Kurt Cobain is alive and well and living in my daughter’s armpit

We’re one week into the school year and if you asked me what I like best so far about the fourth grade, I’d have to say the clothes. I was over the flared jeans 2.4 seconds after they came back with a vengeance a few years ago and my email campaign protesting their revival, directed to those in charge of all things vogue and sent to began in earnest the day my then ten year old Zoe declared that jeans with a three feet wide flare under which she could conceivably hide a Buick were not bell-bottomy enough.

This year, skinny jeans are “in” and I’m so stinkin’ excited because both my girls, the fourth grader and the tenth grader, are wearing them which means I can now drag my old jeans out from the eighties and, provided I perform a little liposuction with a turkey baster and our Bissell steam cleaner beforehand, potentially squeeze my left thigh into them and then hang with my daughters while appearing hip and trendy and not at all like the homeless bag lady they’ve become accustomed to seeing at the dinner table.

Not the acid washed, two toned ones. I don’t want to scare anyone.

I’m talking about my eighties jeans, not my left thigh. Or my right, for that matter.  My thighs are not acid washed or two toned, despite whatever shenanigans my veins may be up to behind my back. Or legs, as the case may be.

Helena, my fourth grader, also has several long waisted tops which I absolutely adore and for which I’m willing to pay a million dollars in the form of an IOU written in blue glitter glue to the first designer who comes up with something comparable for a 42 year old premenopausal mom of two who has been known to gouge the eyes out of those poor unfortunate souls in Wegmans who unwittingly catch a glimpse of her belly button as she reaches for a twelve pack of Bounty.

If you ask Helena what she likes best about being in fourth grade, without hesitation, she’ll shriek DEODORANT at the top of her lungs and stick her armpit in your face in case you need a visual aid.

Because apparently, part of hitting the big time for fourth graders is the responsibility of a gym locker into which they throw a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt and sweatpants, together with the aforementioned Holy Grail.

Helena jumped off the bus last week and came running into the house, waving a yellow note while yelling excitedly OH MY GOSH, I NEED DEODORANT. OH MY GOSH. OH MY GOSH and I was all “Oh honey, you don’t even smell yet” and she was all I WILL SMEAR DOG POOP ALL OVER MY BODY IF THAT’S WHAT IT TAKES.

So I read the yellow note with dread because even though we live a mile away from the gym locker in question, I could already smell the sweaty stench of a t-shirt and shorts after they’ve been stowed away in a dingy, metal locker for upwards of three months, having never reaped the benefits of a wash, spin or rinse cycle and let me tell you, it smelled like EU DE TOILET in my head which means it will smell like EU DE BUSTED SEWER LINE in real life.

Helena simply cannot wait to grow up and be like her big sister and I know that rubbing deodorant under her arms is just another cog in the wheel of imminent adolescence but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t stand in that kitchen and, ever so briefly, considered making a deal with God whereby I would stop nagging him for a mid-life crisis already if He, in turn would agree to go all Benjamin Button on Helena so that I could shove her back into my womb and pretend the last five minutes had not happened.

So off to Target we went and we walked into the deodorant aisle a/k/a NIRVANA and Helena stopped dead in her tracks in sheer awe and I’m not exaggerating when I say that the gates of Heaven opened and rained down an M&Ms and Skittles combo upon Helena and then a big, golden unicorn wearing a rainbow copped a squat on her head. It was just that awesome.

Helena wound up choosing this one, presumably because it said “teen” on it since she would be perfectly content to ignore the entire “tween” stage and skip right to her driver’s licence sooner rather than later, even if it causes her mother to wind up bald and drooling, also sooner rather than later:


Speaking of Nirvana and teen spirit, can I take a moment to tell you how pleased I was to discover that my fifteen year old has Smells Like Teen Spirit on her iPod? Not that I was a big fan of Kurt Cobain or the whole grunge movement of the nineties because I wasn’t. Long, greasy hair still makes me throw up a little in my mouth. But I did like that song and now I know that Zoe likes it too, which means we have something in common, which means I’ve got another weapon in my arsenal for those occasions when she wants to date an older, tattooed, pierced felon to prove she’s nothing like me. Little does she know of my dating history. However, I’m saving the BEEN THERE, DONE THAT weapon for something more egregious, like when she comes home drunk for the first time and pukes on her father’s shoes.

As a side note, I’m aware that Lady Speed Stick invented Teen Spirit long before Kurt did but nevertheless, I’d like to put it out there that I wouldn’t mind whatsoever if you guys wanted to name something in my honor. I’m totally for pimping myself out for maximum exposure and just for the record, I don’t care what it is, a deodorant or a tampon or even an erectile dysfunction pill. How about Andy’s Handy Randy Candy?

