Thursday, 25 September 2014

Smelly boy

Smelly boy
25 September 2014

I so enjoy all of my kids.  Depending on what they’re up to, their attitude, and the amount of lip they give me, I enjoy some of them more than others.  On some days, more than other days.  This fluctuates, like the gentle swell of the ocean.  Quite obviously, I completely and utterly love them all.  But at time, to be honest, the like factor can fade.  You know – the whole fluctuating, gentle swell of the ocean thing.  But all in all, I just adore them.

There is something magical about having three kids.  A delightful busy-ness that I find charming.  I am grateful for my age gaps, as well as the sexes of my kids, as they are all in very different phases of their lives.  And I learn something new about them and about me, every single day. 

Perhaps one of the greatest surprises to me, has been the vast difference in my boys.  They are polar opposites.  In every single way.  Yet for the most part, they get along really well.  They have testosterone in common, if nothing else.

I mean, I knew that all of my kids would be different.  The warning signs were there from early on.  Even their pregnancies were different.

But somehow, after having Luke, and finding out I was having another boy, I had thought it would be a bit like revisiting Luke as a baby, toddler and little boy, through Cole.  Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Luke was quiet and shy.  Engrossed in whatever captured his attention.  He liked factual things.  Real stuff.  Absolutely mad about dinosaurs, and could name hundreds of them accurately, by the time he was three.  Then he discovered WWI and WWII, and that was it.  Book, after book, after book.  His favourite at the library has always been non-fiction.  Then at about ten, he discovered soccer, and life has never been the same.  Obsessive.  But this is his nature.  When he takes to something, he completely embraces it, and runs with it.  Getting all he can from it.  Eating it, living it, breathing it.  He has a capacity for retaining knowledge (if only he would apply this to school work), and for remembering intense detail.  His nickname at home is Wiki, at times.  As he is a bit of encyclopaedia about certain things.  But he’s not a nerdy kid.  He is most certainly not an academic.  He has a huge big circle of friends.  And they get together often.  At sixteen, socialising, has definitely been stepped up a notch.  He’s hell of a naughty.  Of the feeding friends laxatives variety.  Of unplugging the teacher’s computer mouse variety.  Of succumbing to coughing during hair inspection, so he can try and slip past the beady eye of the teachers, and get away with his longer hair, and bristle beard and ‘stach in desperate need of a shave.  You know – just plain naughty. 

Cole on the other hand, doesn’t do subtle.  He’s a tornado.  He can also get obsessed with things.  But more mechanical type things.  Whereas Luke was mad about superheroes, Cole did cars.  He did eventually do a very healthy, very normal superhero phase, but much later.  He also eventually discovered dinosaurs.  But much later too.  His current obsession, is paper jets.  And his bedroom looks like a tip.  He’s forever doing prototypes of different designs of paper jets.  Using alternating types and sizes of papers.  Playing with wingtips, and trajectory, angle of flight release, amount of muscle power needed to throw.  Comparing accuracy with speed, etc.  Quite scientific, for a little kid.  He might not be using all of those words, but from observing him, I can see that it is exactly what he is doing.

Luke hit puberty very, very early.  By twelve, his voice had broken, he was sprouting hair all over, and I was about as popular as chopped liver.  And quite obviously, as the years have passed, this has got exponential.  The hair is still sprouting, and he’s growing at a rate of knots.  I’m hoping that eventually, he’ll catch up with his feet.  But he gets in my car on the way to school, or going out, and depending on the destination, he smells pretty awesome.  Like he’s shaved, and used men’s body wash.  Deodorant too.  Because he has.  When I fetch him, depending on the destination, and what he’s been doing, he can smell pretty rank.  Particularly, after hockey practice, or the gym.  When he’s been out with mates, I sniff for the tell-tale sign of cigarette smoke, alcohol, or girl’s perfume.  I’m not really good at it.  Too obvious, and I can’t pick anything up.  Which doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s not been doing anything.  But he smells like a mini-man.  Or a teenager. 

But Cole?  Well, irrespective of the time of day, where we’re going, or where we’re coming from, the type of weather, or what he’s been doing, Cole always smells the same.  He smells of little boy.  Of dog.  And of sunshine, even if it’s been raining.  Of playing.  And outside.  And running around.  Of being hot and sometimes a bit sticky from running around playing.  Always intermingled, with a hint of citrus.  Not from a bottle, or an aerosol can.  But from eating oranges, and naartjies, minneola’s too.  In summer this hint changes a bit, to peaches, and grapes, strawberries too. 

I love kissing him in his neck, and breathing in that scent.  So heart breakingly familiar.  So pure.  Yet soon, it will change, and he’ll turn rank too.  As boys do.

But for now, I’m savouring it.  Breathing in deep lung fulls of Cole.  Imprinting it on my mind, to hold forever more.  Still I know, it won’t last.  I’ve forgotten Luke’s little boy smell.  And it makes me so sad.

Not that I don’t enjoy his big boy smell.  I just don’t get to savour it often.  As physical affection with mothers is just sooo uncool.  Something to be endured under duress.  No lengthy hugs allowed.

So this afternoon, I will fetch Cole from school.  And give him lots of hugs, as I usually do.  The whole afternoon long.  And evening too.  He still indulges me, and partakes.  Generous with his love.  And I’ll sniff his little neck, and smell that doggy-running-hot-sunshine-outside-little-boy-citrus scent.  And try and put it in a little box in my memory bank, to take out and sniff when I want to, once he’s bigger.

And I’ll actually do the same with Luke.  If he’ll let me.  Cause soon, he won’t smell like teenager anymore too.

Every stage and phase is precious and special.

Growing up, is hard for moms.

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  1. This is such a nice blog. You area an awesome Mom. You make me wish I was a better Mom....

  2. Had the rare privilege of a smelly on Friday morning.....
    Your boys (and gal) are exceptionally lucky.
    This is a NOTHER great blog!