KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Adolescence and My First Boy Child

I just barely succeeded this morning in keeping a grin off my face and a certain remark from rolling off my tongue, and if my 13-year-old son knew, he'd thank me.

For Christmas, his sister and brother-in-law gave him a cologne set. At the time, he thanked them but was embarrassed at anyone's thinking that he'd intentionally use scents in an effort to smell attractive to other people. So my spouse and I said nothing and put the cologne away in a bathroom cabinet.

This morning, as our son finished putting styling gel in his hair (which has become a weekday ritual just this school year) before the arrival of the school bus, the fragrance of an unfamiliar cologne wafted out of the bathroom and into the kitchen and living room. I'll do my best not to say anything, when he gets back home this afternoon, about our having had to turn on a fan to disperse the considerable scent cloud that he left behind. I'll probably manage to keep quiet; I haven't yet remarked to him how surprising I find his recent about-face on the desirability of deodorant. He used to scoff at suggestions that he use it.

If we don't pay close attention, it won't be long before the kid is shaving. And then driving. I feel old.


Stephanie said...

Oh, I remember that scent cloud. But when my kid brother years ago discovered cologne, my parents were not quite as gracious as you in not haranguing him about it. :)

kathyflake said...

You know, I kind of missed that scent cloud when Daughter Number Two left.

betsy said...

Uh, hmm. I have but one girl, who blessedly has never been into lace, ruffles or the color pink. But after she became eleven, anytime we didn't know where she was, we soon learned to find a mirror.

She was not vain, nor is she now, at 15. But it was as if she noticed herself for the first time as others might see her.

The next year, at age 12, she took to applying lots of black eyeliner beneath her brown eyes. It looked really stupid, smudgy on plae skin. Her body was changing, to be sure, but she still had a decidedly soft and childlike way, so this was pretty bad.

I knew she had her reasons, which I understood, mostly, and won't go into here. It was a hard and dark year in seventh grade. But, and see what you think of this, I made a BIG STINK about it, because, my reasoning goes like this: if you make a big deal out of smallish deals, perhaps that will serve the need for differentiation (a.k.a. rebellion), and they might stop at the relatively tame stuff.

Of course there are many factors in addition, but that one was almost fun. I'd growl in the car on the way to school and say, "If you don't cut back on that stuff, I'm going to confiscate it." No smile, twinkle, etc. She'd sit, silently, all the way to school. I threatened to not purchase her school pictures because as long as I was paying, I wanted to like them.

I adore her, black stuff or no black stuff. She now says it got to be way too much trouble. Spoken like a person with ADD and few routines.

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