And by the way, don’t even think about naming Andy’s Handy Randy Candy after your cousin Andrew. I’ve got the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on speed dial.

We got back home and Helena threw the deodorant at me and immediately whipped off her shirt, scrunched up her face, raised her arms to the sky and shouted OK! I’M READY!

And I stood there with the stick in my hand and looked at my tiny nine year old, standing there in her little white undershirt with underarms smoother than a baby’s bottom, so excited and impatient to cross this next milestone into adolescence and I had to choke back some tears, right before I hollered NO WAY. YOU CAN’T MAKE ME and made a break for it.

And then she chased me all over the house until she cornered me in the bathroom and stuck her armpit in my face, at which point I relented and reluctantly became a grown up.

It took several attempts to show her how to apply the deodorant because she could not maneuver it adequately within the cramped confines of her little armpit, leaving me to wonder how it is that, with little effort, she can make that tiny, seemingly innocuous thing emit a fart sound loud enough to wake the dead.

We managed to smear a light coating on each armpit and Helena spent the remainder of the day walking around the house and sniffing her underarms every ten minutes to confirm it was working.

And when I asked her what she smelled like, she thought for a moment before she declared “Smells Like Teen Spirit, Mom.”

Hear that sound? I think it’s Kurt Cobain, laughing.



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39 thoughts on “Kurt Cobain is alive and well and living in my daughter’s armpit”

  1. Avatar

    LOL I have the opposite fight at my house. My 9 yr old 4th grader doesn’t have a gym locker but by the end of the day when she comes to give me a hug goodnight she probably does smell like Kurt Cobain. (While I wasn’t big into his music I did live in Tacoma WA at the time of his death, they sent grief counselors to my high school, there was a lot of skipping class that day) I’ve purchased several sticks of deodorant because they “keep getting lost”. Good luck with your 4th grader, it’s nice to hear about the other side of the fight!

  2. Avatar

    oh dear!LOL!
    I am so amused by the fashions now. I was in Wal Mart and apparently Hannah Montana has gone all Joan Jet 80’s in her clothing line. Black leggins, long white tees with UK flags, printed on them in that deliberately faded and worn way. I was seriously cracking up. Somewhere I saw a story that shoulder pads were making a comeback this fall. Gag me with a spoon. When is the preppy look due to be in?

  3. Avatar

    Oh how I wish our kids had a choice in fashion – dress code in our public schools – Restrictive, idiotic, “why the hell is that a rule and how does it make for a better, more productive learning environment” kind of dress code. I mean, the logo on that polo shirt being under 2″ square definitly makes my kids learn better….

    And you can only mark yourself a true Dad (and Mom) when you know who Taylor Swift, The Ting Tings, and Tokio Hotel are and sing some of there songs…..

    Stan at Scrappers Workshop

  4. Avatar

    It’s the chemicals in those deodorant sticks–it triggers puberty.

    And whoever thinks that packaging doesn’t play that much of a role in consumer behavior has never walked down a personal grooming aisle with the 4th grade set–as long as the product is ensconced in Raspberry Sparkle Pink, that sucker is gonna sell…


  5. Avatar

    Oh my, you crack me up! I just have to add, tho, I will not be wearing skinny jeans. I would look like a pear on a stick, ready to topple over. I do, however, love the longer shirts. No more will my granny panties be peekin’ and wavin’ at everyone. Thanks for the giggle!

  6. Avatar

    we are trying hard to convince my nieces that they need deodorant at all. I wish their schools made it mandatory too lol. Thanks for the laugh!

  7. Avatar

    This was a great entry… Loved the Andy’s Handy Randy Candy and couldn’t help but spit soda after reading all about the “that tiny, seemingly innocuous thing emit a fart sound loud enough to wake the dead” when I have wondered that SOOOO often with my own. How is it that she is SO delicate most times, but then emits this noise that is SOOO… I don’t even know the word!! LOL

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    For the record, I HATE the new skinny jeans! LOL Seriously, I tried on like 20 pairs of jeans at the mall last weekend and couldn’t bring myself to buy any of them. I just look horrible in them! I guess I’ll have to settle for being old and out of style until they are GONE. Oh and I have a 4th grader too, only he’s a boy. I’m trying to hold off on the tween stuff as LONG AS POSSIBLE. 🙂 Do you think I can get away with buying him GI Joe action figures for his birthday at least one more year?

  9. Avatar

    A classic CJ post – LOL!

    My 11 yo keeps “losing” her deodorant in the abyss we call her bedroom – so we bought her TWO new ones this week – one for her gym bag, and ANOTHER one for her bedroom. Wondering how long they will last?!!

  10. Avatar

    This is absolutely precious. Takes me back to when my daughter thought wearing deodorant (FINALLY – in her eyes, even though she didn’t need it!) meant that she was finally “a woman.” Forget having her period – she treasured her very own deodorant stick.

