Only a Mother Could Love This

“Mom, you don’t even want to see what the boys do at my table at lunch. You would be so disgusted,” my son says with pride.

“Mmm. Enlighten me.”

My son often forgets that I was ever a child. I know with my maturity level and love of a good fart joke, that’s easy to forget. He bets I can’t guess what goes on in a group of fifth-grade boys at lunch, what they could possibly do to gross one another out, what they could talk about, what they could do to their food.

He describes a pack of bed-headed boys I know dropping the remains of their lunch onto a lunch tray. Some unwanted green beans, leftover taco meat, some applesauce for effect. The boys probably contribute whatever is in their crumb-coated hands at the time. They mix up the slimy school lunch potion, and if all were right with the world, a pop and poof!—at least one deserving kid would grow rabbit ears for teasing his sister or not changing his underwear.

I imagine the teachers stay far away from his table at lunch. I know the girls do. And I know it will get worse before it gets better.

I know because a million years ago when I was young, I sat at lunch with two boys who did the same things to their food. They took everyone’s extra plastic cups that the vegetables and sides were served in and stacked everything on a tray. When their tower was complete, they’d push from the top and watch overcooked pale cafeteria food ooze from every cup like a fountain. “DOOZIE!” they’d yell. It was disgusting. I’m not sure why I subjected myself to the horror every day. Alphabetically their names came right after mine, so I can only assume we had assigned seats.

My son tells me often lately that I could never guess what boys his age do or say. I laugh. I tremble. I remember. And I know what’s coming.

I hated boys his age when I was his age. They were gross. They picked on me. They made me feel bad. They messed up my hair. If I had a zit, they announced it to the class. If they sat behind me, they snapped my bra strap. They’d say, “Hey, let me tell you a secret,” and then burp in my ear. They’d burp on command. If I whispered to them, they’d fan the air like my breath stunk. They farted in class on the hard wooden seats and pointed at me. They stole my papers and held them up high in the air so I couldn’t reach them.

Oh, son, I can guess. My son gets himself worked up into a fit of giggles while telling us the gross things he and his friends do. We tell him a hundred times he’s crossed the line. Dinner isn’t the time or place, and honestly, no place with any adult is. But I see something now that I never saw a million years ago, that sparkle in the eyes. That sense of belonging to a pack. That brotherhood.

And I hate to admit it now, but all of that many years ago has helped me to embrace this.



Filed under About Mom

45 responses to “Only a Mother Could Love This

  1. This brought back so many memories about how horrible boys can be! I would like to think my son will never be like that, but that is wishful thinking. Great post.

  2. This is great perspective for a mom who has two boys younger than yours. One that is 6, one that is almost 3. They aren’t “gross” yet, but like you, I recall the disgusting things elementary school boys do at the lunch table and know that your tale is a glimpse of my future!

  3. The sad part is, I remember this kind of stuff from not only elementary school, but high school too. -__- I don’t think they change much as they “grow up” lol

  4. deweydecimalsbutler

    My son is 1. I’d forgotten about this part of their existence. Thanks for the reminder and heads up. He already has discovered how to make fart noises on my cheek. It’s about to get really gross, isn’t it?

  5. There are times when my boys are telling me something or doing something, I am cackling along with them. I can see in my wife’s eyes the thought that is going through her head – couldn’t I have had a girl too?
    Yes, I do enjoy the grossness with my boys – sometimes.

  6. With two teen sons and a husband, I’ve given up trying to keep dinner from deteriorating into male anatomy and poo humor, but I insist it at least wait until we’re done eating. They’re pretty good about obliging me on that now, but as soon as it’s clean-up time, all bets are off. The jokes fly, and the three of them are in a heap on the floor wrestling. 🙂

  7. As a former lunch lady, I can assure you there were tables I avoided because I DIDN’T WANT TO KNOW.


  8. So true – coming from a mother with four boys!

  9. i remember the boys at that age as well, and i’ve decided to pretend that didn’t exist and work with the boys of today. i know they’re no better but it’s a whole different angle when you’re the mom and not a middle school girl.

  10. My son and his friends still do stuff like that. Only, being college students, they add beer. Sigh.

    • The addition of beer–scary in more ways than one.

      • Yes. We are lucky (smart?) that our house is the preferred location for hanging out. So nobody drinks and drives.

      • I’m trying to get my brain wrapped around that concept, having my kids like hanging out here. I know it will be a good thing when they’re older. I should probably just not buy new furniture until they leave for good then, huh?

      • Right. Last year when we replaced the basement couch (only because Grandma was moving) Goodwill wouldn’t take the old one. Take a second to absorb that ….

        Growing up, my house was the usual hangout. I always planned on that being the case for my kid. While there are moments I don’t like it, and a very rare time when a particular kid has been discouraged from coming over, I wouldn’t trade it. My son is HERE!

      • My friends wouldn’t hang out at my house growing up and I hated it. I want to like the idea of having everyone here, but I know it takes a laid-back attitude. And maybe a basement.

        Did you burn the couch?

      • Habitat for humanity took it. They will apparently take anything!

  11. ah yes I had two younger brothers. they have prepared me well now that i have two boys myself.

  12. Pingback: Only a Mother Could Love This | Im Blogging It Out

  13. zarapaupau

    I should probably prepare myself for this. I have a toddler and him giving me so much headache is quite promising.:))

  14. Mine are 9 and 6 😉 At their school, there is no cafeteria – everyone brings packed lunch and they have it in their classrooms (with a lunch supervisor). I am not sure if that helps… but at least it is mostly sandwiches … less squishy bits 😉

  15. Ah, boys, mine is only 9 but I am now just so thrilled to see what’s on the horizon in a few years 🙂 I do love how we all forget, everyone goes through each stage too, and I had 2 brothers who drove me nuts too.. I worry a bit about how my sweet little guy will be changing…

    • Nine was about the age my son really started with all the potty talk. Probably 8. Maybe your son spares you. 😉 The good thing is, they’re still sweet at these ages so you can’t help but love them.

  16. One of the perks in coming back to a small town fifteen years later is to discover that those rotten boys grew up to be decent men. 🙂

  17. I love this post! I have a 12-year-old son myself and I can totally relate..:-)
    – Shelah @ Everyday Alaska

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