Snakes and Snails and Other Things Considerably Grosser

It’s spring break, and tonight we are having a sleepover-to-end-all sleepovers at our house.  Little sister Corrie went to stay with grandparents, and each of my three sons has a buddy staying over. 

There are six little boys between the ages of six and ten in my house.

All at the same time.

Let me just pause here to tell you that I love being the mother of sons.  Being a girly girl, I am fascinated by these boys of mine.  Watching them grow and be boyish and turn into young men–well, it’s just about the sweetest joy I’ve ever known.  I think that little boys may be the most endearing creatures God ever put on this earth.

But they are also the most disgusting.

As these six boys sat around my table tonight, and the cacophony of burps, arm-pit farts, and booger jokes wafted around around my kitchen (while I was trying to eat, mind you), I found myself wondering why, exactly, boys are so fascinated with the more revolting aspects of human nature.

Think about it.  There’s not really any good reason for it, from a biological standpoint.

Other little boy behaviors have clearly genetic benefits:  they show off their muscles to prepare for attracting a mate.  They jump off swingsets to prepare for taking calculated risks to further their livelihoods.

But how, I ask you,  could fart jokes possibly contribute to the advancement of humankind? 

I’m beginning to believe it’s one of those strange, leftover human traits, like the appendix.  The appendix just sits there, performing no function other than sending doctors’ kids to college.  The fart jokes just…I don’t know…remind us we descended from cave men?

I guess I’ll stop trying to attach value to this behavior, and embrace it, along with all the other endearing boy traits that come with it.

But first I’m going to try and finish my dinner.  After they leave the room. 

50 thoughts on “Snakes and Snails and Other Things Considerably Grosser

  1. lori says:

    Of course they never outgrow this, they only ADD to their repetoire! Just wait till a big 14-year-old jumps out from behind a door to scare the b’jeebers out of you…again….and again….and again.
    I too am a mother of sons – and I love it more all the time!
    (I just found your blog tonight through CountryDoctor’sWife and have enjoyed it very much so far!)

  2. Kristen @ We are THAT family says:

    So true. It’s the mystery of the ages, really. I have one boy, and a girl on both sides of him. NO ONE gets me like he does. He compliments my hair, makeup, reminds me to wash the gray out of my hair, yet he’s also the first one to recommend a burping contest.
    I read a sign the other day that sums it up. It said:
    Boy: A noise with dirt on it.

  3. Barb @ A Chelsea Morning says:

    I’m pretty fond of little boys too now that I have my little grandson, but growing up with four brothers, it took me about forty years to change my mind. My brothers were all just as disgusting as they could be. Ugh. Cameron’s not old enough to be disgusting yet but of course he will be, sooner or later. All little boys are, I think. They’re sure worth it though. šŸ™‚

  4. jen says:

    I’m guaranteed a laugh anytime there’s a fart involved…or a good, solid belch…or booger jokes. I must have been destined to have two sons, ’cause I’m the one teaching them all the above, as well as the all-important armpit fart, noogies, and wet willies. Sigh…I used to be such a girly-girl…

  5. Ruthie says:

    “There’s a special place in heaven for a mother of three boys.” I’ll see you there; we can compare war stories.
    (I LOVE Kristen’s sign. So true!)

  6. Headless Mom says:

    Ah boys… you can’t live with them, you can’t have endless nights of little league with out them.
    Oh! And my favorite smell? Sweaty little boy head-if you don’t have one, you don’t know. šŸ˜‰

  7. jenny says:

    I have 3 boys of my own. Only one is old enough to have friends over right now, but I’m sure one day I’ll be able to talk about similar situations. I grew up with brothers, so it will take a whole lot to surprise me! I love having boys, but I’m also super grateful for my daughter who adds that special something (and plenty of drama) to our family!!

