Instructions not included

They didn’t tell me about boys. They being the child rearing books – the ones that, having now raised a girl and a boy, I believe are written solely from the perspective of bringing home a little baby girl.

Even tho I’d grown up as the eldest of four – and two of my siblings being boys, and I’d worked for several summers as a lifeguard – which included the task of cleaning the changing rooms. Being on the team that got the girl’s room was a promotion – for the boys room was disgusting in ways that cannot be forgotten.

Even with those experiences of growing up with and having to lord over boys – nothing prepared me for actually raising a boy.

Art on the Walls is one example. Regardless of how many times he has to clean the walls, if there is a location where the Boy will be spending any amount of time longer than 10 minutes, you are guaranteed to find speckles of boogers. One day you’ll be sitting at the computer looking up a recipe for dinner and *BAM* you look over to the wall and there is a masterpiece of nastiness.

But the smell. Ho-boy. The smell. I was wholly unprepared for that. It arises from a combination of private stashes of food that’s been snuck up into his room, dishes left over from ‘snacks’ we were unaware of, clothes that fail to make it into the laundry and the general smell of a growing child.

As BW’s room is across the hall from the master bedroom, we often look in on it to keep track of the state of his room.

During one spell of ‘the boy needs to take responsibility for his area’ where he insisted that he was grown enough to tend to his room without prompting and I was exasperated rom tending to his room only to have it tossed within moments of him arriving home.

The week started out well, since I’d spent the day before cleaning his room and restoring it to a loosely organized place. But as the week progressed, the smell in is room deteriorated into a nasty almost putrid state. With each passing day the depth and offensive nature of ‘the smell’ grew to the point where both Charles and I wondered if a rodent had finally made it’s way up to his room and actually died (as we’ve told him would eventually happen if he kept hiding food in his room.)

Finally, no longer able to withstand the stench, once the kids were off to school, I entered his room with the sole task of finding and conquering ‘The Smell’.

After two trips to the kitchen, and another few to the laundry room and airing out his room – the smell remained, growing more pungent with each passing moment.

‘What, in the name of all that is holy, is that smell, and what died in here?’

After spending the morning in BW’s room, I was no longer able to withstand the stench and turned to leave seeking fresh air. It was then, from the corner of my eye that I saw the source of the death-stench and face-palmed myself.

The Hoya.

We’ve just celebrated Mother’s Day yet the night temperatures are not yet stable enough to remain above freezing so many of the plants that have been overwintered indoors are beginning to bloom.

This particular Hoya is a massive beast with the most beautiful of flowers oftentimes sporting upwards of 30 or so ‘globes’ when in full bloom. Also called wax flower, the scent of these waxy globes is a delicate perfume that entices the senses, unless of course, it’s trapped in a pre-teen boys room.

Then the concentration of so much fragrance in one place smells like death.

Once the offending plant had been relocated to the deck and the boy’s room allowed to air out (for real this time), it was amazing how fresh the house smelled.

When BW got home from school and discovered that his favorite plant had been relegated to the deck for the remainder of the summer – he expressed a mournful sadness – “Mama, I miss how lovely that plant smelled. It gave my room a certain… character. Can I bring it back in?”

Character indeed. Not until fall little buddy. Not until fall. We need the summer to forget just how much character your room had this week.

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