I am not sure how parents marked milestones back when we were kids. I have stumbled upon my personal yardstick though. Here goes my little discovery, strictly for mothers of girls only. One word is all you need to watch out for. And that word is Harry!
You can tell a girl is 6 or 7 and completely innocent when the word Harry means Prince. She is seen sashaying her tawdry, toy shop bought princess costume, Barbie doll in one hand, pretending prince charming oops Harry tags along everywhere except the bathroom. That’s the most adorable sight, except you aren’t allowed to sit next to her on your own couch because you are blind to dismiss the prince perched right beside her, sipping tea from Minnie Mouse themed purple cups and saucers. Ah, how I wish that phase lasted longer. In reality, it did only for Meghan Markle though.
Next, the pubertal growth spurt swishes past sooner than you imagined. And suddenly, prince charming loses all charm to magic. Primary school begins to appear dim, dull and boring as compared to Hogwarts. And the prized PSLE (the infamous Singapore Primary School Leaving Examination) seems simply unreasonable compared with OWLs (if you are gaping, this is your last chance to read Harry Potter). That’s obviously when the word Harry begins to mean Potter, charming all girls aged 9-12.
Moving on, 13-14, the wonder years that mark the most impressionable changes that lay the foundation to adult personalities they will grow into, see the word Harry quickly changing sides from Potter to Styles. And despite social media, the whole new Meta Verse galloping to usurp the last straw of sanity in our lives and a universe that has thrived via Zoom over the past 2 years, a guy strumming the guitar, strutting on stage congenially is still a huge bait for girls discovering womanhood. And if you have a ‘Directioner’ at home (you have to be accustomed to teen lingo to get this one), unreasonable demands for making it to the first live concert post COVID are sure to tear your ear drums down.
Interestingly, the word Harry does not change until the girl turns 35-40. And by the way, she is already a woman bearing the societal brunt of being super woman by then. And that’s when the word Harry takes a tragic turn and disguises itself as ‘Hurry!!’
Words of a nagging mother, sagging wife or an overworked manager; playing the barking dog to get tasks accomplished. Cos who knew children, spouses or even employees could spend 45 minutes in the bathroom just because there are no more power cuts. And the godforsaken building has strong wi-fi signals in places of frenzy where one ought to otherwise finish business quickly and return to life!
And last but not the least. My Indian lineage cannot deny, when all this ruckus is over and done with and your girls have left for greener pastures, your empty nested spouse and you will have another Hari (the Almighty) to remember and thank.
I hope my ‘Hurry’ phase lasts for eternity. Not that I do not wish to thank ‘Hari’. But greed is a real thing. One without any yardstick.
So, what’s your yardstick? What milestone have you unleashed?
P.S. As the girls grow older, I am at the risk of being dragged in court for meddling with their private anecdotes online. Everyone cannot get as lucky as Mark Zuckerberg, after all.