Oh my! I wasn't ready for this, I suppose because Neil, now 12½, has never had any clue what to make of girls, other than playmates.
Since kindergarten, Neil's played at M's house and she's played here. Now, M., though very sweet, is not a girly girl. But within the last year, she's been showing up here freshly showered and smelling faintly of floral cologne—and sometimes even wearing barely colored lip gloss. I commented on her nice scent to Neil, after she'd left one day, and he said that he hadn't even noticed it.
Neil and his little brother are now out of school for the summer, so about an hour ago he decided to call M., who, like him, just finished seventh grade, and invite her over. He got off the phone quickly and told me, his face wearing his it's-no-big-deal look that barely hid his smile, "M's coming over in a few minutes." She lives a couple of blocks away.
Next thing I know, I smell my husband's musky cologne. Neil had gone into the bathroom to spiff up. He didn't think of combing his hair—I had to mention that to him, because it was sticking out in all directions, and that wasn't on purpose either. But then he reached up into the medicine cabinet, found one of his dad's favorite colognes, and spritzed himself with it. Manly-smelling preteen.
I didn't have long to think about the fact that Neil is growing up.
In his rush to be ready by the time M. was at our front door, Neil left his father's cologne bottle out on the bathroom counter, uncapped. A few minutes later, he and M. went into the backyard to hang out. Suddenly, I started coughing uncontrollably. Apparently, 5-year-old Jared had decided he wanted to imitate his brother and wear cologne ... but sprayed all over his body instead of one gentle spritz.
Then I tried to convince Jared that he should play in the front yard or indoors while M. was over, to give her and Neil some space, rather than running out into the backyard to play around them. After all of that, Neil looks in through the back-door window, sees Jared helping me out with something but watching him and M., and invites Jared to come out and play.
I guess Neil hasn't grown up that much yet.
Neil parenting childhood preteen preadolescent cologne EditorMom