“Guys,” I say, as they stampede by for the thousandth time, shrieking and laughing hysterically, a blur of pinwheeling arms and legs. “Guys. GUYS.”

For a brief moment they stop and I’m reminded of the old Wile E. Coyote cartoons where the action would freeze-frame for a moment and a fake Latin name would flash on the screen—Accelleratii Incredibus—before everything would rev back up, clouds of desert dust and ACME signs and a poonk-poonk-poonk roadrunner raspberry.

Please slow down, I tell them. Someone’s going to get hurt. Stop chasing. Stop screaming. Just be careful, for god’s sake.

Dylan’s got one end of a stick horse and Riley’s got his hand looped around its fake leather bridle on the other end. One of them is pulling the other or they’re pulling each other and the game seems to involve a whiplash effect and pshew pshew cowboy gun noises and what the hell, why are all the sofa cushions strewn around the floor again and oh shit is that lamp about to fall over?

“We just playing,” Riley tells me.

“A tick! Horse,” adds Dylan, not to be outdone.

Then they’re off again, the stick banging into walls, the boys screeching, a whirlwind of chaos and activity. I rub my temples, walk to the drawer with the ibuprofen, and from somewhere down at one end of the house I hear a crash and a delighted, top-volume scream and I yell at no one: “GUYS! STOP IT!

It goes on and maybe they eventually calm down but more typically it ends in tears, usually Riley, who refuses to take off his socks and thus inevitably slides across the wood floors and smashes into something and starts howling, and instead of soothing him or asking where it hurts I find myself barking SEE I TOLD YOU and WHY DON’T YOU GUYS LISTEN and maybe just for good measure I send them each off for time outs, because my god, my god, the noise, the screaming, jesus christ.

They play together like this every day now, and I’m so happy they like each other’s company. I’m filled to the brim with joy over our two beautiful boys, our rambunctious happy healthy kids.

But oh. Oh, oh, oh. I didn’t know how insane it would be. How it would sometimes drill right into my brain and leave me limp. How one day in the gym locker room I’d find myself watching some Maui tourism commercial that’s nothing but a scene of a nearly deserted beach, waves lapping, the quiet noises of the sea, fifteen seconds or so of this muted soft footage, and my mouth would be hanging right open, my pupils saucer-sized. Yesssssssssss.

Riley comes over to me crying about how Dylan poked him in the eye, Dylan squeaks “HUG! HUG!” with a worried scrunched-up face, Riley reluctantly hugs him, and it all starts up again. I don’t have any idea how four little feet can sound like that, like a giant stampede of prehistoric animals. Crash. Bang. Scream. Pshew pshew.

“I’m a COWBOY! No, I’m a SOLDIER! Mommy I’m the SOLDIER and Dylan is the HORSE! I’m a SKATEBOARD BATMAN!”

“Neigh! NEIIGGH!”

Guys, guys, guys! I say. What Mommy, what Mommy, what Mommy, they say. Oh, I don’t know. Let’s go look at a calendar together, and count the months until spring.



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14 years ago

did you spy on my house last night?!!! ive got 3 boys- 6,4 and 16 months. EVERY night it goes like this. i both love it and hate it at the very same time.

14 years ago

I have 12,8,and 3 year old boys and there is nothing like having them all home and stuck inside on cold winter days. I feel your pain. The worst is when they get in the repeat mode and bug the crap out of each other by repeating what the other one says. sorry to tell you it gets worse as they get older and they find new ways to torture themselves and you.

14 years ago

Wait til they are on roller-blades making a circle around the kitchen island swinging la cross sticks and throwing play-doh at each other!!

Kim S.
Kim S.
14 years ago

Oh god I know exactly what you mean. I have 2.5 year old twin girls and an 8 year old girl. She usually whips them up into a frenzy (though they don’t really need her for that) and they chase each other around and around and around the house and it always ends with someone screaming and hurt. Every day. Multiple times a day. Multiple times an hour. Crashing into walls, falling down stairs, jumping off furniture.

And the talking/shrieking/screaming never stops. Once in a blue moon it will get silent for 2 seconds at dinner and my husband and I look at each other in shock. Did we both just go deaf at the same time?



14 years ago

God, just look at that photo.

Look at the pure fucking joy on the faces of those boys.

Mate, you’re so lucky. Look at what you are experiencing. The growing lifetime love of two brothers.

Can’t be beaten! Relish every minute, even the bullshit, the irritation and the guilt!

I’m a mum of a 14 year old. If I spent any more time beating myself up about the times I felt guilty (Impatience, shouting, blah blah) then I’d probably implode or something.

There’s more to being a great parent than just blindly putting up with shit. Most blogs are full of bullshit perfect parenting that doesn’t even exist.

Your kids are clearly well adjusted, happy, loving life.

Nice to read about it. Thanks.


14 years ago

This is exactly what it’s like in my house. I have Jude, 4, and Asher, 2. I had no idea what it would be like with two little boys. I have a sister! My problem is, I never know when it’s reasonable to tell them to stop – in my mind at least, I either end up being no fun or I’ll be the irresponsible mom who allowed her son to be wild in the house and is therefore now in the emergency room watching one of her guys get 13 stitches. Jude had 3 stitches in his lip when he was 2 and a half and Asher was in the emergency room with a goose egg on his head from falling at the pool last summer. Good luck – I’m right there with you.

Country-Fried Mama
14 years ago

Yes, yes, yes. From the random screams in their general direction to the socked feet on the slippery floor, this is a daily scene at our house, too, except my two rowdy ones are girls, and they’re playing Princess and the Frog, which I haven’t seen, but apparently there is a lot of wrestling in it, and everyone is crying by the end.

14 years ago

Dylan asking Riley for hugs: my heart just broke into a zillion pieces.

14 years ago

too cute. sounds a lot like my house. i try *try* to make myself remember the good parts. but oh, they are LOUD.

14 years ago

OH so I’m not turning into the meanest mommy on the planet then! PHEW good to know!

Seriously. I used to drive into work in a grump and be singing show tunes on the way home…now it’s completely swapped. I sooo look forward the peace and quiet of work!

I have 2 girls. It’s not just a boy thing. Cabin fever does not discriminate against females unfortuanetly and the non-stop running/screaming/I told you to stop doing that so you’ll get no simpathy from me – well it doesn’t either.

Spring can not get her fast enough! And I don’t care whay my hubby says, I’m buying a trampaline this spring. One of the ones with the cage around it and I’m going to lock them in there every evening until they do not have energy left to walk back to the house!

I think it’s time for a drink! Thanks for the vent!

14 years ago

Just delurking to say I love you. xo

bad penguin
14 years ago

Yes, we recently had my nieces and nephew over (6, 4 and 2) and I was amazed at how much motion and noise they created. They weren’t being bad, they were just being kids, but since we aren’t used to it, the chaos was a little intimidating.

14 years ago

Imagine that your boys are just as loud & rambunctious as ever. Then imagine that they don’t have each other to play with…That’s right – the playmate getting dragged & wrestled & poked is now YOU. And there is no one else in the house. And your boy NEVER plays quietly by himself – ever. This is what it is like with a single boy, & I am soooo jealous of those who have two!

As they say, the grass is always greener.

14 years ago

Oh those days, I know them too well. Yes, it’s true….it shall soon be spring and we will all be a little bit happier.

6512 and growing
14 years ago

Can completely relate, you just say it better.
I’m always weighing these 2 reactions:
1) someone is going to get bloody any minute now.
2) how sweet, they’re playing together.