the way he is is down to his gender but he has LOADS of energy, is very physical, and very wriggly! He is also one of the most caring little people I know, even at 2.

    • The jellybeans are strictly rationed in this house, there’s a warning printed on the label about how excessive consumption can cause hyperactivity, so they get doled out very strictly one or two at a time! I didn’t have the option of a 20 week scan, but I can definitely see how it would make it easier to prepare for! x

  22. A wonderful post. Twin boys followed my daughter. It is completely immense, and yes- the struggle to find what is under the nose remains a mystery.

  23. What a beautiful portrait of the relationship between Dorky Dad and Son. It sounds so warm and loving. I am also thinking about a post to write about fathers day…. the relationship with Dad is so different. Loved the image of the lid coming off the yogurt pots and it spraying everywhere. X.

  24. Pingback: Boxes « dorkymum

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