Is there anything more special than a mother/son or a father/ daughter bond? The Almighty has surely blessed me because I have experienced both. One as an offspring, the other as a parent.
As most of you know, I am the proud mother of two sons. It’s an amazing experience to be the centre of a child’s world, even knowing that the centre of that world is only leased to you for a short period of time. As a parent, knowing when to edge more towards the circumference of that world is the key to surviving your offspring’s adolescence.
Every mother/son relationship is filled with punctuation points. Those milestones that signify sometimes subtle, sometimes sledgehammer-like changes in the relationship. The points at which there is no returning to what was. I admit I look forward to these punctuation points because, at least in experience, they have generally been positive or have led to something positive. They are also confirmation that as a parent, one is doing one’s job.
Punctuation point #126 is one of these milestones. It’s the point at which a son develops a taste for fashion and a mother’s role as stylist comes to an end. This point is not necessarily marked by a sudden desire in your son to accessorize or colour co-ordinate or emulate a GQ magazine cover, but rather it means that it’s time to leave little boys clothes behind and become the master of one’s own fashion destiny.
In my experience, point #126 is reached somewhere when your son is between the ages of 12 and 15. Of course, there is always the odd would-be David Beckham prodigy who has the metrosexual thing happening at the age of 8, but they grow up to be Justin Bieber and well, let’s not go there shall we?
The thing is, you never really know the relationship has reached point #126 until you have passed it. You will blissfully be buying packets of 15 assorted colour jockeys as you have done many times in the past because your son needs them only to have them shoved at the back of the drawer with him continuing to wear the worn out underwear with the skull motiff that Aunt Clarice gave him as a Christmas present 3 years ago. The jockeys no longer work because point #126 has unknowingly been reached and because he’s your son and you are his mother, he doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. He doesn’t know how to break the news to you.
Remember how simple life was when your son was 6 years old and you could go out with utter confidence and buy your child’s outfit? How he loathed shoe and clothes shopping and it was all you could do to get him to the mall to try on a pair of shoes. Remember how you used to go out of your way to never buy your son outfits with “skull stuff” on them? Seriously, when my kids were under ten it was an impossible task to find a piece of clothing without a skull or other gruesome Halloween creature on it. Why clothing manufacturers, why? Why do you want a 6 year old to channel their inner Hulk?
Somehow we got through the horror clothing era, testosterone intact and without either of my boys having dewingined any butterflies or ripped anyone’s arms off to arrive at point #126.
Yes folks, we are now at point #126 with my youngest. And true to form, I only know this because we just passed it with an incident involving socks, a T-shirt and a pencil case.
Him: “Just get me a plain blue pencil case, Mum”
Me: ” I thought your older brother’s advice was to stick the one pen you use for school in your pocket”
Him: “Yeah, that didn’t work. I’ve actually got four pens and a calculator”
Me: “Better that then three weddings and a funeral!”
Him: “Huh? Anyway, just don’t get me anything fancy, Mum. I don’t want any stars, skulls [!!!!! – my emphasis] or anything”
So, as part of the MO code and my service to mothers of adolescents everywhere, here are some of the signs that your son is approaching point #126:
- he starts wanting to shower everyday
- he starts taking a major interest in deodorant
- he spends copious time in front of the mirror
- he wears the same two T-shirts all week, because he now doesn’t like the rest in his drawer
- he doesn’t have the usual hangdog expression when he receives clothing as a gift
- he realises that blue and green are not the same after all
- he knows the difference between coral and pink
He can’t quite articulate what type of clothing he likes until sometime after point #126 is reached. The fashion vocabulary and conceptualizing have not yet fully developed. It takes a mother’s keen power of observation, intuition, planning, mastery and all of your five senses to keep ahead of the fashion game during the transition period which ends when your feldging fashion plate is confident enough to fully develop his own sense of style.
One final word of advice, when your mother/son relationship arrives at point #126, it marks the stage at which mothers have to learn to SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!! Trust me, voicing your opinion at his choice of grey school socks with white sneakers teamed with camouflage coloured pair of shorts only leads to bad juju. There can be no winners in that contest.
Congratulations, you have now made the move from wardrobe stylist to wardrobe consultant. May the Zoolander be with you!
Have you had the same experience with point #126?Is there a similar point with daughters? What is the most outlandish outfit your child has chosen to wear?