  8. Michelle says:

    Of my 5 children, my son is the oldest. He is 16, 6’1, all muscles and beautiful (I am not prejudiced or nothin’). He is also smelly and disgusting. I have to close the door to his room because of the “reek” factor. What cracks me up about him is that he can “bust a grumpy” any time he pleases, but you let one of my girls do it (yes ladies, my girls fart) and he finds it totally repulsive. He is nothing but a farting chauvinist.

  9. tracey says:

    Hmmmm…. Evolutionary reasons for loud and disgusting displays of bodily functions? Ummm… maybe to prove to potential female mates that their bodies are in fully functional order? That their dna is something to pass on cuz, “Hey! Look and smell! I can successfully digest my mammoth and greens!”
    Just a thought.

  10. Stretch Mark Mama says:

    Oh, I LOVE boys! And I am the Mama who alternately rolls her eye and then giggles at all the “noises.”
    And that appendix? Recent studies have found that the appendix is where our body’s probiotics are stored. You just think about that!!! šŸ™‚

  11. Megan says:

    It doesn’t seem to ever end. My 40 year old co-worker offered to fart the ABC’s last night at a party!

  12. suburbancorrespondent says:

    Scientists have recently discovered that the appendix is not simply a vestigial organ, as formerly thought (though its discovered function eludes me at this moment). So, sometime soon, they will also happen upon the reason behind the disgusting behavior of our sweet little men.
    Maybe practicing in reveling in the disgusting enables them to grow into men who will kill rodents and insects for their squeamish wives? One can only hope.

  13. Sheila says:

    I don’t know, Shannon. My girls are pretty enamoured by fart jokes, too. Probably not as enamoured as your boys, but enamoured nonetheless.
    I saw this really funny article once talking about how you could tell men weren’t growing up as much as they used to by the fact that advertising had tons of fart/poop stuff in it now. Remember all the ads for cars that had seagulls pooping? Or people farting?
    It used to be it was just little boys. But now grown men find it funny enough, too, that they’ll sell cars with it.
    Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

  14. maria says:

    Love, Love LOVE my boys. But give up trying to understand them. And don’t bank on them growing out of it. (says the momma with an 18 yr old)
    My youngest feels a need to ALWAYS show me what is in his tissue. No matter how many times I tell him I really don’t care, as long as it isn’t part of his brain. YUCK

  15. HeresTheDiehl says:

    I’m also the mom of 3 boys (the oldest being 5) so we’re really just getting into all the of bodily function jokes, etc…and unfortunately, a lot of them are coming from my 3 year old, who just inherently thinks things like this are funnier than his older brother does!
    I HAVE to get Kristen’s saying made into a sign; wouldn’t it look great on a laundry room wall?

  16. alex says:

    Now, I’m not sure about this but I had read somewhere that boys’ natural fascination with all things gross stems from the natural need to be unlike their mother…to stop being “cleaned and coddled” by their mom. But the way my husband loves his potty humor, I think it just sticks…or he is a 4 year old trapped in the body of a 28 year old.

  17. Ericka says:

    Being the mom of three boys I SHARE EVERY WORD YOU SAY TO THE CORE…. my four year old has decided to really add in the fun with his ‘potty’ talk that is actually getting a little old….
    I don’t always understand them, but I love them so much it hurts……

  18. Coralie says:

    I’ve always used this as proof of human depravity. You have to teach them to use a toilet, but farts for entertainment come all on their own. šŸ™‚

  19. Nancy B says:

    No boys in my house other than the one I’m married to. I just want to assure you that these scenarios also occur around the dinner table with girls. I have no idea why. I must confess that I have laughed myself to tears though during a conversation about revolting body functions (with girls)! Just trying to enjoy every moment.

  20. Jenna says:

    My husband is 29 and still giggles when you say the word “duty”… who knows? I think the fart jokes with friends has to do with male bonding/one-up manship. At least that’s what I’m chalking it up to!

  21. Linda Sue says:

    Did you and Sophie conspire on these postings? Howard sharing the smell of poot and you giving the info on fart jokes. Ahhh – the joys of highest level social intercourse (there that’ll give ’em something to giggle about for sure!) Love the humor y’all tickle me.

