The High Activity Level of Boys




The High Activity Level of Boys PICT0220_1

The High Activity Level of Boys

I got a call from my neighbor the other day asking me what my mode of operation was with my boys to dispel their frenetic energy on these cold fall days. We commiserated about how the energy of our boys has escalated with the changing weather and how they are reluctant to go outside, leaving us with pent up craziness on all fronts.

Even when eating at the kitchen counter they are unable to stop moving. Usually Hootie-Hoo begins the humming as he happily eats and the other two unconsciously join in. I marvel at how unaware they are of it, the noise, the hum, the fidgeting.

With Thumper now a 10 year old, as he helps me write out a menu for a special dinner we are having I soak up his gracefully tall, slim body which has not yet hit that awkward stage. Memories of him as an expressive, funny, curly headed, naked toddler flashed before me.

His face is becoming more like an adults but his eyes still have the inquisitive, innocent expression from his baby days and every smile and every gesture of love that emanates from his body still warms my soul.

He towers over his brothers often flying off of a piece of furniture to “torture” them, wrestling them to the ground with his sixty-eight pounds of sinewy muscle.

I am waiting for Axel’s big growth spurt but for now he is still little and quietly thoughtful. The other day he commented at the breakfast table that there was something wrong with this life. I wasn’t surprised by this philosophical statement and looked over to hear the rest of his pontification. There he was standing next to a box of Life cereal and was merely commenting on the taste.

I think that I have ruined him lately with my inability to cope with all of his mess. “Yes, mommy,” he replies when I ask him to do something, and then he doesn’t do it. I don’t want him to tread lightly around me with the fear that his boyish ways will stir the disturbing fire that burns within me and spark at every annoying thump or war cry. I must quench that fire.

Hootie-Hoo skips around the house singing and giggling and turning all of my chores into a game, talking incessantly, which makes it difficult to slip off into my own dream world. When he demands an answer from me I tell him that mommy sometimes likes to be quiet and go off to different worlds. He tilts his head sideways to think and replies a few seconds later with, “Mommy, are you going to ever come back to this world?”

Just when I think that I have become numb to all the noise Baddy walks in the door from work yelling out, “Who let the natives out of their cages?”

I remind him that he was once a crazy, loud boy, like his sons, dancing on tables in the classroom and hiding under his sisters bed to scare her at night. He shakes his head and laughs in complete denial.

As a mother of three boys I have no choice but to love and accept their innocence, their playfulness, their youth, their boyhood and fight back the desire to have a peaceful, harmonious home where the buzz is a little softer and the furniture remains in tact.

I will say this, they are most lovable when they are peacefully asleep in their own beds.


  1. I’ve often caught myself NOT reprimanding their wild ways only to have my husband come behind me and get after them. I hope that once in awhile, he and I get on the same page and allow them to be their energetic crazy selves. Like you, I don’t want them to feel stifled by my need for quiet.

  2. Hi Jillian!
    Well let’s just take a peek at the next stage. (this one is the insane stage so all I can do is light a candle for you!) but next is puberty. It’s a crash stage. They sleep. They lounge. They sleep. You’ll take their pulse! They are devoid of energy – except to argue – and you will want to give them super-vitamins OR a kick in the ass to move them! It’s always somethin! Just as soon as you get used to one stage they are into another. Sorry you are somewhat stuck with this one for awhile – but this too shall pass!

  3. Have you read this book?

    “Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys”
    by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson

    It’s amazing. I started reading a copy from the library, then immediately went online and ordered 3 copies. One for me, one for Kevin and one for a women I barely know whose son is in my class and needs it as much as I do.

    I cannot recommend it highly enough. It offers so much understanding as to why they act as they do and interesting ideas about how to handle it. It’s fascinating analysis, insight and eye opening case studies. Since your from my neck of the woods, you’ll appreciate that the two authors have been among other things psychs for years at the all boy schools Belmont Hill and St. Sebastians.

    Link to Amazon:


    PS: Took my kids swimming at the Y until 6:30p to tire them out. It kind of worked…better than having them in the house anyway. It’s cold here too, now.

  4. My brother has four boys, all under the age of 11 (I think they had them all three years apart), and like you he’s letting his boys be boys. My mother and I are horrified simply because my mother did not raise us to be anything other than dutiful, quiet children. So my brother’s boys lucked out and it sounds like yours are, too. Imagine being able to grow up exactly as you are? No one telling you things that make you feel that you’re not worthy exactly as you are?
    I admire you, Jillian. If I ever have kids, I’ll have to get in touch with you for some more tips.

    By the way, I’ve been praying for Thomas Walsh every day, and have friends who have done the same. We’re wondering if there are any updates you could share?

  5. Hi Jillian – Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Wow, you sure do have your hands full! I like how your writing conveys the sheer force of this boy energy. I don’t have kids, but, I do have three older brothers. So I grew up in a house where I was pretty overwhelmed by that boy energy. Plus my mom was raising us on her own so my rowdy brothers were often unsupervised. I appreciate reading your post, because you’ve taken me back to something I almost forgot about, and given me a different perspective on it.

  6. I read your blog with awe. I come from three girls who managed, between us, to have six daughters and four step-daughters. Personally, I had an “only” who was happy to entertain herself with books and make believe that developed in to writing short stories, then novellas. Quite different from the picture you have painted here. My daughter, however, has managed to have two sons, both under two years old at the moment. I will be sending her a link to your blog immediately.

    Thank you for the insight into a world I have never inhabited. Oh, and my oldest sister? Has a granddaughter, of course.

    • I also came from three girls and all three of us had boys our first babies, they continued to have girls. We climbed trees and behaved very similarly to the boys, wrestling all the time and playing outside.

      Sometimes I can’t believe that I am surrounded by all of this energy but other times I am right there with them being silly and crazy.

  7. Hi Jillian.

    I grew up with three older brothers as well and what I thank them for is keeping me down to earth.
    Your boys do the same.
    “There is something wrong with life” and he is talking about the cereal. You have to love them for it.

    Nothng with my brothers was ever sacred and they made fun of me, their little sister every which way they could.
    It made me be so much less precious about things and my ego had no show.

  8. Ah, three boys. It is my life as well. And it is crazy. And I am exhausted by noise. And movement. And wrestling. Bloody lips. Skinned knees. Fighting, squealing, shrieking boys.

    And it is no secret that I long for a daughter. A daughter who will be just as energetic as her brothers, but carry the heart, soul and mind that a woman carries. With our third boy being only 18 months I have not quite figured out if we’ll attempt a fourth child. My husband thinks I’m OUT THERE for even considering it. But I cannot let go of my vision. My little girl vision.

    I think if I could, my life with the boys would be somehow a tiny bit easier. I often feel like this great outsider in my own home, even though I am silly and loud and messy with them just as you claimed to be…at time.

    It’s difficult to imagine that it will always just be me. This one woman. With no daughter to impart my thoughts to. That I’ll be thinking only in boy ways, with a boy brain, for the rest of my maternal life. And seriously, if I have to teach a male in this house HOW TO LOOK FOR SOMETHING THAT’S LOST one.more.time…

    • Oh Sarah you do make me laugh!! I’m sorry to say that your vision of a little girl will not ever go away, it will only get worse as you start to panic as you get older.

      My advice? I know that this may sound strange but I sometimes feel that these strong convictions that we have that we need another child are not coming from us but from a greater source and so you may indeed have that fourth and it may indeed be another boy but one thing is for sure, that fourth child will be a very special addition to your lives.

      Personally I feel that if I had another child I would have to be committed.


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