My Boy turns 13 this Spring and just as he did during the toddler phase, he is hitting every single benchmark and milestone by the book.
He’s moody, ill-tempered, keeps a filthy bedroom and only takes instructions from his father. I have been content to leave parenting of The Boy to my husband; because quite frankly I can’t deal.
I can’t keep repeating myself about pissing on the bathroom floor, keeping Steers burger boxes like magpie trinkets at the foot of the bed, and going to school with holes in his hoodies and tarnished teeth tainted with tarter sauce. I can’t and I refuse.
There is only one area that I have refused to relinquish influence and that my friends, is over bathing. Though I have not yet regained my sense of smell, I have not yet lost my powers of sight and I can virtually see the bacteria multiplying and losing themselves in the throes of ecstasy and bacchanalia on the surface of his delicate skin. I insist that he bathe daily (a shocking concept, apparently) and I demand that he replace his face and body washcloths daily as well. He considers this a waste, protesting that it only adds to the laundry, but in a family of six I AM DOING LAUNDRY ON A NEAR HOURLY BASIS ANYWAYS.
Nice try, son. I know that these objections are not because you care for my well-being or the monumental effort it takes to keep our family looking at least semi-polished.
Still, he doesn’t give up. But why does he have to change his washcloths on a daily basis, when his sisters only swap theirs out every other day?
“And they are still clean,” he notes emphatically.
“Well son,” I reply. “It’s because none of your sisters has a sack and you do.”
(He is almost 13 now and wants to be spoken to like a man. I – having grown up crass and manner-less in the mean streets of Labone, Accra – am only happy to oblige.)
“Here’s what the issue is, my boy:
You have a crack
As well as a sack
You don’t want to wash your nuts
And put the schmutz on your back
When you have a sack
It can get oily and black
Reintroducing yesterday’s filth
Is absolutely wack
When you are sleeping
Into the bathroom I come creeping
To steal your old washcloths
And prevent new sores from weeping
I wash them in hot water
It’s absolutely no bother
Because no one will do this
Not even your father
When you start dating
And eventually mating
You don’t want your wife to think of your stink
And be totally hating
These are good skills
To keep you from getting ill
You think I keep nagging
Because it gives me thrills?
So son, wash your crack
And especially your sack
We have plenty of new rags
On the laundry rack”
Yeah. He gave me the same look you’re giving the screen now.