Barracuda in your butt

By Mir
July 20, 2009

We went on the world’s shortest camping trip this weekend, because it was Monkey’s turn to have his him-and-a-friend trip, and his friend decided that one night away from home was enough for him; and Monkey, of course, concluded that staying without his buddy for another night would just be boring and wrong.

See, Otto and I like to do the following when we camp: Sit around and read, go on nature walks, take pictures, play Scrabble.

Monkey and his friend, however, opt for: Running around in circles, reenacting every Pokemon battle there ever was (including several new ones they just invented), piling up gravel and naming each of the stones and involving them in an epic story about aliens, devouring freeze pops and then using the empty sleeves as lightsabers, making up word games with as much body part and potty humor as possible, and showering with their underwear on.

It’s a different set of priorities, I suppose.

I can’t be certain, but I think the boys had a good time. Of course, I never had a chance to ask because they didn’t stop talking from the moment Franklin was dropped off at our place Saturday morning until we pulled back in on Sunday night. People say that girls are chatty, but that is obviously only because they haven’t been trapped with a couple of 9-year-old boys for 36 hours.

When we took Chickadee and Swan on their trip, there were long periods of blissful silence. It was occasionally punctuated with giggling, sure, but the girls worked on several “projects” together without constant yammering.

Monkey and Franklin not only never stopped to gulp air, they also have no volume control whatsoever, which meant the entire weekend sounded like this:




*Hysterical laughter and armpit farting ensues.*




*Hysterical laughter and retching sounds ensue.*

Otto and I huddled close to each other and tried to pretend we didn’t know them. “My eardrums are bleeding,” I whispered to my love. “I mean, I’m glad they’re having fun, but MY EARS.” Otto merely nodded. I suspect he was wearing earplugs.

We did make a few rookie mistakes on the trip, too. First, I made the boys shower BEFORE we settled in around the fire to make s’mores, because it had been a long, sticky day and I figured s’mores in pajamas would be fun. When we’d done it that way with the girls, it was fine. But I forgot that they’re, y’know, BOYS.

[Sidebar: Yes, my child actually did shower in his underwear. Rather, he stripped down and stepped into the shower and was completely soaked before he realized he was still in his undies. His explanation, later, was simply, “I forgot.” Franklin kindly reassured him with a tale of a time he’d showered in his socks. Otto—who’d been tasked with marching the boys to the bathhouse and supervising—shrugged as if to say that I should’ve been pleased he took off any of his clothing at all. He’s probably right.]

Anyway. Two freshly scrubbed boys and molten marshmallows. What was I thinking? Obviously I wasn’t. They had their fun and then got sent back up to the bathhouse to clean up and brush teeth.

My second error was that I forgot to explain the middle-of-the-night bathroom routine to Franklin. Monkey has been camping enough to know, but I didn’t think to go over it and I ended up feeling awful. See, our camper has a tiny little bathroom, but when we camp somewhere with a bathhouse nearby (and we were practically right next to it, at this campground), we don’t use it—we use the public facilities (preferable to flushing out the blackwater tank). Poor Franklin woke up in the middle of the night needing to pee and having no idea what to do, and was (I think) afraid to move. Fortunately my Mama Radar alerted me and I woke up to a small whimper. I scrambled to the rear of the camper and “rescued” Franklin—we walked up to the bathroom together—and the poor kid spent the entire 6-second walk saying, “One night is enough, I want to go home tomorrow, I need to go home tomorrow.” I felt terrible. (Can you imagine waking up somewhere strange, in the dark, needing to pee, and missing your parents? And then having to deal with me and my bedhead hair? Child’s probably scarred for life.)

Fortunately the next morning all was forgotten, and as we walked a nearby trail, the boys began an alphabet game of “There’s a _____ in my ______,” where the first item was an animal and the second, a food item. So it started with “There’s an ape in my apple” and “there’s a bear in my brownies!” and was fine for about half the alphabet, until it degenerated into more potty and body-part humor. Yep, there’s nothing like a stroll through the woods, taking in the scenery, and listening to two boisterous 9-year-olds come up with bigger and better things to announce are stuck in their butts.

We packed up late in the afternoon, and as I conferred with Franklin’s mom via phone, I informed the boys that we’d head back to our house and Franklin would be picked up. The boys barely glanced up from their Nintendos, but Monkey immediately asked, “And then can I go over to Franklin’s to play?”

I guess they weren’t done, yet. There’s a WHOLE WORLD of items yet to be discussed as hilarious wedged-in-your-butt props, inbetween plotting the next important Pokemon battle, of course.

Last night I asked Monkey how his week as an only child was going.

