This undeterred mother reflects on what she’s discovered and learnt while raising three super-active boys.…

“‘Mummy, I think I farted 18 times yesterday,’ one of my sons casually mentions to me this morning while getting ready for school.

‘Oh, how nice,’ I say, trying to keep a straight face. ‘Can you go grab your breakfast and put on your shoes?’

Indeed, such conversations are commonplace with my brood of, well, what you may call “boys-terous” sons.

I have three little men, with ages ranging from 2 to 6. There’s Christian, 6, the loud, confident one, who bulldozes his way through everything just to give you the sweetest, warmest hug. Connor, 4, who likes being in charge, wants to be a teacher when he grows up, so that he can make others do his bidding (or so he thinks!). Then, there’s Cameron, 2, my doe-eyed Energizer Bunny, who wants to do everything on his own even if it takes him 10 times as long.

If you have little men in the house, chances are, every visit to the loo will be a hit and miss…”

As you can imagine, quiet moments at home are rare. Even if we do enjoy several minutes of peace, it often isn’t long before I or my husband aka partner-in-crime, Ewan, are dragged off for a Nerf gun battle, or a game of Twister.

I often get comments ranging from, “Woah! Three boys! How do you manage?”, to “You must have so much energy!” or “You must be exhausted!’

Having an all-boy brood comes with, ahem, a certain type of lifestyle ― but I am also filled with an indescribable sense of joy and satisfaction knowing that I am raising fine young men who will always refer to me as the first woman they’ve ever loved.

Mine has also been a journey of surprises ― things I honestly would never have known if I didn’t give birth to sons.

I’ve rounded up some of them, right here.

1. They are loud

Years ago, a friend told me that her baby girl could screech at an incredible volume, so I was ‘lucky to be having a boy’, who would apparently not make as much noise. Um, I don’t think so. At any one time, I’m usually inundated by make believe battle noises, questions about the solar system, complaints about ‘gor gor just hit me!’ and a rendition of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody that is venturing on harmful decibel levels.

2. Oh, the bathroom smells

This one, I completely did not see coming. Once my oldest was out of diapers, I can honestly say that my bathrooms have never smelt the same again. If you have little men in the house, chances are, every visit to the loo will be a hit and miss, which means you can expect to find ― smell? ― those dribbles down the side of the bowl…you know what I mean! So, yes, toilet training was a pain and a half, but hey, here’s a tip: Boys have it good if you need to go on long car rides ― just stash a couple of pasta sauce jars with tight lids at the back of your seat…you never know when you might need them!

3. They revel in toilet humour

An all-time favourite plaything in our home has to be the Fart Blaster from the Despicable Me movie. Believe me, anything that vaguely sounds like a fart would leave the boys rolling around in stitches. What is it with boys and farts? You know how in most social settings, if someone really has to break out their funk, they try to do it in secret? No such luck with a trio of boys. They’d be the first to claim credit ― proudly ― for any ‘stinker’ that’s emitted.

4. They can turn any object into a weapon

One time, when I asked my husband to pick up some carrots from the supermarket while he was there with the boys. Minutes later, he sends me a photo of them, happily posing with a bunch of leeks ― “Leek-sabers” he declares, with pride.



5. They do have fashion preferences

I’ve heard of little girls who love picking out lovely little dresses to match with their pretty pink shoes. But hey, boys want a picture-perfect look, too, okay? Christian went through a period where he loved wearing socks…on his hands, while Connor had his ‘soft pants only’ phase. It’s either that, or his fireman outfit, complete with a hat and loud hailer. Currently, whenever he goes out, Cameron’s choice add-ons are a cap and a (empty) backpack… Who woulda thunk it? My kid knows how to accessorise!

They’re showing you how much they want to connect with you on a physical level, in a way only boys know best.”

6. They get into so much trouble…and then some!

Once, I noticed some marker pen doodles on their whitewashed bedroom walls. ‘Connor!’ I shriek, knowing that he’d holding those pens just moments ago. ‘Did you do this?’ I demand. ‘Yes, mummy,’ he says with glee, even as I feel my anger rising. ‘I drew those flowers for you…because I love you.’ Bam, my heart melts into a puddle ― and I’m toast!


7. Hugs, cuddles and so much more

When you have boys, love is physical. We’re not just talking about those big bear hugs, but everything else in between. They’re loving you when they try to wrestle with you, they’re loving you when they jump from the couch onto your back when all you did was to bend down to pick up a Lego block, and they’re loving you when they climb into your bed in the wee hours of the morning. Those crazy high fives and crazier fist bumps? They’re showing you how much they want to connect with you on a physical level, in a way only boys know best.

8. I’m now rather afraid of having a girl

"Are you going to try for a girl?" ― I’ve pretty much lost count of the number of times someone has asked me this question. I’d love to have a girl: That twinge of envy ― when I ‘accidentally’ saunter into the little girl’s section at H&M, or find myself gawping at frilly little hair ties ― is heartfelt. But truth be told, I’m also quite terrified of having a girl. What if she makes me play with dolls? What if she wants everything to be pink? Which leads me to my next point…

9. Having sons just suits me better

There’s just something about all that rough and tumble, and complete bluntness and honesty that makes mothering boys really endearing. I gripe about mopping up heaps of perspiration, but inside, I’m beam with joy when see how freely and completely they embrace the outdoors. At the end of the day, when I’m done breaking up fights, picking up that last Hot Wheel car and tucking in my mini-men, I’m proud of my little superheroes.

Melissa Tan, 34, is mum to Cameron, 5, Connor, 7, and Christian, 9.

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