“I wanna do it!”

Whenever I go outside to do some man work, which hasn’t been often lately, I find an eager huddle of young helpers circling my ankles. You’d think we keep these kids chained in the basement for all their enthusiasm about going outside to dig a hole.

Over the July 4th weekend, I planned on doing one caulking project to ease myself back into the world of the useful. Somehow I was able to complete this project without any of the hindrance known as little boys being helpful. For all the good the project accomplished I might as well have had truckloads of their help.

I meant to relax the rest of the weekend, so as not to lead my wife into the illusion that I would be regularly useful around the house, but we stumbled into a trees and shrubs sale at buzz-kill Home Depot.

hunt and peck

“I wanna do it!” syndrome affects inside jobs as well, like computer work. This one’s helping me write my blog.

For years, we’ve had boxwood, or dogwood, or some horrible wood-suffixed plant growing in front of our living room windows. Whichever [random noun]wood bush smells like cat pee on a summer breeze, that’s the one.

Some half-priced rose bushes were just screaming to take the whateverwood’s place. I, and more importantly, my wife, heard their cries.

On Sunday afternoon, I hitched up my big boy pants and headed out to make the switch. I was followed outside by two boys, who having missed their earlier chance to pitch in, would not be denied this opportunity to help.

The first task was to trim the urinewood so I could get at its roots. The moment I started clipping, Big Brother was all over me. “I wanna do it!” he demanded.

Buster wouldn’t be left out. “I wanna do it!”


I wanna do it!” love for the vacuum cleaner wears thin as soon as they are actually capable of pushing it.

Big Man had been made to stay in the house, and now he looked out at us through the window screen, giggling and making Dada words that certainly translated into a one-year-old’s version of “I wanna do it!”

When boys say “I wanna do it!” what they mean is: I want to use these tools to do something that is less work and more fun than what you want me to do with them.

As soon as I had instructed them what to do with the tools that their budding reservoirs of testosterone had commanded them to co-opt, they were off cutting bits off every plant in the yard except the one I had pointed them at. That one was too hard to cut. Gladiolus shoots were much easier, and proportionally more fun, to clip.

Fortunately, it only took clipping a few flowers for me to get at the roots of the shrubbery, 15 feet away. The task of picking up and carting off their clippings and mine cured them of their desire to help. Anything that resembles cleaning up will do that for boys. They found their own games to play and I dug three holes, free and clear of the burden of help.

It turned out to be a lovely afternoon.

The new babies have big shoes to fill.

The new babies have big shoes to fill.


45 comments on ““I wanna do it!”

  1. “When boys say “I wanna do it!” what they mean is: I want to use these tools to do something that is less work and more fun than what you want me to do with them.” Exactly. This also goes for girls.

  2. George says:

    Children have their own language. It’s up to us to interpret the message..:)

  3. mewhoami says:

    Anything that even remotely points to work or cleaning is a great way to get kids to find their enjoyment elsewhere. We had the “urinewood” next to our house a couple of years ago. It was awful. To open the windows meant that within twenty minutes the whole house would wreak of cat urine. Horrible! The landscapers must have gotten rid of it when I wasn’t looking, because the smell has been gone for a while now. Glad you got a replacement, and a better smelling one at that.

    • I don’t know why anybody plants urinewood. They say the deer don’t like it, but that’s not reason enough. There are lots of questionable landscaping choices of former owners throughout my yard, and those damned deer don’t seem to want to eat any of them.

      • mewhoami says:

        That reason would be acceptable I suppose, if it actually worked. But for those like me who live in the city, planting that makes no sense whatsoever. We don’t have deer here. Landscapers are just stinking up the neighborhood for no reason. haha

  4. We live in a neighborhood developed in the 50s and early 60s when urinewood was all the rage. I feel your pain. It’s also Hosta Hell because of all the trees everyone planted. No one could think of anything original to plant in the shady spots. The yard will never be done.

    You have three adorable boys, Scott.

  5. A.PROMPTreply says:

    Well, the good news is that the new plants are so small that the boys won’t go after them with the trimmers next time so they should be safe and make it to maturity at least. I don’t know why but I always envision you with a boy on each leg while you walk around, perhaps because of posts like this! Your gravatar photo has to be the most appropriate one I’ve ever seen and always makes me laugh.