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    I used to love skinny jeans and would sew up my pants legs to get them even more tight. Can’t believe it. Now, I throw up a little in my mouth at the thought of wearing them. lol. I love the bell bottom look now, which I swore Id never wear either!

  12. Avatar

    Oh that was a riot! For the record, I wear Old Navy tall t-shirts to keep the belly button from showing in Wegman’s. You can only order them online though. They’re the only shirts I’ve found for women with boobs that cover the waist of my pants.

    The deoderant story was a classic! My oldest son barely wants a bath let alone deoderant.

  13. Avatar

    deodorant is a rite of passage for sure, i remember when my dad told me i needed it, after softball one day..i guess your story is much better b/c your daughter didn’t smell, lol.

    and jeans, ah yes, jeans….tis the season

  14. Avatar

    LOL! Hannah can’t wait for any of that either but FORTUNATELY they just “discuss” it in a “you’re growing up” type of class that I have to sign permission for her to participate in and they don’t actually dress for gym till 6th grade! WOOT! For now I’m just trying to put off buying the “training” bra to train the little “newbies” that are as flat as highway 😀

  15. Avatar

    Huh? Wait, she WANTED deodorant? Is that how kids are these days? Next year, will she start asking for a training bra and asking you to show her how to use tampons?? All of this stuff happened way later in life for me!! But then again, my youngest niece who is 9 said that most of the girls in her class have little boobies already and are already wearing training bras. I’m soooo dreading all this with my daughter.

  16. Avatar

    Oh my goodness that made me LMAO! I even had my husband pull it up at work, which by the way took me 15 minutes to explain, MEN!!
    Anyway, he thought it was funny and has been “passing” it around at work!

  17. Avatar

    Ah, the joys of deodorant, a rite of passage in itself….
    My own deodorant experience went something like my mother telling me I smelled, humiliating me, coming home with a stick of deodorant and saying, “Here ya go, put some on.” Ah, wonderful memories. And ya know what, I have never heard of “Smells like Teen Spirit, am I totally lame or what. In the 90s I was too into Jewel, Alanis Morisette and Tracy Bonham to notice anything else.

  18. Avatar

    I remember being shocked when, as the recipient of one of those stinky good night hugs to realize my 8yo DD needed deodorant! And they teach us in Girl Scout Leader training to look for signs of impending puberty – that they start stinking about 2 years before menses onset. Now I’m SOO looking forward to being the mom of the early bloomer in 5th grade!

  19. Avatar

    Therein lies the difference between boys and girls. My 11 year old son is starting to stink like a dead baboon, but he is definitely NOT doing the happy dance over having to wear deodorant. In fact, I regularly have to chase him around the house with the deodorant stick trying to get it within 20 feet of you.

    PS: I am totally going to steal that assclown E-mail address from you. That is freaking hilarious!

  20. Avatar

    You are too funny! How cute is that about your daughter and deoderant. One of those milestones you don’t usually scrapbook, but here it is on your blog! Reminds me of when I couldn’t wait to shave my legs. Was I insane? Now I hate it.

  21. Avatar

    LOL! I remember being excited to shave my legs, but not so much about deoderant and my mother practically had to tie me down to get me to wear a bra. Congrats on surviving the milestone!

  22. Avatar

    Hilarious! So glad I clicked on this link from the millions that are now posted on SITS 😉 I honestly don’t remember my first deodorant experience. My first period, yes; my first fight with my mom b/c she wouldn’t let me shave my legs, yes (why I didn’t just tell her to eff off and shave them anyway, I’m not entirely sure); my first deodorant, no. I’m vaguely disappointed my mom wasn’t cool enough to blog about it.

  23. Avatar

    Crusin by from the SITS Link Up, and this one caught my eye. I’m not a fan of Kurt Cobain either, in fact I prefer Weird Al’s version of one of their songs, need more coffee to recall the name. I have 3 boys; 23, 21 & 13, and then my 11yo daughter. Oh the adventures of Mother Daughter relationships. Mine is wearing deodorant, it’s needed, but the adventure I am not so anxiously awaiting is leg shaving……..

  24. Avatar

    Great post – I should have known it was you when I saw the title over at SITS. Hilarious, but all I could think of was how do I get one like that? I’m on my 3rd boy and I can’t count the number of times we’ve had to drive home from somewhere with all the windows down because one of them had “forgotten” his deodorant – again. Ewww, stinky boys! Merry SITSmas.

  25. Avatar

    So funny!

    I do remember when I started wearing deodorant, too. It was seriously a rite of passage at the age of 10.

    I hope you had a great holiday!

  26. Avatar

    wow this is HILARIOUS when i was 9 i was still sleeping with a teddy bear (i still do haha) but what i love is that she WANTED d.o. lol

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