1. The Sesame Street/Thomas phase. This one is cute. Your kid falls in love with Thomas. You buy him all things Thomas. DVD’s. Train tracks. Sippy cups. Toothburshes. Pajamas.
2. The Superhero Phase. Same thing. Still cute. You buy new superhero sheets. You get 4000 costumes. Your kid comes downstairs dressed as Spiderman and you just. Have. To. Take. A. Picture. And put it on Facebook.
3. The Big Lego phase. Your kid loves Legos. And so do you. You feel good about yourself because he is playing with something “imaginative” and “old school.” Plus, once he gets past the I-can’t-stick-these-fucking-things-together-by-myself-so-I’m-going-to-lose-it-every-5-seconds phase, he will often play with those things for hours, so you can get something done.
4. The Dinosaur and/or Pirate phase. You buy every plastic dinosaur or every item of pirate paraphernalia you see. You buy every dinosaur or pirate-themed book ever published in the history of the world. You read dinosaur or pirate books every night for 6 months straight.
5. The Power Ranger Phase. No matter what you do, no matter how many times you say “I will never buy my kid a pretend weapon of any kind,” you end up watching your kid pretend stab someone while wearing an extremely overpriced, piece of crap Power Ranger costume.
6. The I-Just-Farted Phase. Your kid farts. He must tell you every time he does it. He thinks it’s funny. Some poor boys never leave this phase.
7. The Tiny Lego Phase. Big Legos are no longer acceptable. You must buy the Lego kits, with the tiny Legos, that contain 987 pieces. And cost just as many dollars. If your kid cannot assemble these mothereffers by himself, you will only buy one of these things in your lifetime. Then you will try to get him to the next phase as quickly as possible.
8. The Junk Phase. Your son learns that there are many terms to use for his boy parts that are much more fun than penis. Therefore, he says balls and sac and weiner and dick and junk. ALL THE TIME.
9. The Wet Hair Phase. He must completely soak his hair every morning. And comb it forward. Every mother of a boy has at least one first day-of-school picture where her son closely resembles Lloyd Christmas.
10. The One Acceptable Item Of Clothing Phase. Your son will only wear one kind of pants. Or shorts. Or shirt. He must wear basketball shoes every day. But he doesn’t play basketball. If it’s not a soccer jersey, it’s not acceptable. Socks used to have to be not visible above the sneakers. Now they must be black, and pulled almost up to his knees. You thought girls were the ones who had clothing issues. But you were wrong.
11. The Facial Hair Phase. Your son looks like Pedro Sanchez from Napoleon Dynamite. You need to have the shaving talk with him, but you can’t stop picturing him as that little baby. You can’t believe your little man is now almost a big man. And he needs a razor.
12. The Cologne Phase. The only good thing about this phase is that you know where your son is at all times. Just follow the Axe trail.
13. The Shower Phase. You know exactly what happens in this phase.
14. The Earbud Phase. If your son is at home, he must have these in his ears at all times. You fear they are actually fusing into his ear canal.
15. The Everybody-In-This-House-Is-Totally-Uncool Phase. We have one in this phase right now. He’ll come around. Until then, he’s got his earbuds to keep him company.