With the anticipation of a child barely able to go to sleep on Christmas Eve in the hopes that St. Nick will be popping down the chimney with gifts, was Jackson's own anticipation for the day he can start wearing deodorant.
For the last year, he has had two priorities: to acquire a phone and his own deodorant.
Weekly he has asked me for each.
The phone is an entry for another time.
The deodorant was simply on hold as I kept telling him he has no body odor.
He would regularly fling his armpit in my face for a sniff test.
My precious baby boy, I would say, you simply have no stink.
After a soccer game there would be more armpit flinging.
Sorry, I would say to his crestfallen face: No stink, sweet boy.
After a baseball practice, a dog walk, a Nerf gun battle, a field trip mining crystals, mowing the lawn .... nothing.
No stink.
You smell as fresh as the day you were born, baby, I would say shaking my head. And he would walk away his head held low.
Guys, I am NOT exaggerating.
This ritual has been going on for at least a year. I kept explaining that if you have no stink there is no reason to put a chemical on your precious baby boy skin.
He would grimace.
Why start a habit you will have to do for the rest of your life for no reason? You have years to stink and wear deodorant, Jack.
Cue the eye roll.
Finally, the day came for his 4th grade class to get to watch The Video.
You know?
The Video.
The one where we all learn about puberty, what will happen to you body, and hair will grow where?
Jack had been really excited about this video. As if all the secrets of the body were about to be laid before him.
He would finally have all the clues to adulthood.
The day of The Video arrived and he hopped out of bed like it was his birthday. I prepared him with comments like, "Try not to giggle too much," and "Don't get in trouble with all the giggling."
He came home from school that afternoon disappointed.
Alas, The Video had only shown him all the things he had already known.
Eric and I try to speak frankly with our kids about their bodies and such. So he had already known most of what the The Video covered. In fact, he didn't even have any questions and only remarked that his fellow classmates' post-video questions were "dumb."
However, his day was about to turn around.
He was lying in bed, about to read his book for a bit before turning out the light when he gave me one last armpit-fling-in-the-face for the day.
"Mom? Anything?"
I closed by eyes, leaned in and gave it the old mom sniff.
He waited for the verdict, eyes wide with hope.
I looked up and declared: BEHOLD! STINK!
As if one cue from 4th grade curriculum, his body had changed. As if The Video had itself activated STINK!
I had indeed detected a very faint whiff of stink. Faint, yes. But it was there.
Jack was elated, a wide grin on his face.
Tomorrow would be the day.
Deodorant Day!
The next morning, when he was struggling to get out of bed I reminded him in a singsong announcement: Jaaaa-aaack! Get up! It's Deodorant Day!
He hopped out of bed, hurried to dress and of course apply deodorant. He was most pleased with himself and I'm pretty sure he announced to all he saw that day that he was wearing deodorant.
Behold! Deodorant Day!


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Eli Fletcher Copley