Yep. You read it right. My super cute 7 year old is not, currently, very cute at all. My husband and I can’t decide if he looks more like a hockey player or a thug after a fist fight. I know. Beauty is on the inside. But let’s just say it like it is. His mouth is looking pretty ugly.What’s most annoying about the situation is that he went upstairs with two loose teeth, and came down with only one. To clarify, the foot of one of his older brothers knocked out one loose bottom tooth, and one top middle one that was still happily snug in place, BUT MISSED THE BIG LOOSE TOOTH on the top front, which is now dangling approximately in the middle of his upper lip. I’m not particularly vain, but I must admit I’m glad school pictures are over and done with.

I’ve been encouraging him to wiggle that tooth as much as possible because it’s hard to look at him without either bursting into tears or busting out laughing, but he’s having nothing of it. My husband tried to brush it out at bedtime last night. Nothing. So off he went to school this morning looking crazy.

I’ve always said my boys were like dogs. From the very beginning, I’ve planned my days around “running” them. Life, otherwise, would just not be tolerable. If the three of them were left in the house for too long, the decibel level, I’m confident, would shatter a window. And with the way they move, their most suitable home would be a giant warehouse with padded walls, a toilet, flushable wipes (Trust me. It’s just better all the way around.), and either a fully stocked refrigerator or an “always open” burrito truck. I might add a sink, but why waste the money. They wouldn’t use it anyway.

Now that my boys are getting older, they often “run” themselves. Their preferred physical activity is this “game” they play almost daily. To come clean here, I must admit that I don’t dare go into their room long enough to actually know exactly what the game is, but my sense is that it’s some hybrid of soccer, kill the carrier, and wrestling. I do know that it almost always involves moving the mattress, and that someone always gets hurt. Generally, that just means a short pause in play. They obviously love the game because each time one suggests it, they race upstairs, practically trampling each other in their excitement. Imagine a stampede at a professional soccer game, but on a smaller scale.

My husband and I have grown used to the thumping and rattling sounds and, if sitting at the table in the room below, just breathe deeply and watch the ceiling light fixture sway. Just this weekend I was leaving the house with one of my sons and the other two were upstairs playing The Game. At the sound of a sudden thud followed by rattling windows, my kid stopped in his tracks and locked eyes with me. “What’s that!” he asked nervously. “Your brothers playing,” I responded matter of factly. “Oh,” he said. “I thought it was an earthquake!”

Parenting these guys constantly forces me to reevaluate if and when to set limits, and after last night I would be lying if it hadn’t crossed my mind to ban The Game. But upon further breathing, and after a dinner filled with much laughter about the ordeal, I thought better of it. It’s hard being three boys close in age. There’s competition, jealousy, and lots of arguing as a result. But there’s also lots of bonding play and laughter, and I want to do all I can to encourage that. And luckily, it turns out there are more teeth where those came from.

How do your boys play? Where do you draw the limit? Please share your thoughts in the “Comment” section below. I always love to hear your thinking. xo