Friday, October 13, 2006

The Kid Grows Up

And becomes a girl.

And I am not sure I am happy about this change.

She studies me critically while I comb my hair in the mornings now, while I dress. She inserts comments. She instructs me that it is time, for instance, that I shaved my legs, for heaven's sake, what am I waiting for, Hanukkah?

This morning, standing beside me in the bathroom while I cleaned my teeth, she said, "Mom."

Recently she has taken to that, too: Mom, not Mama. I disapprove, and not only because I did so like Mama: also because the "Mom" comes with a little tone to it. As in "Mom, I'm only telling you this for your own good." Did I mention she was getting mouthy lately?

I spat. "What, you?"

"There is fuzz under your arms," she said, severely.

"There is, in fact," I say.

"Why are you growing hair under your arms?"

I resist the urge to say, in Snarky Mama guise, Because I'm turning into a werewolf. So many fine moments are ruined by our inability to pay for nine more months of therapy. "Because it's winter. I don't shave in the winter. No one can see it in the winter except Daddy. And he likes it."

This is TMI, and she flinches away from it. She has entered latency, and S-E-X (which is how she refers to it, S-E-X) appalls her now. "AAAGH!" she says, when anything vaguely sex related comes on TV. "S-E-X! Call me when it's over!").*

"That looks funny on girls," she informs me instead, still very firmly. "Hair under the arm."

I eye her in the mirror. "First," I say, "I am not a girl. I am a woman. Second, what are you, the Junior Enforcer for the Patriarchy Brigade? Where's your Badge, miss?"

"Blah, blah, blah," she says, and runs away.

"Would you give it a rest with the patriarchy bit?" mr. delagar says from the bedroom.

"When I'm dead," I say, rinsing my toothbrush cheerily.

*I think many Far-Right Christian Wingers are still in latency, btw. As evidence I submit how hysterical they got about the season premiere of Battlestar Galatica, because it had -- gasp -- S-E-X in it! No! Not that! Go see Jimmy Akin's site, with the comments, for an example.


zelda1 said...

you do realize that our little girl is soon going to become prepubescent and along with that comes all those pre changes and like or not she is going to start being almost woman like. I know, I think about it and worry about it and have seen it with my great grand nieces and it's about nine when they begin to change. Not a lot but a little, tiny things and by ten, well, you notice and by eleven, well by eleven she may have her periods. Oh man. Eight, she will be nine her next birthday. You do realize that she will outgrow our fantasy of her and Miles hooking up, but hopefully after puberty she will like him again and somewhere in her early twenties he will not be a baby to her. Yep, it will happen and we can only sit and watch and hold our breath and listen to the slamming doors and cringe when she gets pimples and oh my god, we are going to go through it with her. You all the time, me when I visit. Get ready. Oh don't tell mr. delagar, he might freak. Leave him in denial.

jo(e) said...

I've heard people call the adolescent years the "Critic" stage. My daughter went through it when she was about eleven ... and luckily outgrew the whole thing in a few years. I only survived it because my sister (who has older kids) assured me that the stage would not last forever.

delagar said...

Yep, Zelda -- I got her two books on puberty from Amazon (they came yesterday) and she is reading one of them (the one aimed at 8-year-olds) as I write this. mr. delagar was, in fact, as you predict, appalled. She's eight! he cried. And? I said. She dove straight into the book and hasn't put it down. He hovered. You can stop readng it if it bothers you, he hinted. I don't want to stop reading it, she said firmly.

zelda1 said...

Good, she needs to know. I wasn't ever told anything, found it all out on my own. When my sister got pregnant and I had to know how that happened, I was about eight maybe a little over eight, and I looked it all up and by the end of the day, I knew more than every woman in my family. Sad.

zelda1 said...
Go check him out. He is a funny guy and not a bad writer either.

CB said...

That's a crazy time in life...I remember, the hightened awareness of everything.

tell her everything, then hold her hand when it all seems too much.