Curious little story by Diana Zlomislic on the site today: It's about preteen boys getting into fights that involve spraying each other with Axe deodorant body spray.
One of my favourite lines: "Axe bodyspray is to boys today as hairspray was to girls in the '80s."
I guess the marketing of these bodysprays — a television commercial with bikini-clad women storming a beach in search of the guy who uses Axe, for example — have caught on with the preteen crowd. This enthusiasm for smelling good, coupled with the typical preteen love of hijinks, has led to kids spraying each other with the stuff at school. (Tragically, one 12-year-old boy died in Britain last year after inhaling too much.)
So is this penchant for smelling good something new? (I seem to recall my brother overdoing it with Ralph Lauren "Polo" cologne in the late '80s: "But by the time I get down to the bus stop, I can't smell it!") And do we prefer this zest for sexy scents to a more laissez-faire approach to personal hygiene that has often accompanied this awkward stage between child and teen?
We've got a story on Madonna's African adoption, which puts it in a context of increased adoptions from that part of the world, where thousands of children are orphaned because of AIDS. Do you suspect Madonna jumped the queue?
It's a good thing my toddler looks like this...
otherwise he would be FOR SALE!!!
On Saturday I took my boys for a walk down to Bloor Street, where the local shops and bakeries are, and where I would endeavour to pick up groceries, flowers, etc., for a dinner party.
I left the house with Cameron, 5.5, Alister, 1.5, and a stroller that is — I would learn — a complete affront to my younger child's dignity. It was a lovely day, and naturally, Alister wanted to walk. I wanted him to walk for at least a little while, too, so he could blow off some steam. He, however, didn't want to miss a single driveway, lawn or retaining wall on the way to the village. We were progressing at a rate of about a block per half hour, the clock was ticking and, I knew, he was quickly approaching expiry.
Cameron and I cajoled, chased and coerced Alister in the right direction — me occasionally swooping him up with tickles to distract him while nudging us along a few houses. When we hit Bloor, though, and my toddler alternated pressing his face into every carpet-store and bakery window with careening toward traffic, I decided he had to go into the stroller for an agonizing two blocks until we reached Bread and Roses cafe for some sort of food refuel.
He had one of those tantrums, like from sitcom television...? You know, the kind with the back arching and total refusal to lower his bum into the stroller. He wailed. He screamed. He yelled "Mommy!" Huge crocodile tears poured down his face as I repeatedly tried to string each of his legs into the stroller. I wrangled him into the straps, he pushed up against them. Strangers stared. Mothers looked on sympathetically. Several people looked as though they might speed dial the Children's Aid Society. I laughed and made light of it because it was the only way to retain some element of dignity. Alister kept up some yoga-worthy back bridge the whole time just to make the point that he wasn't REALLY sitting in the stroller.
We got to the bakery, and luckily, ran into a friend and his son out front, which allowed us to tag-team order. I food-bribed Alister with half of a huge cinnamon bun. (Not a high moment in my parenting career.) He calmed down and smiled "more?" as he finished each bite.
I needed to return something at Chapters. So we headed there and he played contentedly at the Thomas the Train table while Cameron and I read books. Eventually, though, with nap-time approaching, I needed to wrangle him back downstairs, do the return and jet.
Of course he didn't understand that the Thomas train in his little fist belonged to the store and that his own was waiting at home. Naturally, he wanted to go back up the down escalator. OBVIOUSLY, he wouldn't go back in the stroller.
So about those b*stards that put all the brightly-coloured, cello-wrapped, holiday-theme crap on a table right at toddler eyeball level while you're waiting in line for a cashier... I think an afternoon with a set of sugar-high triplet toddler boys throwing tantrums in a toy store would be appropriate karmic payback, don't you?
Carrying around a satisfyingly crinkly, spring-themed lollipop the size of his face was amusement enough while the cashier waited for a manager to sign off on my return. When I pried it from his hands and started wrestling Alister back in the stroller, he put up such an ultimate-fighting performance that nice people were coming up and saying to me, "Do you need a hand?"
I got him strapped in and out the door, Cameron patiently tagging along beside.
But my white-trash parenting adventure didn't end there. Not sure what this says about how we've been feeding him, but there's a Pizza Pizza on the corner next to the Chapters. As we passed it, my hollaring toddler recognized the logo and shop and started saying, "Pizza? Pizza?"
Realizing this whole thing might have been related to the small breakfast he had, I peered into the stroller and said, "Is that what you want? Is that what this is about? Because if you want a piece of pizza, you can have one." Five minutes later, with a small square of pepperoni pizza acquired (along with a huge stack of napkins) and quartered, we were on our way back home, happy as can be, both boys munching away.
The moral of the story, moms and dads?
Don't forget the snacks.