  6. AmyRose says:

    I have those pee bushes but they fit right in here seeing there is always a cat or two in my gardens. As for roses, I hope you bought the ground cover variety because um well, they are a lot of WORK to grow. You have to learn how to prune them, and which products to use for disease, and which products to use for insects, and they require a lot of fertilization. You may think twice about those roses and put back those bushes that were maintenance free. Just sayin’. 😉
    And oh by the way I am reading your book and I am really REALLY enjoying it!! I think it is wonderful and can hardly wait to pick it up again on my “breaks” I randomly take from all I do. Great job, Scott. I mean that. It is a very well written book, and it has a lot in it for anyone to think about regarding the Higher Path in Life. I’m on page 94 and I just started reading it last evening!! LOL ❤

    • Well, the roses wouldn’t be the first plants I’ve killed. If I can’t keep them alive, I’ll have to find something easier, but not stinky, to fill the space. Good thing they were half price, right?
      Thanks for your kind words about the book. I love getting feedback from readers. If you still like it as much when you get to the end, please, tell your friends! The best advertisement is a satisfied customer, and I need all the advertising I can get (especially the free kind). 🙂

      • AmyRose says:

        Done deal, Scott! It is getting more difficult to find quality books these days. I was shocked the last time I went to the library as I tried to find a book that was well written. Speaking of, out of the generosity of my Heart, I gave some English writing tips to a young someone on a blog here, and it wasn’t taken well. The last time I checked this person is till writing with bad grammar and inappropriate spacing. So much for trying to teach the young who don’t even know it, but were not even taught the basics in school. How sad. I think I am giving the spiel because I KNOW you will make sure your boys get at least the basics. Kids these days are not even taught script. That blows my mind. Tangent here. LOL 🙂

        • This is why I only give advice to my boys. They have no choice (for now) but to listen to me. And if they get bent out of shape about it, I can send them to bed early.

          • AmyRose says:

            Hehehehehe I am learning to well keep my mouth shut. It just grates against a nerve when I see bad grammar, and inappropriate English. Our nation is becoming illiterate slowly, so slowly so that most people won’t notice. I do. Good luck with your boys! I’m doing what I can with the 3 year old next door!!! 🙂

            • Good luck with the kid next door. Kids next door can be tough customers. 🙂

              • AmyRose says:

                It’s the mom that is the tough customer. 🙂

                • Good luck all the way around, then.

                  • AmyRose says:

                    Scott, what concerns me the most, is that this little boy is not getting enough stimulation or space to be a boy. Nor is his brilliance being encouraged to be brought forth. Already I am seeing this little boy just stare into space with a blank expression on his face, and also with acting out behaviors that parents are not stopping. I am seeing a slow decrease in his aliveness, if you know what I mean. Parents are putting him in school this September so I am hoping that this little boy will start getting the proper attention he really needs. I am only a woman doing her best to draw this little boy out by pressing the curiosty button. And of course I have to be silent regarding how these parents are bringing not only him up but his small sister. To SEE your boys rumble and tumble and BE BOYS brings such great JOY to my Heart. Wishing all little boys in this world could be so lucky!!!

                    • Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can do.

                    • AmyRose says:

                      I know, but that still does not stop me from at least trying. Now I find out that this little boy will not be going to school because his parents will not spend the $$$ for him to attend. Yet they can build a huge house, which they are right now. I need say no more.
                      I finished your book and I cried. What a wonderful story, yet at times just heart breaking. I could see myself in that story in so many ways. In my opinion, you have a book that ALL young people need to read … heck, your book needs to be on the reading list in schools (is that still done?). SO many Life Lessons contained in this book, and how when one is faced with disappointment and adversity, we really do have the CHOICE to recreate our lives. I will definitely recommend your book to those I know and I will leave a glowing review on amazon. Great job, Scott!!! Your boys are really in GOOD hands with you!!!! ❤

                    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, Amy. Thank you for your kind words. It’s always a great thing to hear that your work touched somebody in some way. I would love to get it one reading list as you mentioned, but I think it has to develop a certain level of popular appeal before that would ever happen. The first step is letting people know it’s there. I’m working at it, but I need lots of help. That’s why I so much appreciate your willingness recommend it . Thank you!

  7. Maybe the urine smell was attracting the skunk. If you keep solving these problems you’re going to run out of blog material. Oh wait, you have three boys, you won’t ever run out.

  8. Snooze, I think you have a breathtaking understanding of what little men really want to do. :O)

  9. Gibber says:

    You never cease to make me laugh. Did you actually get any time to relax without your big boy pants..

  10. markbialczak says:

    Great helpers, Scott, learning how to turn their attention quickly sideways. That will serve them well their entire man-lives, as we know.

    Those rose bushes are going to be great! Nice job. Imagine the leap in smell-o-rama alone. 🙂

  11. We’re redoing our yard–completely–this summer, which is proving to be about five billion times harder than it should be with three little helpers…we can totally relate!

  12. yearstricken says:

    In the phrase, “I wanna do it,” the “it” the child is talking about is something residing in his or her imagination and has nothing to do with the the “it” you are doing.

  13. pieterk515 says:

    It’s interesting how a woman’s desire always turns into a man’s job…Seems it’s another thing humans have in common.

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