“Mommy, what’s that?” My two year asked as she watched me apply deodorant one morning.
I responded, “It’s deodorant, sweetie. I wear this to help my armpits smell better and the scent makes me happy. When you’re older you can choose to wear some too.”
“Can I have some?” Her tiny voice asked.
“Of course!” I responded and pretended to apply some deodorant under her arms with a playful tickle and sound effect.
That was the first conversation with my daughter about armpit hygiene; simple, short, and playful. This one conversation began a habit of her running into the bathroom during my morning routine and asking me to apply deodorant for her; complete with sound effects and giggles of course.
Fast forward four years and my now six-year-old exclaimed from the bedroom,
“Mom, come quick!”
I drop everything and rush upstairs hoping to find everyone in one piece.
“What’s wrong?” I ask breathlessly.
“Mom, smell my armpits! They are smelly just like yours!” She says with a giant smile.
“Oh yay! Congratulations, Hunny!” I beam back.
“Does that mean I get to wear real deodorant like you now?” She asks with hopeful anticipation.
“Yes! Let’s buy some for you this weekend. You can even pick out your favorite scent which may be different than my favorite. It’s all about what is best for you and your body.” I explained.
I could sense excitement and empowerment as she skipped away to play. Meanwhile, pride bubbled within me as I realized we met this moment together with joy instead of shame or embarrassment. All because of a two-year-old’s question, which led to a little game with deodorant in the mornings, and led to her changing body being celebrated instead of dreaded. I was proud of both of us at that moment. Then I swiftly did a sniff-check on myself to see if it was time to reapply.
Jess DePew is a homeschooling mom of three who writes poetry, cheers for the underdog, and reads at least ten books at a time. She also never updates her phone apps much to her tech-husband’s chagrin.