As a mother of four boys, a truism I state often is "boys are different". They think differently, behave differently, and play differently. My two youngest boys love to play "rock, paper, scissors". Their version is called "rock, paper, lasers" and lasers beat everything every time. They also like to have gun battles all the time. At the dinner table carrots or pieces of macaroni can be used as guns. Outside a stick will suffice. At church they use their elbows instead of fingers to "get one over" on mom and dad. Our priest commented a couple of weeks ago that our pew reminded him of the O.K. Corral and he recommended Last Rites for any fallen heroes.

My oldest son is a snake lover. Remember, he had a snake we lost in the house, which has since been sold (the house, not the snake). A couple of years ago when my boys were visiting their grandma, she found a three and one half foot black snake. She pointed it out to the boys who ran and caught it. She then found a box to put it in so they could take it home. Marie has since been fired as grandma, although the boys elevated her to "grandma of the year". When I arrived to take everyone home, I discovered my extra passenger. My oldest triple checked the tape holding the box lid closed and packed it in the back of the van.

Two hours into the trip home, my daughter turned to look out of her window and was nose to nose with the snake. She screamed at the top of her lungs and I slammed on the brakes, followed closely by the car behind me. I yelled for my oldest to get the snake.

He countered with, "It's not safe for me to get out of my seat belt on the highway".

I told him he would be less safe if he didn't "move his butt and get that snake".

He was able to grab the snake before it landed in his sister's lap and he spent the next half hour bent over the back seat holding the snake, trying not to get bitten. The drama was taking place behind everyone's backs. We could hear him talking to the hissing snake. I tried to sit with my feet on the seat, but couldn't reach the gas pedal, so I decided to just floor it. The second oldest boy kept telling me I was speeding and I was going to get a ticket.

I replied, "I dare a cop to give me a ticket. I'll give him a snake".

We pulled into our driveway and everyone but the snake handler was out of the car before I took the keys out of the ignition. The smart mouthed driving instructor opened the trunk lid and my oldest handed off the snake. He scrambled out of the car and when he reached to take the snake back, it bit him. The second in command screamed and the two year old reached for the snake. The snake lover jerked the snake out of the baby's reach and it sprayed him with some kind of musk. It smelled worse than skunk. I ushered everyone, but the smelly boy into the house and went to look for the aquarium in the garage. At this point I was still going to allow the snake to stay. I know, crazy woman. I like to refer to myself as "mom of the year".

That evening when I came home from having numerous drinks with my girlfriend, my husband told me the boys had decided to get rid of the snake. Relief set in until I was informed that they had let it go in some shrubs at the back of the yard (300 feet from the house). My only comment to the big boy in charge was, "Well, you're the one who goes into the crawl space, not me". He looked horrified. I smiled.

It is not only games and critters that make boys different. They just seem to think differently about everything. Another example is the time my mom went into the hospital. All the kids made "get well" cards. My daughter had hearts and flowers all over hers with the traditional "get well soon" crayoned across the top. My little boy drew race cars and guns on his card and had me write "feel better so you can play with me". My ten year old's card was the one that really stood out. He had drawn grandma on a gurney with an I.V. dripping red crayon. The eyes were X's and he wrote "get well or else. Love, Me". I didn't send that one, but don't tell "Me".