As the only female in my male dominated household, I’ve become accustomed to some of the idiosyncrasies of my situation. Things I used to wonder and shake my head at no longer faze me and I ponder whether they’ve rubbed off on me a little too much.

Flinging cloths and tossing trivets

There’s the constant need to throw everything.

Can’t we clear the table without lobbing the milk jug to our brother who is standing ready at the open fridge door?! Must the cloth be flung rather than passed across the table, only to land like a wet blanket over top of my dinner. But as much as it drives me crazy, I’ve jumped on board tossing trivets (silicone mats for my pot) like Frisbees to one of many willing receivers every time we set the table. And more than once, I’ve caught myself tossing food or salt and pepper shakers and wondering how it’s come to this. But I must admit, the speed with which a table can be set when everything gets chucked across the kitchen is quite remarkable and I’ve even learned (at times) to appreciate it.

Our dinner table conversations are not constantly punctuated with burps or farts, but it does happen more often than I’d like. I haven’t completely changed my ways, and I don’t just ‘let it rip’ off the dining room chair, but I’ve learned to roll my eyes and carry on with our conversation rather than investigate the culprit and wait for the appropriate “excuse me.”

I just don’t have the energy.

What were you thinking?

But the thing I just can’t get on board with, that I don’t think I’ll ever understand, is their “do first and think later” mentality. Not to say this hasn’t benefited me. The boys have super quick reactions and Steve has saved more than one of our children from injury by sacrificing himself and jumping in while I’m still processing the situation. But the number of injuries, close calls and embarrassing moments due to this way of thinking, or should I say not thinking, is staggering to me.

I’ve learned the futility of asking, “why?” or “what were you thinking?” There is usually a blank stare, some stammering and an answer that is simply not satisfying to a frustrated mother.

Caleb, why did you tell your baby brother to jump off your bunk bed?” as we head to the hospital for x-rays. —Uhh…I don’t know.

Drew, why did you waste dozens of raw eggs for target practice on the barn wall?” —Ahh…I don’t know.

Aiden, why were you playing tag with your eyes closed?” as we head to the clinic for stitches —Umm…I don’t know.

Owen, why would you use dad’s razor-sharp utility blade to whittle a fishing rod?” as we head to the clinic for more stitches — Huh…I don’t know.

Levi, why did you ‘pants’ your brother in front of the soccer team as he hung from the monkey bars?” —Hmm…I don’t know.

Steve, why did you think cornering a fully-grown ram was the best way to capture him?” as we straighten out his broken and crooked nose —Well, now…I don’t know.

Surprised by snaps

But I think the worst one of all, the one that still makes me shake my head and turns my cheeks red was the day Caleb decided to act on an impulse that was most definitely not thought out.

Our youth pastor was standing at the front of the youth, giving a serious talk about something. Caleb, like the faithful, co-operative participant he usually was, sat in the front row listening, when he noticed that Koenraad’s shirt was different than most. Instead of being a button up shirt like he was accustomed to seeing on his dad, it was held together by snaps.

And what happened next is the exact reason I’ll never fully understand my men.

Caleb reached out with those lightning fast reflexes I was talking about, grasped both sides of the bottom of Koen’s shirt and yanked in opposite directions. What followed was the satisfying sound of seven snaps ripping apart, an abrupt end to Koenraad’s sermon as he looked down and saw his bare chest exposed for everyone to see, and the light bulb moment when Caleb’s eyes widened, his mind caught up with what his hands had done and he finally considered, “why?”

And the inevitable answer, “Uhhhhhhh…I don’t know.”

I may have become desensitised to much of the male behaviour that goes on in my household, but I think it’s safe to say that they will not completely convert me. As the lone female in the house, I still cling to a few girly things and you never know, someday, their future girlfriends/wives may thank me.