Parenting did not come naturally to me. I was totally unprepared to be the mother of four sons. It felt at times as if I had been transported into an alien culture. I was astonished to learn that boys did not sit for hours playing quietly with their toys. They did not willingly submit to frequent sponge baths and other ritual cleansings. They did not walk chastely through the house, carefully avoiding the lovely bric-a-brac adorning every table. They ran. They leaped. They thundered. Stairways were put there for them to slide down, using rugs, pieces of cardboard, garbage can lids, or just their butts. Bathrooms were conveniently supplied with sinks so that they could lock the doors and flood them. Art objects were meant to serve as projectiles, accompanied by an assortment of sounds that apparently only males are genetically equipped to make.