The Playroom: Normal boy stuff

Author: Maraya Steadman '89, '90MBA

Maraya Steadman

When my son was 3, I signed him up for skating lessons at the local ice rink. Somehow now, four years later, I’m a hockey mom. And I spend a lot of time lacing up skates in boys’ locker rooms.

Most of what I hear doesn’t bother me. It’s your average potty talk, poop and butts. Then some dad will growl at the boys to stop it, and they’ll giggle and turn on some hip hop song and circle back around to wiggling butts, and then another dad will growl at them. Normal locker room stuff, “normal boy stuff,” I don’t mind it much.

I didn’t even mind when I got a hockey stick stuck down the back of my jeans when I crouched down to lace up my son’s skates. At my age I’ll take any compliment I can get. But I think the dad who did it was as surprised as I was, so I guess that wasn’t “normal boy stuff,” it was more of a mistake.

So I’m used to boys’ locker rooms, potty talk and hockey sticks and all. But today my son did something that kind of surprised me and made me uncomfortable. I think it’s probably “normal boy stuff,” like the time he and his best friend dropped their sticks and started clobbering each other on the backyard ice over who was supposed to shoot and who was supposed to pass. I was kind of upset after we had to pull them apart, but my husband just gave my concerns a chuckle and called it “normal boy stuff.”

The other night my son and his friend were playing video games down in the playroom. They didn’t know I was watching. I was enjoying myself, taking a break from the laundry, watching the boys have fun. When my son won the game, he pulled down his pants, wiggled his butt and mooned his friend. I was shocked. The boys thought it was hysterical, as did my husband when I marched upstairs to report “what those two have done now.”

I was told once again it was just “normal boy stuff,” like jumping out the windows, off the porch, on the beds and into the car, offering your sister 10 bucks to smell the dog’s butt, giggling at farts, making poop in a blender and shopping for weapons. And although I’m used to it, sometimes I falter a bit raising a boy. I question if my son is okay, normal. As a girl, I’m not always comfortable with “normal boy stuff.”

So the other day I was standing in front of our school, where we have a beautiful new statue of Mary holding the infant Jesus. As I was admiring the statue, I got to thinking that the Holy Mother raised a boy, too, and since I was just standing there waiting for my son, I started to pray and ask for some guidance. I asked for a little more patience and understanding and maybe even a few ideas on how to handle all the butt talk.

While I was praying, a little boy who was tired of waiting for his brother to get out of school walked up to the statue, dropped his pants and peed all over the Holy Mother’s feet. He pulled up his pants and ran off into the bushes to play, just normal boy stuff.

Maraya Steadman, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. Her website is Email her at