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- 19 Apr 17

My eldest, who’s almost seven, is becoming much more aware of his appearance.

‘Does this look cool, Mum?’ he asks, as he struts around the room in his new T-shirt. ‘It’s all about the style,’ he says giving me a cheeky wink as he walks out of the kitchen like a catwalk model. (I have no idea how he came across the word ‘style’, although I often find him flicking through my glossy magazines…) ‘I’m not wearing them – they make me look geeky!’ he shouts when I put his glasses back on him (he’s meant to wear them all the time). He refuses to wear clothes that he classes as ‘boring’ and gets excited when I buy him something that meets his sartorial approval.

The other day I found him balancing on top of the bathroom sink, reaching for my husband’s hair gel in the cabinet above. Unaware that I was peeking through the gap in the door, he spent the next five minutes carefully applying the gel in front of the mirror whilst trying out different poses. As soon as his brother saw him with spiky hair, he wanted it too. ‘Come with me little bro,’ my eldest said with a wink (he’s very into winking at the moment), ‘I’ll show you how to look like me…’ And he took him upstairs for some serious gel application. My youngest came down later with a rather large quiff and a satisfied smile on his face – he is totally in awe of his super-cool sibling at the moment.

I’ve also noticed my nearly-seven-year-old checking out other boys his age. If we’re out in town and there are a group of boys, say skateboarders in all their trendy gear, he will stop and stare, taking in every last detail of what they’re wearing and how they’re acting. He also loves to hang out with his older cousins and follows them around, soaking up their mannerisms and copying what they say. After one visit to his cousins he came back boasting that he knew a really rude word. When I asked him to tell me, he replied: ‘Feck. Feck off.’ (I’m not going to correct him…)

This obsession with looks and being cool is a stark reminder that my eldest is getting older. He is entering The Hair Gel Zone – a time in his life when he’s becoming more conscious of himself – and his hair-do.

It’s yet another phase in the journey of growing up. And although it’s sad that I can no longer dress my son in my choice of tank tops and bright chinos (‘That’s sooooooo not cool!’), I have to say that I’m rather enjoying this newfound confidence in him.

I just hope that my husband doesn’t notice that he’s almost out of hair gel…

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Fiona Pennell

Fiona Pennell lives in the Cotswolds with her husband and their two boys, Jack, 6, and Otto, 4. A former YOU magazine sub-editor, Fiona now spends her days being trampled on, going on slug hunts and dreaming of lie-ins. (Twitter: @fiona_pennell)

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