Watermelon Soap

shampooAugust is a time for firsts.

The first day of kindergarten.

The first day of preschool.

The first time you realize your little boy isn’t so little anymore.

It was on our weekly pilgrimage to Target that my eldest son had an epiphany.

We were standing in the soap aisle, surrounded by a rainbow of plastic bottles. The scent of flowers and fruit lingering in the air. Edison was long overdue for a replacement bottle of his trusty watermelon scented 3 in 1 shampoo, conditioner and body wash. It was his scent since the age of three, there was no other. It had to be watermelon, in the bright red bottle with the lizard on it.

Although right now, after a week of using my shower gel, he smelled like flowers albeit not the most manly of scents. Yes, I know boys can smell like flowers too, there’s nothing wrong with it, but on that day as we stared into the rainbow abyss of soapy goodness the boy declared to me “I want to smell like a man.”

I stared at him like he had just grown horns. “Umm, ok,” I said with trepidation as I slowly put down his bottle of watermelon shampoo, the lizard on the bottle appearing to tear up a bit. Or maybe that was just me.

Slowly we made our way around the corner to the man cave of soap.

My first thought as I stood there trying not suffocate in the overwhelming aroma, was, “this is it, he’s finally growing up.” My second thought was, “Crap the hubs is right. I am one of the weird moms in the Old Spice commercial.”

The aisle smelled like a cross between an Abercrombie and Fitch and the Union Bar downtown. I didn’t want my seven year old smelling like a bar, I wanted him to smell like fruit and flowers. I watched him as he made his way through the bottles. They were dark and mysterious with names like Dark Temptation, Black Chill and Anarachy emblazoned on the side. These are words my son can barely pronounce, and they conjure thoughts I don’t want him to have just yet.

“Not yet, not yet, not yet…” I repeat over and over.

“HE’S NOT READY,” I yell in my head.

“I’m not ready,” I whisper to the dark bottles who stare at me from their perch, like animals waiting to attack.

The scent was quickly overpowering me and giving me flashbacks of junior high boys doused with Drakkar Noir and Polo cologne. I try to focus on the task at hand. Watching as he becomes entranced by the aroma, sucked into this man cave of soap.

It’s all happening so fast, these rites of passage that transform a boy into a man. Soon he will be driving, dating and eventually leaving, and taking his man soap to college, because watermelon soap with a smiling lizard just isn’t cool when you are 20 years old and out on your own.

“Please, give me one more year of watermelon soap,” I beg to the air. “Just one more year.”

He kept on sniffing, his nose {thankfully} wrinkling with each whiff of the bottle. As each one was denied the weight that had been heavy in my chest was slowly lifting.

Finally he turned to me, “Mom I think I’m fine with watermelon. These smell funny.”


I practically skipped back to the rainbow aisle of goodness, and I even believe that lizard winked at me as I plucked the watermelon soap from the shelf.

He’s not ready either.

One day he will be though. One day I will turn around and that little boy staring at me will be a man. It’s going to happen whether I’m ready or not.

Until then, he will smell like watermelons.

Brook {without the "e"} is a spunky faux redhead and former UI grad who has decided to call Iowa City her home for over 10 years. She met her husband on the internet, and they spend their days playing superheroes with their two boys, Edison (2007) and Grant (2010). She juggles mom life with a full-time job as a marketing consultant, competing in triathlons and writing her heart out on her personal blog www.redheadreverie.com. She believes life is a journey, not a destination.


  1. Too funny! My aunt & uncle gave my (then) 4 year old a body wash/shampoo from Bath & Body Works for Christmas last year. It’s definitely meant for men, but it’s not tooooo manly. 🙂 I add a little to his bath at night, and it makes him feel like a big guy. I still use the Suave shampoo (coconut, not watermelon) but I’ve been told that he prefers the ‘green stuff’, because it makes him smell ‘like a dude.’


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