  22. Emily says:

    Oh my heavens, I think my childhood can be summed-up with the sound of one good fart noise! My brother incessantly farted and burped and did the armpit farting thing….drove me crazy to the point of tears when I was younger! I would cry to my parents, “Just make him STOP! I can’t TAKE it anymore!” Right now I have one girl, but I’m sure if his uncle has anything to do with it, any future son will learn to make noises with the best of them! I think I’ll find it a little more funny than I used to, though. =) My husband swears it rubbed-off on me because now I’ll die laughing if I do it in front of him, and he stays confused about why my family thinkings farting is so darn funny!

  23. Robin (PENSIEVE) says:

    I think God made boys that way to level the girls…or keep us off balance…or to enjoy life on a whole ‘nother level.
    I’m amazed, too, by how it continues and EVOLVES as they get older.
    Shannon, you might wanna buckle your seatbelt a little tighter…the teenage years are on the way!!!

  24. beth says:

    I just wrote a simliar post about my 3yr old yesterday! HAHAHAHHAHAHAH Thanks for encouraging young moms of boys! We are expecting our 2nd son in June! I”M outnumbered in my own house!

  25. Kirsten says:

    While this was a smile-inducing, light-hearted post, I feel the need to point out one thing. It may sound like an archaic behavior, but fart jokes are not evidence that we descended from cavemen because we indeed descended from Adam and Eve. Also, since it was Eve that got Adam to eat the fruit, I think we, as women, might have, in some way, caused this wierd behavior.

  26. kristena says:

    That’s hilarious! I’m about to have a baby boy, and it sounds like my future is just as I suspected it would be… šŸ™‚
    By the way, a friend from CPC told me about your blog. I’m a Tulsan, an English major, a mommy, and a fellow blogger, so I just wanted to say hi!

  27. Ann Voskamp says:

    As Mama to 2 boys and a girl, then another 2 boys and a girl, I was horrified when the youngest (4th) son taught our baby girl (2yo) with the blueberry eyes to say, “Ha! Did ya hear that? I FARTED!”
    I took her aside and taught her what my sweet little grandmother used to say: “Oh my! I dropped a rose!”
    Now when she lilts her little “O my! I dropped a rose!” I smile, knowing how happy Grandma would be…
    (Added feature? No one has any idea what she means when she speaks of dropped roses, and just think it very cute of a little girl! Better than boys broadcasting their farts! ~smile~)
    Very grateful for all these future men and women,
    Love to you, Shannon,

  28. Reynie says:

    I have two brothers and thought I would escape the fart jokes when I left the house but no, much to my delight, my husband is fascinated with them, too. It’s an odd thing.

  29. Mrs Nehemiah says:

    it’s the grossnes that allows males to interact without killing each other.
    It’s either fart jokes or swordfights.
    Mrs N

  30. Beth says:

    Do they fart on each other’s head? Mine do. Including my husband. (HE sits on THEM!) And they think it’s the funniest thing ever.
    I just run when they start all that business.
    But heaven forbid I burp or something equally gross, they’re like “Ewww! Mom, yuk!”
    Double standard. šŸ™‚

  31. Christina says:

    hmmmm, so it doesn’t get any better, huh?
    I know what you’re talking about though… I have 4 boys under the age of 6!
    Why are they so fascinated with “toots” and the word poop? My boys will find any reason in the world to use the word poop a hundred times in a conversation! yuck!
    Happy first day of SPRING!

