Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Puberty is for the birds. And the bees.

Easily the worst part of being a parent is having to answer the tough questions. Every year it's getting steadily harder. I thought I'd just pull from my own growing up and see if I needed to add to it.

The hard part, is that I just pretty much don't remember a lot of this from when I was a kid. I don't think I really ever asked questions. I remember asking if I could shave my legs, I must have been fifth grade or so, and my mom said no. So I totally did it on my own, with no help and no idea on what I was supposed to do, and I totally slashed the hell out of my ankle. I then tried to hide a bloody towel because I didn't want to get into trouble. Obviously, my mother was far smarter than I gave her credit for, and she found the towel. And she really nicely and very casually mentioned in passing that she'd show me what to do but not to do something behind her back- she'd always know. And to this day, I believe that. She was like a super psychic.

So right now I'm on the brink of these big conversations with Olivia. About two weeks ago she complained of itchy armpits. Sure enough, she's getting hair. She asked me why she would get hair and I said well, that's puberty. It happens to all of us. She, in turn, bursts into tears and declared she doesn't want to go through puberty. Which absolutely breaks my heart. Because I do remember how scary it was when I got my first period, and I worry that she'll be just as scared.

But for your mom's who have been through it:

1. What age did you let your daughter shave?
2. What age did you let them wear makeup to school?
3. How do you explain a period without scaring the poor girl?

She is hugely hormonal right now, we go from one mood to the other fairly quickly. I was 12 when I got my period, and she's only 9. So that's scary, for me as her parent.

All of this aside, you know what else is hard? Trying to explain to her that girls are mean. They just are. Not all of them, but a lot of them are. She has these friends who will be nice one day and then the next day ignore her completely. She comes home and just is so heart broken. Twice in the last two months, she cries up in her room after school.

The only silver lining about this is that all of her accident issues? I am now almost totally certain it is anxiety related. I've noticed that the times where she has issues with friends at school or seems to be having a hard time, we have accidents. When things are good, nothing. Which is really scary to me. Because I'm dealing with accidents now, which are frustrating, but what is it going to be in a few years? Cutting? God. It's terrifying.

I'm struggling with this parent thing. The longer I do this, the more I want to slap these newly pregnant women who think it's going to be fun and cute. Honestly, I'm starting to think that the fun and cute times are few and far between. I spend more time worrying that I'm screwing them up and terrified of keeping them safe and happy.

Man, no wonder I have such high blood pressure.


Unknown said...

I was actually telling someone the other day that I don't think my parents ever had the birds & the bees talk with me. I'm lucky enough to be graced with an older sister who I'm sure they did it all with and I just kind of mimicked her. I remember asking if I could shave in 6th grade, because 1) I'm Greek, therefore insanely hairy and 2) I was trying out for cheerleading (don't ask, I was delusional) and all the other girls had smooth legs.
I remember finding a book I think from like American Girl about puberty that they had bought for my sister and I snuck it into my room and read it, so I kind of knew what was coming. I got my period at Burger King when I went to eat there with my Dad one Saturday. I was embarrassed and put toilet paper in my underwear until I got home and embarrassingly told my Mom, who of course made a big deal out of it. I think I was 10 or 11??

But I never had the sex talk, at least not that I can remember, because again I had my sister and they started to talk to us about that in 6th grade and then more in depth in middle school and then by high school, it was all the really gross stuff, like HD pictures of chlamydia. I do remember when I started dating a bit they sat me down and told me that if I got pregnant and/or even just thought of having sex before I was married, they'd disown me and I would never be allowed back in the house. So there's that.

I think that has to be one of the things I don't want to do if I ever become a parent. Can I just outsource that job to someone else??


Unknown said...

My parents never had 'the talk' with me, and when I started my period at 12 I was clueless. I'm a teacher, and I've noticed that, at age 9, girls ARE just.plain.mean. And everything is a huge deal to them. I don't have any advice since my girls are still toddlers, but I do wish you and your daughter the best of luck.