Maybe if it hadn’t been a snow day filled with lolling about and lying around, this milestone might have gone unnoticed. But twelve-year-old Thing1, getting as big as a good-natured Goliath these days, made the mistake of mentioning that he wanted a shower on a slow news day. The Big Guy and I looked at our son and then back at each other, the same question on our minds.
I think the Big Guy was the first to ask Goliath point blank if there was a girl involved. Our firstborn immediately rebuffed such a ridiculous suggestion. His hair was too long, he said. It was too warm and he needed to cool off.
I don’t mean to imply that Goliath doesn’t shower regularly. But anyone who’s raised or raising boys will concur that there comes a phase in their lives when they develop severe soap allergies, as evidenced – at our house – by the sounds of cajoling and pleading (and that’s the parents) that commence many evenings just after supper time. We have heard every excuse for why Goliath and his six-year-old tormenter, David, should abstain from contact with cleanliness. They don’t feel dirty. They’re just going to get dirty again tomorrow. They’re trying to save water and (going after our off-grid Achille’s heels) electricity. So when we haven’t had to cajole or plead for not just one night, but three in a row, it’s a major event.
The Big Guy and I didn’t contest any further his earnest contention that a sudden romantic interest was not at the source of this sudden spate of elective hygiene. Once Goliath cleared his place and retreated to his half-hour shower, however, the Big Guy and I looked at each other, realizing we are getting closer and closer to the scary hairy edge of being parents of a full-fledged teenager. And as frightening as that thought is, the scarier idea is just how fast it’s all going.