“It’s GREAT!” he said. “But, um, are we going to do anything fun this week?”

Then I wedged a 2×4 in his butt. The end.


  1. radioactivetori

    These are the kind of memories he will look back on when he’s older and realize he has very cool parents.

  2. debra

    I can’t stop laughing! I’m glad my son and his friends are not the only ones who seem to slip into their own secret Pokemon/StarWars/fart joke language, that only they can understand, but that everyone in a half mile radius can hear! I was beginning to worry it was just them!

  3. natasha the exile on Mom Street

    The whole Pokemon thing is BOUND to be over by the time my 3 year old boy is 9, right?


    (It’s not like I think I’ll get a pass on the body-part/ fart humor).

  4. Diahn Ott

    See – now this is what EVERY camping trip is like for me with my almost 8 and 9 1/2 year old boys.

    So funny – you’ve made my day!

  5. Tracy

    You are not kidding when you said boys are much louder and chattier than girls. It’s amazing how they don’t realize it even when they grow up. lol It sounds like ya’ll had a wonderful time.

  6. Megan

    Ah. I’ve spent the weekend mourning over how my kids aren’t kids anymore (it’s official. Damn it.) so this is a lovely little reminder that they are, however, totally delightful young adults and that not ONCE all weekend long did anyone talk about bums.

    Okay, there were three boob jokes but one of them was mine and they were all funny. No, really!

  7. Sara

    Would love to see the google hits that title brings up…

  8. Aimee

    I’m just glad the title of this wasn’t literal — I was afraid!

  9. Lylah

    The shower thing! My older son (11) had to take three showers on Saturday, because he forgot to rinse the soap off his body and out of his hair, then in the course of rinsing his hair decided to follow up with a relaxing bath oil hair conditioning treatment, which warranted a scouring to get the perfumed oil slick off his head.

    He’s very clean now.

  10. Debbi


  11. Jennifer

    Having 2 boys this describes EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE!! Between Star Wars, Indiana Jones (and the daily arguement that it’s Indiana Jones and NOT Indian Jones – which the younger brother KNOWS but just says Indian just to tick off the older brother), Pokemon and Bakugan….OH MY GOSH. I was laughing so so so hard and feeling so thankful it’s not just me!!!

  12. Lori N

    I think competitive talking is just a 9 year old sport.

    Yesterday my ears were bleeding as my daughter described a video game she made up while we were in the grocery store. It’s a very well thought out, involved game – in fact she kept talking about it for 45 minutes AFTER we had left the store!(Call me if you’re a game developer!) At one point, I asked if she could wait until we got into the car because I was having a hard time concentrating on what she was saying & she said, “Mom, all I really need is for you to say, ‘uh huh, yes, that sounds interesting, cool’ every once in a while.” :)

    Also: she and her 9 yo boy cousin spent 2 straight weeks talking non-stop every moment they weren’t playing on their DS’s or reading Harry Potter – and even then, they kept poking their heads up to talk.

    It’s a competitive sport, I tell you!

  13. Alicia

    Thanks for the “it’s not just my boy” moment. My 4 year old and his BF are the proud inventors of “burp smeller”.
    What is it? Oh thanks for asking. One participant burps, the other smells it and falls over. End of rules.

  14. dad

    I bet I would be be really good at that game. I’m a boy and I know a lot about food and comparative anatomy.

    You guys are having all the fun.

  15. Shelly in Austin

    “Are we going to do anything fun this week?” I love their short memories. At school my four year old was asked what he did over the weekend. His reply, “I didn’t do anything. Nothing at all.” When I reminded him of the water sliding, going to the river, visiting cousins that we had done, he said, “I forgot about all that.” Can I borrow that 2 x 4?

  16. Patricia

    You know, I giggled through the whole story knowing that my 5 year old isn’t far behind all of that. But when it was over — I knew, just knew, that I had to know what your dad would say. (Have I mentioned that I pink, puffy heart him?)

    Only your dad would lament the fact that he did not get to share in the food and anatomy game. And you know, I would have loved to have seen your dad play that game.

  17. BethRD

    Hey, have they ever heard the old Eddie Murphy song, “Boogie in Your Butt”? It’s hysterical, and if you can accept the general things-stuck-in-your-butt theme, OK for kids.

  18. Lori B

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one! My almost 9-year-old and his incessant body function talk makes me a little crazy. And after 45 minutes of hearing bakugan or pokemon stories, I want to poke sharp objects into my ear drums to make it stop. But, I think his two younger sisters screaming/whining/crying at each other might win out on my “things I hate list.”

    BTW, found your blog from Fasterthankudzu. Love it!

