With the arrival of Spring, soon comes the birthday of my first born. She is a May baby and as I look back at her birth, I can’t seem to come to terms with how fast she is growing up. This year marks her 9th birthday. The last year before double digits. Dare I say she will be a tween? And with that, the realization is sinking in that puberty is around the corner. Denying this fact will not slow it down.
It’s time for us to have some real conversations about the things in store for her physically and emotionally. Many folks begin these talks as early as 8. I want us to be able to have an open dialog that takes us into the teen years and that fosters a bond where she feels like she can come to me with anything. This is certainly easier said then done.
My first step was purchasing the book, Just Between Us: A No-Stress, No-Rules Journal for Girls and Their Moms. It was easy to introduce into our lives. Her love of notebooks and writing made this easy. I think it will really help us get to know each other in a special way. For me it’s also a keepsake. Hopeful we can look back at it years from now laugh or even cry together. My daughter has vocalized that she enjoys 1:1 time with me and this is a way to incorporate that into our lives when things get busy.
Next up is sharing a book that will certainly raise questions that I think I am ready to give answers to. The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls is a highly recommended book from other moms. Reading it ahead of time made me realize I may not have even thought to address all that this book covers. For me, the fact that it’s from American Girl makes it a little more approachable and maybe less scary. I didn’t want something so textbook that it made the changes to ones body so confusing that they don’t make sense.
While I have not yet seen the body signs (hair growth, weight/height increase, breast development) of things to come, I certainly have already witnessed the hormones. I saw her unable to stop tears from swelling up and she shared that she didn’t want to cry but she couldn’t stop herself. I’m sure you can all remember those instances in life. Hoping for now that a hug will help.
I think it’s important to consider our own experiences and model after them or learn from them as we raise our children. The whole idea of puberty was foreign to me. I’ll overly share that the weekend before starting 7th grade, I got my first period and thought I was dying. Then that same year, I learned all about the birds and the bees from a friend in Latin class. I’d like things to be different for my children.
Puberty is clearly just the start of many conversations to come. Let’s just hope I can be prepared and resourceful to my kids without scaring them off. Fingers crossed they will talk to me and listen when I try prepare them for life each step of the way. I should probably also start stocking up on acne products.
All those baby books are long gone and I’ve got a new list of books to pick up. I can’t even begin to think about my son up next. Quite simply, sharing all this makes me want to grab a copy of Judy Bloom’s, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. But, I don’t think I’ll force that on my tween.