Thursday, January 9, 2014

Different Stage, Same Game

I had to stop at at the grocery store quickly on my way home from taekwondo class today.  As I was standing in one aisle, mentally deliberating, a young and very frazzled-looking mother came around the corner toward me.  Her son, perhaps 18 months old or so, was half-reclining in the seat of her shopping cart, his curly head thrown back with abandon and his screams echoing through the store.  I have to admit, my immediate reaction was to smile, but I did hastily explain to the mother that my smile was purely of the "been-there, done-that, no-judgment-implied" variety.  (Thing Two in particular had some truly memorable meltdowns in shopping carts in his day.)  She and I had a brief chat--which established that the hysterics were because he didn't like the new toothbrush that she had chosen for him--and then she moved on. 

As it happened, I was lingering in that particular aisle because I was trying to choose a deodorant for Thing One, his first.  He is blessedly non-stinky so far (except for his soccer shinguards and cleats: dear God; those could be weaponized), but since he's coming up on eleven, I know that those days are numbered.  We're working on establishing good personal hygiene habits before he actually needs them.  I was trying to decide what I wanted my preadolescent son to smell like: adventure? ironman? everest? extreme?  Gel form? Stick form?  All of a sudden, it seemed like a terribly personal decision to be making for somebody else, even if he is currently a ten year-old boy who could care less. 

Much like the other mother, I was shopping for my little boy.  Except that mine is no longer quite so little, and this is only one of the first, easier steps toward him really becoming big and gone and no longer mine.  For a moment there, I would have gone back to him being the toddler in the cart, screams and all, in order to buy myself more years with him.  That not being possible, he's going to get a REALLY big hug to go along with his new deodorant when he gets home from school today!



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