“I don’t know what to write about this week,” I lamented to Logan a few days ago as we chatted after the kids had gone to bed. “My deadline is tomorrow, and I haven’t written anything.”
“Hmmm,” he said distractedly, keeping one eye on the text conversation he was having with his brother, who was asking if giving his wife a camping cot for her birthday was a good idea (answer: no). “I’m sure you’ll think of something. You always do.”
“But nothing seems funny right now,” I continued. “Summer’s been going on for a hundred years, and everyone’s just bored. Even the cat let out a big sigh as he walked past me this afternoon. I think he’s depressed.”
“You know what you could write about?” Logan piped up, completely uninterested in the midlife crisis gripping our cat but suddenly very invested in my writer’s block. “You should write about all the gross things our little boys do. There’d be no end to your material. It would be hilarious.”
“All the gross things?” I asked doubtfully. “Like what?”
“Well, like the time at the lake last week when Henry jumped into the water and said, ‘I’m making a hot spot. Anyone want to connect to my Wi-Fi?’ ”
“Yeah, that was pretty gross,” I admitted. “Or how about the fact that their dirty laundry has been almost nonexistent since March because they basically wear their pajamas all day and never change their underwear?”
“Exactly!” Logan exclaimed. “Except the same could be said about pretty much any little boy in the world right now.”
“True. Remember the text I got a couple months ago from my best friend Natalie? She said her 12-year-old came up to her recently and asked why his armpits smelled like a fast food burrito. She had to do a whole birds-and-the-bees-puberty talk right there at the kitchen table, just so she could gently break it to him that he needed to start showering and wearing deodorant.”
“Honestly, Natalie should be grateful he was only giving off a vague burrito aroma,” Logan countered. “I was almost 14 before I realized that I smelled like the inside of a llama pen at the county fair.”
Logan went back to his phone, and I mulled over the many other disgusting things my boys had done in the past. There was the time last year when I was out driving with 4-year-old Hyrum, and I heard a slurping sound coming from the back seat of the car.
I turned around to see what was going on and was appalled to discover that he was sucking on the shoulder strap of the seat belt. He looked at me and frankly offered by way of explanation, “That’s just the buckle juice.” Gross.
And don’t even get me started on the bodily functions. If only what happened in the bathroom stayed in the bathroom is my fondest wish. Instead, we get regaled with fart noises (both real and simulated) on the regular, and I’ve come to accept the fact that our entire backyard is a urinal for all boys ages 3 to 10.
My boys have even dedicated a special spot nicknamed “Pee Pee Rock” for doing their No. 1 business when they just can’t be bothered to come inside. As you can imagine, we don’t entertain outdoors very often.
“I don’t know, honey,” I said after a few minutes of pondering the exploits of my feral youngest sons. “Half the stuff they do isn’t fit to print. And I don’t think their tamer shenanigans could fill a whole column.”
Logan paused, thoughtful. “Maybe if you’re lucky, the boys will do something gross in the morning, and you can write it up before your deadline,” he offered helpfully. It was, in a strange way, comforting. Because no matter how bad my writer’s block, my kids will always be there to provide fresh material.
I went to bed that night unconcerned about making my deadline knowing that my boys would probably wake up the next morning eager to tell me about the dreams they had of farting space ships and aliens with two butts.
Writer’s block has nothing on the Ditto boys.
Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and a random menagerie of farm animals in Spokane Valley. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.