I started “developing” in fourth grade. Like I said, I tried to deny it. I was a tomboy who was friends with all of the boys, out playing kickball at recess versus on the jungle gym learning to twirl around the bar and talking about clothes and hair. I could throw better than half the boys, so I was always invited for a baseball game. I could run forever, so football was something I was always invited to come play as well.
Growing tits did not fit into this equation.
At this age (and I’ll let the men who read pipe in if I’m wrong), a girl with boobs was sort of a “wow” moment for guys. They were intrigued. While they were not necessarily discovering girls in the “I want a girlfriend” sort of way – they weren’t going to ignore this development.
I went from being popular with the boys for my athletic skills to having attention drawn to the fact I was “blossoming into womanhood” as all of the pamphlets and sex-ed talks would explain. And the girls, well, they were not happy because I was starting to get what they wanted which meant there was hell there too. (This issue was further complicated by the fact I had just started a new school, so I was already the outsider who was not to be trusted.) I was NOT amused. My world got turned upside down thanks to these tits – and I was not amused by the ways it was doing it. And, hell, I hadn’t even gotten to the worst part yet. Boobs were bad enough.
Given my own personal hell I went through with puberty, I hoped and prayed my girls would not start the journey early.
But, no, DJ has shown she has my genetics.
The other night, we had the second of many talks. We already had to have the “why deodorant is important” talk. Not that she listened very well. DJ finds the fact she smells amusing and often exclaims “don’t I smell wonderful?!” So, we now had to have the “why undershirts are important talk”. Garbanzo had sent me a text earlier in the day “DJ is ‘developing’ – she needs to start wearing shirts under her TKD uniform. :-(”
So, we had that talk.
“DJ, you need to start wearing undershirts under some of your clothes.”
“Because you are starting to develop breasts.”
“Mo! You make it sounds soooo weird!!!!” DJ has thrown herself on the couch and covered her hands in fake embarrassment.
“Would you rather I say you are ‘blossoming into womanhood’?”
“Mo! Don’t say it that way either!!” DJ covers her face again while she laughs hysterically.
“How would you like me to say it?”
“I don’t know.”
“Look, the gland in your head has woken up and has told your body to start puberty. It means you are smelly and you are starting to grow,” I look at my own chest, “so you need to start changing some things.”
DJ loves science and probably knows more about the human body than most adults, so I figured I would just give it to her straight about the pituitary gland and such. Knowing her, she will think it’s pretty cool and tell all of her friends. If I get called into the office about her doing so, I would like for her to be spreading the truth.
DJ starts laughing again.
“Look, there is going to be a lot of changes like this come up. Next, you’ll start growing hair in funny places. It’s all part of puberty. This,” I point to my chest, “is just the beginning.”
“Funny places like where?” she asks.
I give her a quick rundown of where. She starts laughing hysterically again. Gotta love genetics – she’s like me with the embarrassed laughter.
I was happy that recently she discovered the “Beginning the journey” lab where it shows human fetuses at various stages of development through pregnancy and gives a pretty good display of how babies are born in a way kids can understand. Knowing this, I pointed out that this is all happening in preparation for her to be able to have babies of her own.
“I know how babies are born now. I am NOT having a baby – EVER!” Definitely my child – totally was my reaction to this information as well.
When we were doing it, she says to me, “Mo, don’t you sometimes wish you could just stay a kid and not grow up and go through this stuff.”
I think about it for a moment. I mean, there are times where every adult wishes they could be like a kid again. No cares. Few worries. The summer to play with friends.
“Sometimes I wish I could just be a kid and play all day and not have to worry about money and all of that stuff. But, growing up allows you to do a whole bunch of cool stuff. You get to drive cars, cook, make fires, you get money if you work, get married and have your own family. And answer questions like this from your own kids.”
She thinks about it for a second and says, “Yeah, it would be fun starting fires and cooking without having to worry about burning down the house. And someone giving you money would be cool too. I still don’t want to grow up.”
I don’t want you too either, DJ.