Rookie Dad: Boys Will be Boys


Boys will be boys. Don’t you just hate that phrase? Ugh. It gives me the heebie-jeebies. It sounds so … so … unrepentant. So smug and irresponsible.

Typically, you hear it coming out of a mom’s mouth when she’s defending her son, who just wounded the neighbor’s dog with a slingshot. Or worse, it’s offered up by the defense attorney for a 50-year-old dad, who started a brawl at a youth football game.

Still, I must admit, there is just something about boys. As labor and delivery progress, and you anxiously wait to see if you are the proud parent of a daughter or son, you should know that if you happen to get a boy, you should be prepared. Little bundles of blue grow up from cute little babies in a crib to mischievous, unstoppable little dudes in the blink of an eye.

Take my boys, for example. One is 5 and the other is 3. Here’s basically what they’d like to do on any given day: jump in the mud, dig up bugs in the mud, throw mud on each other, throw bugs on each other and spray each other with the garden hose. All while laughing hysterically.
Do little girls do stuff like that? I’ve asked the parents of girls, and the answer pretty much is, “Not really.”

No, most little girls don’t sword fight like pirates, jumping precariously from couch to couch to avoid the crocodiles swimming in the sea of carpet below. Most little girls don’t give each other bucking bronco rides that end with the rider being tossed off into a table leg. Most little girls don’t try out new wrestling or karate moves on each other. Most little girls don’t break all their toys by putting them through physical endurance testing. Little boys do all of this.

I have seen how little girls play. I’ve watched nieces and their friends spend time together at family parties. While my boys are bludgeoning an innocent throw pillow with a foam baseball bat, the little girls are quietly playing a board game. They’re sitting down, thumbing through books. They’re dressing up, hosting tea parties and conversing with each other using actual words — not grunts — and nearly always playing something that revolves around Disney princesses.

Meanwhile, as the fathers of little boys wince at the sound of each CRASH, BOOM, BANG emanating from the family room, the fathers of little girls calmly munch on chips and watch the football game, knowing their little darlings aren’t tempting fate and a trip to the emergency room by sledding down the stairs inside a pillowcase.

I also have seen how little girls act when asked to accompany their parents on a simple shopping excursion. Recently, my wife and I took our two boys on a quick trip to the department store. My wife, who was trying on a few things, put me in charge of our sons. Letting boys loose in a department store is like letting a couple of Labrador retrievers loose in a department store — both follow their natural instinct to run and chase.

As I anxiously followed the noisemakers through rows of clothes and down aisles of home décor, I stopped to see a father and his two young daughters — get this — sniffing candles.

“Mmm, that smells like flowers,” one of the tranquil little girls said to her dad. I felt like pointing to my kids, then pointing to his kids and yelling out, “Not fair, pal! Not fair!” I didn’t have time, though. My boys were already grabbing crystal picture frames off a shelf.
Apparently, little boys come equipped with a different type of engine. — one that never stops and always revs.

But, really, I do count my blessings that I have two energetic kids. The good news, for me, though, is things do change. Little boys and girls eventually become teenage boys and girls. Ha, ha, ha. Then, that guy in the department store will pay!

For now, I just have to appreciate that boys will be boys. I also think I should pick up the phone and apologize to my mother. You see, I’m one of four boys (no sisters), and I’ve recalled a few things from my own childhood while writing this column.

Brian Kantz realizes fathers who have to dress up and attend princess tea parties every day may have something to say about this column. Visit Brian online at or drop him a note at