Sunday, January 04, 2009

How to tell if Your 10-Year-Old Boy has Discovered that Girls Don't Have Cooties; or, The Civilizing Influence of the Female of the Species

I just thought it might be helpful to provide a few hints so that you can tell whether or not your 10-year-old boy has discovered that girls don't have Cooties. Now, you may think that it isn't an actual issue, but "Cooties" is an actual medical condition that I think must have been eradicated, perhaps in view of all the inoculations that have become so prevalent. I know that it is an actual condition because it used to be that the Mayo Clinic actually had a web page devoted to it. (They don't any more. That's why I think the disease must have been eradicated.)
My 10-year-old son has joined the realm of those who have gotten past the concern for getting Cooties. This is how I can tell:

1. He used to have to be reminded to take showers. I remember asking him once, "How long has it been since you took a shower?" thinking that it might have been he hadn't taken one that day. I should have known from the interesting fumes emanating from him. He said, nonchalantly, "Three days." "Aaagggh!" I shrieked. "Go take one now!" These days he takes one every morning before coming downstairs.
2. He changes his socks more often. I don't see any walking around by themselves any more. (For that matter, he's more willing to wear them in the first place, since not doing so has bad effect on his shoes.) We've recently discussed (again) what clothes he needs to change every day and what can wait. And he was receptive to the news. We're making progress!
3. He looks in the mirror, and sometimes he isn't making faces or seeing how many weird noises he can make with his mouth and what shapes his mouth takes on in the process; he's trying the handsome, cool, with-it kind of expressions instead. Silently.
4. He is specific about what kind of soap, shampoo, and hair stuff he wants. It's always something with a strong, manly scent. Well, better strong manly on a 10-year-old than strong...well, you know.
5. He makes cards even for little girls who come over to visit. At least, he did the other day. For three sisters, so I guess it wasn't to impress one in particular, unless he is trying to throw me off the case a little bit.
6. He welcomes the idea of being in certain places where it's a new thing for for him to want to be. Places where certain little girls are present.
7. At church he asks to use the breath freshening spray before meet-and-greet time.
8. His teeth don't have sweaters on any more. They tend to be shinier and whiter, and his dentist doesn't scold him so heartily as he used to. Okay, occasionally he forgets to brush, but far less than he used to.
9. He cares more about wearing impressive types of clothes that have some structure and lack ragged edges, rather than the ratty comfortable ones. At least, usually. Well, at least when he predicts the possibility of seeing girls.
10. When he goes to friends' houses who have sisters, all the above benefits go into full implementation, whereas this used to be the least likely incentive for soap and sudsiness.

Sigh. I don't know if this is a good trend, since in some ways, he's safer not liking girls until he's of marriageable age, but it does keep him cleaner and tamer for the present in peaceful and pleasant ways. My mom used to say that "it's an ill wind that brings no one any good," meaning even bad things have benefit for someone, somewhere. And the wind is sweeter, these days. I like this change, myself, even if we do have far more discussion, prayer and teaching before we are through with these subjects of girls, personal hygiene, and appearance.

1 comment:

Stacia said...

Im laughing so hard and remembering when this happened to Derek. It was about the same age.