Young boys just cannot wait to grow up. As a toddler, our son wanted to become a "big boy." As a big boy, he wanted to become an "older kid." Now, as a pre-teen, he wants to become a man. He has now taken that first step toward manhood. The time has come for me to teach my 12-year-old something that most every man needs to know: how to shave.
When we noticed
Halfway through our son's sixth grade year, my wife and I noticed something above his upper lip. He is only 12, so we did not think much of it. Then, it got darker. We could not easily see anything growing, but it gradually became darker and darker. Then, I noticed that it stopped right at the edge of his lips on each side. I could finally tell that our son had started to grow a mustache.
Quiet at first
We did not want to embarrass our son, and it was still tough to see, so we did not say much to him for a while. Over time, though, the mustache became more visible. This happened right at the end of school, so we agreed to leave him alone until summer to avoid drawing attention. Summer arrived, and nothing came of it.
Time to talk
In July, I decided to talk to our son about shaving. He could not enter junior high this way because of the dress code. We made light of it and let him tease all he wanted to make it easier for him (and us) to deal with the changes now beginning in his body. I explained that once he begins shaving he will have to continue it - spread out for a while at first and gradually getting more frequent. Within a few years, he may have to shave every day. He very teasingly said that he did not want to shave his mustache -- not because of the hassle but because of how it attracts the ladies. Another conversation will follow very soon.
First shave - Nice!
I do not like blades, so I use only electric shavers. I gave my son my old one. I had to show him how to work it and how to run it across his mustache without scraping his lip. I warned him that it would feel scratchy at first and that he would just have to get used to it. He did not like it, but I would not let him quit. It took a few minutes, but when finished, he exclaimed how manly it made him to shave like his dad. He then got to feel the sting of his first after-shave lotion!
Second shave - OOPS!
School started in mid-August. I had him shave again a week before his first day. This time, I let him try it on his own without my supervision. We could hear the shaver from his bathroom, and it sounded like all went well with no problems. Then came bedtime. My wife said goodnight and noticed a piece of eyebrow missing! He said that he accidentally shaved it. How he could accidentally shave an eyebrow we could not figure out, but he told us. He went to wipe his forehead while holding the shaver - still turned on! The trimmer was out, and it hit his eyebrow, taking some brow with it.
Becoming a man
The eyebrow grew back fine right as school started, and hardly anyone noticed. Since then, our son is careful when using his shaver and will now turn it off before wiping his forehead. We make light of this incident, but my wife and I realize that our son has entered into a period of serious body changes. Some will happen fast, and some will take a long time. He will need our guidance in understanding what will happen in his body and why. These more serious discussions will come very soon. We prefer keeping him a child, but we know we cannot. We have to accept that he will become a man, but we remain proud that he is our son.
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