"Mum! MUM! I've got a PUBIC HAIR!"
I said nothing, but a tear rolled down my face. So that's it, I thought. Both my boys are now becoming men. The pubedom has arrived.
I've already written about the onset of manhood in Teen - a subject which, quite frankly, I find disturbing. But to see the physical evidence of your youngest saying farewell to his childhood and hello to pubes, sweat and (mild vom) wet dreams...well, that's a whole new level of mother misery.
After the hairs had been promenaded, I was then forced to look at the armpits. Thank God - nothing. But that little smudge under his nose suddenly looked more prominent. Less dirt, more ... predator.
It's strange how these milestones in Tween hit me with a depressive thud, whilst when they happened to Teen, they caused mild excitement. When Teen walked for the first time, we all whooped hysterically for joy. When Tween walked, I pretended to smile but all I could think was, "WHERE HAS MY BABY GONE?" (in a mildy bonkers fashion, I grant you.) I couldn't wait to see the back of Teen when he went to school, but Tween's first day left me misted up and miserable. And when Tween left Primary School? I am still sobbing now.
The youngest child sort of sweeps up the joy of childhood, making sure there are no loose ends left behind. Thomas Brio trains are sold or given away (sob), as are space hoppers, sand pit sets and all sports equipment made from foam. Now the house is packed with adult sized everything; tennis racquets, trainers, and enough footballs in the garden to make my own ball pond for giants.
And the house has a smell about it. It wafts between sweat (bad) and Lynx (worse), so before any visitors come I am forced to throw open all doors and windows. Even in the middle of winter.
I know I sounds ridiculous. You have children, and they grow up - right? Even more perverse - you spend half of their childhood wanting them to grow up faster: sleep more, cry less, walk more, generally be a bit more...well...useful. But time has been a bit elastic; very slow at first, and suddenly it's sped up, and jumped on me when I wasn't quite concentrating.
And suddenly, this is me. The mother of men.