Tuesday, September 2, 2008

the talk

My daughter is 9. Well, 9 and one quarter. Eons away from her teenage years. Or so her father & I would love to believe. This past summer she has put on some pudgy weight. Nothing major, but noticeable enough. A good growth spurt will kick her right through it. However, she is “developing” in some areas that we are NOT ready to deal with. I wish I were only talking about her mouth & attitude! The school shopping this year included a small array of camisoles, under tanks, and yes, a few bras.

She has been intensely cranky, irritable, and tired as of late. I had discussed this change in her attitude & body to a few close friends when one mentioned “the change”. Nope. No way. She’s too young. Besides, her father won’t allow it. That is exactly what he said when I mentioned the possibility to him the next day.

The following day after the discussion with him, he suggested I go to the library & get a few books for her to read. I replied that the kids each picked out two books a week. No, he says, not those kinds of books. The “change” kinds of books, with pictures.

Oh hell no. I may have never gotten the speech myself, and I may not be up for the parent of the year award, but my daughter is not just going to be handed a “book for further reading”. I told him I would have the talk.

A few days later we decided the talk would be best carried out if he took our son in one direction & I took our daughter in another during our evening bike ride. She immediately wants to know why her daddy was “sad looking” when we parted ways. “Because we have to talk about you growing up & daddy just doesn’t want you to grow up. He likes you to be his little girl”

“Oh” she says, “Yeah, he’s like that.”

So I started with, “Do you know what kind of changes your body goes through as you get older?” Just to feel out how much knowledge she had (school & friends – you never know what your child really knows!). She said yes, she knew. So I asked her to explain it to me.

“You get taller and fatter & your feet get big.”

It took a minute for me to get over that one. So the next question was, “What differences do you see between my body & yours, beside me being bigger?” “You have boobs.” Alright, now we’re getting somewhere. I explained the basics of hormones & the wondrous shit us women have to put up with. No, I wasn’t talking about men. That talk comes later. Years later.

Midway through, she’s pedaling along side me, looks over and says, “Besides, why are we having this talk? Is it because I’m getting older & growing up?” Yes, dear, that’s exactly why. Then, “Is daddy having a talk with Tyler too?” No, honey, he’s not ready for his talk yet.

I make clear that if her time comes when she is in school, to not get upset but seek out a female teacher that she is comfortable with & ask for help. If it happens when she is at her dads, to ask him to call me – cuz he will surely freak.

Next, our talk goes randomly into babies. This does not come about in the way you would expect it to from such a talk. She went into body parts that get bigger when you grow up and teeth happened to be one of those parts she listed. Which then became, “babies can’t talk when they’re born because they have no teeth.” To this I replied, “no, babies can’t talk when they’re born because they haven’t learned to talk yet.”

“Oh, so babies can’t talk because they’re not born with any smarts?”

Close enough.

Can I just be 9 and be naïve again??

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