August 28, 2007


I am, by now, familiar with all the signs of teenagerdom: the ennui, the eye-rolling, the sassy answers to basic questions, the polysyllabic "No-ooo-oh." What took me by surprise was the abruptness, the almost-instant change from chubby-cheeked boys to angular, broad-shouldered young men.

End-of-summer shopping has borne this phenomenon out. No more brightly-colored school supplies for us. I didn't realize I was so fond of swim trunks with adorable shark, dolphin or palm tree motifs, until I became conscious of the fact that those don't come in "big boy" sizes. The Gymboree-type clothing that makes any mother's heart beat faster; dress shirts with puppies over the pocket, matching socks and shorts with race car appliqués, anything in primary colors (all of them at the same time). Alas, long outgrown.

Jeff has declared T-shirts in yellow, orange or purple to be “clownish.” Heather gray is the new preference. Dinosaur PJ’s? Forget it.

This summer, both boys' feet grew suddenly from size 6 to a men's size 8. It was a transition from the colorful world of the children's department to the monochromatic adult aisles. From Oz, back to Kansas. Rows of navy blue, brown and black shoes. Oh well, we had a decade of the colorblock sneakers. Jeff's object of desire was a pair of black skateboard slip-ons with skulls and crossbones. Trés cool for eighth grade.

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