Wake me up when puberty ends.
By Elizabeth Thompson
“Who?”[nods head and yawns]
“You know, rock-star-who-shall-not-be-named, he wears lots of mascara?”I won't bore you with the details -- goodness knows I’m way passed flustered enough for the both of us, already -- but, it took me, oh... I don't know... about two yawns and a quick shudder, to realize that she had experienced her first pubescent fantasy.
My first reaction – I wanted to puke.
I mean, it just felt wrong – could she have at least chosen someone a little more Harry Potter-like and a little less, mascara-ish -- we shouldn’t be having this conversation because girls don’t have these types of, you know, [opposite of dry] dreams.
I mean, it wasn’t in the handbook.
Perhaps you don’t know -- or you have a boy child(ren) -- but, don’t you wish there were an easier way to talk to your daughter about, you know, mostly everything!?!
So, a friend of mine (who also has daughters familiar with the wonders that is American Girl) told me about this book, “The Care & Keeping of You” by American Girl - The Body Book for Girls,” and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice:
Dear American Girl,
I finally began to understand the hesitancy my parents must have felt about discussing anything even remotely associated with my body, let alone sexual issues -- so they didn’t -- especially at ten years old!
So, I quickly flipped through pages.
“Okay, um...body talk...sports safety...eating disorders...period...OY!...some of these pictures are really...um...okay...let’s try sleep.”Discussing sex with children is very personal – and I can't help but feel as if I've said too much, already – but, kids know so much more, today, and are exposed to sexual references at nearly every turn.
“Bed-wetting...insomnia...nightmares...”Radio, magazines, newspapers, school, television – not to mention mascara-wearing rock-stars-who-shall-not-be-named – I have very little choice, but to talk about, you know, it and find out what other parents are saying...or doing...and to get as much information as I can.
Perhaps then, one day soon, I’ll be able to actually say, you know, it!
I continued to flip through the pages, as my daughter finished telling me about her dream, and I tried my best not to puke.
"Do you have dreams like that, too!?!"Aw hell...I couldn’t find a chapter for that, either...and all I wanted to do was to, you know, go back to sleep.
I mean, what should I say?
"Yes, dear...in my dreams...I'm a frickin' freak!"No – that would be too much – but, I had to say something, right?
Or, I could pretend not to hear her and simply walk away. Yes – I’ve done it before – it would be easy.
"So-and-So has a cell phone."[turning off the light]
"And What's-her-Name has a Nano."[tucking her in]
"They're so cool."[kissing her forehead]
Okay, I never claimed to be a hipster-parent -- in fact, it’s pretty safe to say that I (nor any of my peers) would consider me as such when used in any context other than acknowledging my love of sunflowers, vintage clothing and the fact that I worked hard for these hips, baby -- all I wanted to do was go back to bed!
But, having said that, I do consider myself a pretty good listener. This time, I was ready to talk. So, I chose a more, you know, Dr. Phil-ish approach - albeit a bit softer in tone and without the finger-pointing:
"Well, sweetie...dreams are a place where we can go and, you know, work things out. Like, when you’ve had a bad day or remember something that made you feel good. Sometimes, when we dream, we go to places that we've never gone or do things that we wouldn't usually do, when we're awake. And that's okay. So, if you dream about someone that you normally wouldn't be with, like rock-star-who-shall-not-be-named...GULP...in that way, it really doesn't mean that you're weird. It just means, well, you're growing up. You like the way someone looks, or sings, or talks and the way they make you feel when you think about them."Then, I felt a tap on my shoulder.
"Who are you talking too?"I turned to answer my husband and realized that he and I were the only ones in the kitchen.
"Um, I passed her in the hallway, she said she had headache, or something, and went back to bed."Stupid Dr. Phil!
Maybe she got tired of listening to my rambling...or thought it would be quicker to...you know...just watch her breasts grow.
Either way, I wasn't a complete idiot – I went to her room, turned out the lights and crawled in next to her – because one of the few things I do know is that it’s better to just know when to keep quiet.
“You okay?”So much for keeping my mouth shut.
“Yeah. I heard what you said.”Silence.
“So, I’m not weird?”More silence.
“Nuh-uh, not so much.”She put the ice pack I'd given her earlier on my forehead.
“Thanks. And here...it sounds like you need this more than I do, Momma...now I know why you get so many migraines!”[blows kiss]
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