  19. Katie in MA

    HA HA HA – oh and suddenly I am glad I have two little girls. :)

  20. MaryP

    Lori N: “Competitive talking.” That’s it exactly!

    And did they do the mouth-noise thing? Both my stepsons at that age were constantly, constantly (well, when they weren’t YELLING ABOUT THOSE MORONIC POKEMON FIGURES) making mouth-noises: p-cheeeow! Bsssh! Chhhh! Fsssst! (Mostly shooting or lasers and energy bolts.) All of which tended to cause much spit-spraying.

    It was a damp and exceedingly unhygenic couple of years. Thank you for this reminder of something I am very grateful is DONE.

  21. Flea

    Bwahahaha! Thank you. My youngest just asked if two of his best friends can come spend the night. I’d almost forgotten that it’s JUST LIKE THIS. I think I’ll say no. Or yes. *sigh*

  22. Rebecca

    I’m laughing so hard! SO hard! Because I have 4 boys and I know exactly what you mean! The lack of volume control amazes me.

  23. Randi

    You brave, brave woman to take 2 9 year old boys camping!!

  24. mama speak

    I think it’s an age thing. (Not the anatomy jokes so much, although the girls do think they’re funny, they’re just busy being “princess fairies who run a resturant and want to take your starbuck order”, it’s not all the far off from pokemon, trust me.) I have 6 & 3YO girls and a 9YO niece and they suck all the air out of the hemisphere when together (which is often.) No volume control either.

    Oh, and the s’mores after shower thing; that’s why I still buy baby wipes. ;-) And will for the rest of my life, those things will clean ANYTHING!!!

  25. tripleblessings

    Awesome post! We’ve been enjoying a lot of play dates with 3 9 year old girls and/or 2 boys who are 9 and 8 years old (our triplets plus our neighbour’s 9 and 8 year olds.) LOTS of giggling, silly made-up stories, and rude jokes from all 5 kids. The boys really go crazy with the LONG detailed explanations of their made-up stories, plots of movies, and mouth-noise soundtracks to almost every activity. The girls argue more and make more sarcastic remarks, but also giggle more at jokes that make no sense to me. All can be loud! Still I think 3 girls are louder than 2 boys…

  26. Brigitte

    Got a Nickel, in my butt
    Sure do tickle, in my butt . .

    Gee, THANKS, BethRD! ;-)

  27. Sharon

    When you wrote about camping with chickadee and her friend and mentioned the next trip would be with monkey and his friend I actually thought, good luck with the latter. I have two boys and they are awesome, but what I wouldn’t give for a 1/2 hour of quiet time where they work on a “project”. You just don’t get that with boys. It’s always loud and messy.

  28. Yvonne

    As a single mom of a 9 year old – only child – I am enjoying every minute of this phase. It’s exhausting, but nonetheless fun. Loved your story!

  29. Wendy

    So typical! Every day when my son gets home from camp, I ask him how it was and what they did. The response is generally something like:

    “We pooped on our butts and then our butts were on fire and then we pooped some more!”

    Why I continue to ask the same question everyday is beyond me.

  30. Lindy

    Haha Monkey and Franklin sound sort of like my husband and his best friend when they’re drinking. Except replace Pokemon with UFC fighters.

    I still maintain camping with a camper isn’t really camping. Camping is sleeping in a tent on the ground (or under a blanket in your truck bed), eating whatever you can cook over a campfire without setting it on fire or dropping it in the fire, and pooping in a cathole. Though I don’t know how anyone could manage that with a couple 8 (9?) year olds. Lord knows how my parents did it.

  31. bec 39

    @BethRD: I totally thought of “Boogie in Your Butt” too. That was a fave in camp!

  32. Lulu

    I also had a nonstop-talking boy. I remember having to tell him when he was 6 or so, “I think my ears are full.” He looked at me with wide eyes, but was quiet for a few minutes after that. I wielded that weapon carefully, I tell ya, so it never failed to get at least a couple minutes of blissful, glorious quiet.

  33. ChristieNY

    absolutely hilarious! boys sure are strange little creatures, aren’t they? ;)

  34. Jessica (@It's my life...)

    My daughter once took a bath with her socks on. She was 18 months old and my husband is the one who put her in the tub. I guess guys never outgrow that whole “clothing in the tub/shower” thing…

    It occurs to me that this 24hr camping trip was GREAT prep for the 48 hours coming up this weekend. I’m willing to bet that 2 9-year-old boys have NOTHING on 1000+ women after a couple glasses of wine.

  35. djlott

    one blessing from being hard-of-hearing…. when the kids get too loud I just remove my hearing aid!!

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest