We have a delicate situation going on in our house and I want to deal with it sensitively. Yes, my younger son has body odour. He’s only 9 for goodness sake! It doesn’t seem fair. Although the signs have been there for a long time. Incredibly, I first noticed just the tiniest bit way back in year 1, when he was only just 6. He’s been ‘wearing deodorant’ ever since. I’ve put that in speech marks for a reason. Because he rarely wears it. He forgets. Generally it didn’t matter until very recently, unless he’d played a particularly active football match or it was a particularly hot day.
But now it does matter.
He’s always showered every other day, as all of my kids do, and have done since they were babies (well, it was baths then). There was no need for them to shower every day and, frankly, it was a time-consuming and messy business.
Every two days was enough. Yes, he might have been very slightly smelly at the end of the second day, but that was OK because it was shower time.
But now he smells at the end of the first day. Really strongly. There’s no question that he can wear a school shirt for a second day. I’ve given up doing the ‘sniff test’ when I find a piece of discarded clothing on the floor and I’m not sure where exactly on the clean to dirty continuum it falls. Because that smell is nearly enough to knock a person out.
I can’t be cross with him, because it’s not his fault. He doesn’t want a shower every day. It’s a hassle for a 9 year old boy who’s too busy kicking a football round the garden to have to stop and have a shower. But he has no choice.
He says he’s washing himself properly, but he doesn’t really seem to know what that means. My husband has had to show him how much soap, where it goes, how hard to rub and how well to rinse. Then which deodorant to use and how much to spray.
He doesn’t want to do it. I’ve had to say I’m really sorry, but he’s got no choice. I don’t want to make a big deal out of it, but nor do I want people avoiding him because he smells.
He’s my little boy. I feel so sorry for him that he is having to deal with this so early.