It’s a funny thing, peer pressure. In my experience, growing up a girl is fraught with moments of self-consciousness or outright embarrassment.
Comparatively, my sons show little shame, but when it does rear its head, it’s like the moment last week when the O’Rourke’s Diner sign and building were ringed in pink-and-green neon lights for the first time in years — glaring.
The 10-year-old suddenly doesn’t want to change in the bathroom at school prior to basketball practice, because he’ll look funny carrying out his clothes.
The 4-year-old made me remove Dora the Explorer fruit snacks, perfectly fine to eat at home, from his lunch box, because “the kids will laugh at me.”
I went into the house and replaced it with “Cars” fruit snacks. T ate Dora in the car on the way to preschool.
B says I should stop making jokes and laughing when I read books to his class, because “it’s embarrassing!” I counter with, “maybe I shouldn’t read at all and the whole class will have to do more schoolwork.”
B counters with, “I still want you to read, just don’t act like a jerk, Mom.”
Child psychologists say peer pressure can be negative or positive, as in the case of bathing. Not so much in my house, however. I cringe every time one or another son sports telltale bed head — announcing to the other mothers like a bullhorn: “She hasn’t washed them in days, maybe weeks!”
‘Course the kids could care less, swatting at my wet palms trying to smooth down offending clumps of hair.
Ever the thinker, I try to gauge the percentage of parents who think said cowlick represents: a) gone-to-bed-wet [and thereby clean] hair, or b) dirty hair.
I figure I can glean at least a couple votes from the slept-on-the-pillow-wet constituency, avoiding the above-mentioned embarrassment at the expense of one’s peers.
These being the married-and-near-40-mother-of-two-boys crowd.