Raising Three Boys

Three little boys pose for a photo
Lizzie Diller’s three boys pose for a photo.

We just had our third baby. It’s a boy. The first two are also boys. Sometimes when we are out and about, it takes time for it to register with people that they are all boys. Then they look at me with some measure of shock and say something like “oh my, three boys!” And I just nod and murmur about how yes, it’s a lot. A lot of boys. And yes, I’m tired.

But what’s it really like to have three boys? Today, I am taking you behind the scenes to tell you.

1. First things first, they have a ton of energy. You have to have a plan a way every day to get it out. Otherwise, you will have a pile of boys wreaking havoc by jumping on your couch, drawing on your walls, roughhousing, and so on, all at a noise level so high you will feel like you are in the latest installment of Jurassic Park.

So, I make a lot of reservations ahead of time. GymSport Athletic Center for preschool playtime. The Carnegie Science Center. You get the idea. That way, when we get up in the morning and they are already running at full tilt, all I have to do is put the plan in action.

2. Random projects will constantly be going on in your home. You learn to pick your battles. Play trucks come in and out of the house, covered with mud, as they are being driven around the backyard. You have to decide at some point whether it’s an indoor or outdoor truck, and enforce that decision over and over with your toddler boy. Sometimes you bend a little, and you find yourself washing a trash truck because your toddler wants to bring it back in after outdoor playtime.

Also, you might find your kindergartener is growing grass in multiple containers in his bunk bed. You tolerate this until the containers inevitably tip over and you have to clean up all the grass and dirt that spilled out. Then, you finally announce to your kindergartener that going forward all grass must be grown outside.

3. They are curious and compassionate. One time, when my boys were with my in-laws, they went out for ice cream and met a man who was living with a disability. He had lost both legs and was walking on a prosthetic and using a crutch for support. Apparently, he was really friendly and tolerated the boys’ questions with grace. He told them he was very unlucky and that’s why he lost his legs. He was waiting on a second prosthetic. My toddler in particular worried and worried about this man. We had many discussions about whether the man would get his other leg and about how he was (hopefully) going to be ok.

4. You will want time to stop. When you have your toddler in your lap, cuddling and reading a book before bed, and your kindergartener is looking down from the edge of his bunk bed so he can see the pages, you will want time to stop. Because these boys are the most wonderful thing in your world.

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