  32. pinksandblues says:

    I laughed so hard I farted. Ooops, a lady shouldn’t admit that.
    Seriously, though… I grew up between 2 gross brothers, and if I wasn’t gross, I just didn’t fit in. I actually had a hard time finding girl friends who were like me (gross and disgusting) when I was a kid. Fortunately for me, my husband loves him a gross wife… so all is well.
    The sad thing is that one of those brothers married a woman who WILL NOT ALLOW discussion or actions of farts, burps, poop, etc. She always thought my kids (2 boys, 2 girls) were horrific. Oh, well.
    I now have 2 granddaughters, 5 grandsons 5-and-under and another grandson on the way… so yes, there is going to be plenty of shit in my house. Thankfully.
    LOVE your post!
    Sharon – Pinks & Blues

  33. pam says:

    Never had boys, lots of the girls friends were boys, who were around our home a lot, but never my own. My girls tell me if the boy was my own I wouldn’t laugh, but right now as I watch what boys come up with I think I feed their bizarre ways—I laugh a lot. Although there are times I remind some of them that just because they are boys and they think it, they don’t have to speak it, especially around girls, trying to remind them they have self control and to respect the girls. And then I laugh.

  34. Pam says:

    I found your site about a week before your compassion trip.I am a grandmother of a precious 10 year old girl (her birthday is today) and an 11 year old boy. Your children are very blessed to have a mom who will let them have friends over, sit and eat with them and L A U G H with them….they will always remember these times and so will their friends….your home will be the one that the children will come to because they feel safe and accepted there… have a perfect opportunity to model your faith and to show that loving the Lord DOES NOT mean you have to be boring…..may God continue to bless you as you bless others…..Pam, South Bend

  35. Jenni says:

    I love what you said about raising boys. šŸ™‚
    My 3.5 yo son has mild autism and has limited speech. But thanks to the high quality of communication my husband models, he can go up to his teachers and classmates and say, “Pull my finger, please. C’mon, just pull it!”

  36. Liz says:

    ~K~ got an Easter card that burped when she opens it. She kept opening and closing it over and over so it would keep burping.
    (I have yet to figure out what burping has to do with the Resurrection, but the card was cute)

  37. momhuebert says:

    Yup. I have three boys and one girl, and my daughter and I joke about living in a boys dorm. Why is it that gross topics ALWAYS come up at the supper table? ALWAYS?

  38. Gego says:

    Actual comments MANY years ago:
    Son: Mom you farted (followed by armpit sound reproduction).
    Me: Did Not.(I know I should have owned up to this act of nature that ALWAYS erupts in laughter from kids.)
    Daughter: Mom, you expelled gas, I can smell it.
    ME: Did Not.
    (Gales of laughter from back seat)
    Son: I heard it twice, Sis smelled it, and WE didn’t do it THIS time.
    For Moms of sons: Prepare to be grossed out.
    For Moms of Daughters: Prepare to be grossed out.
    This Mom’s Summary (and a lot of years in a classroom): KIDS ARE GROSS, MESSY, SOCIALLY INEPT BEINGS. That’s what Moms and Dads are for – teach them to be different.
    Hubs turned out right nice, Shan. So will the boys. Love y’all, Gego

  39. Moobeema says:

    Cavemen? We descended from cavemen? I’m confused. But I can sooo relate to the disproportionate focus on bodily functions by the boys in your sweet family. Mine are the same slimey way.

  40. Joy says:

    I have six little girls at my house right now between the ages of 5 and 11 (only 2 are mine), and as I was reading this post they were sitting at the kitchen table laughing and eating birthday cake and ice cream.
    I had just read the part of your post where you talked about how fart jokes don’t advance humankind when I heard the distinctive sound of a fart proceeding from the direction of the kitchen table where the GIRLS were sitting. And it was following by twittering and laughter.
    Boys definitely don’t hold a monopoly on disgusting behavior.

  41. Mrs. Troop says:

    Too true.
    I have four boys (and four girls) and the boys are completely disgusting at the dinner table. We’re working on it, but my mother-in-law (who raised eight wonderful boys) tells me it only gets worse. Yee haw.
    And oh the smells – you didn’t mention that. Thank the Lord for scented candles! Have a blessed Easter!

  42. Sarah says:

    Crack me up! I’ve got 3 little guys and I’m forever wondering where/how they come up with the stuff they do! Life is never dull!

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