Curling Irons and Training Bras: The Glories of Tweenhood
Last summer I sent my girls to California and they came back to Texas with boobs. Mind you, little boobs, okay, mosquito bites, but still, boobs nonetheless. Now if that’s not a warning sign my girls are growing up, then the discarded toys replaced with Claire’s and “I Love Justin Bieber” accessories sure are.
I gotta’ say the most amusing thing about watching them grow up as of late is the pace, or rather the response with which each girl is treating the changes that come with adolescence. One girl has taken the oh-my-God-what’s-happening-to-me approach, whereas the other couldn’t be more welcoming. I’m not sure who I should be worried about more.
On one side I’ve got a girl who thinks she’s 11 going on 23. Her bathroom counter is littered with a curling iron, a hair straightener, four different perfumes, and a variety of fragrant lotions. She just wrapped up her exploratory hairstyle phase, too. Believe me, if I didn’t love my kids so much I’d tweet the pics of some of her hairdos for public entertainment.
A few months ago she came down for dinner with a tangled web of hair pointing every which way and sprayed together like a nest. She looked like a cross between a Rastafarian and Sad Girl from Mi Vida Loca. Another time she wore a dozen braids, each held together by a different color rubber band. I almost asked her if she was trying out for a spot in the Boo Yah T.R.I.B.E. Of course, my doting father husband kicked me under the table before I got a chance.
As for my other girl, my sweetheart of a girl, she’s happy to don a simple ponytail and her bathroom decor still consists of a lime green frog rug and the matching garbage can. My challenge with her is she’s stubbornly resisting every angle of adolescence.
Up until recently she refused to wear a bra or deodorant. This has made for some awkward moments, especially the days we were loaded up in the minivan on a hot humid day. It’s bad enough we have to deal with the boys and their everlasting gym socks stench, now add to that the pungent smell of sweat and..well, you get the picture. Years from now the stink of body odor and dirty socks will be reminiscent of my child rearing years.
At one point this sweet kid even resort to hiding her bras, which would’ve remained undetected had we not realized her less developed sister was taking the bras and sporting them herself. Imagine my husband’s surprise when he picked the girls up from school and noticed one of them was, as he report back to me, unrealistically “puffier looking” in the chest. Yeah, we put an end to that real quick.
Quite frankly, I’ve concluded navigating my girls through puberty is turning out to be a greater challenge than I remember it was with my boys. The girls have a lot of questions and are experiencing more bodily changes that require explanations and my calming reassurance. With the boys, outside of the sudden growth spurt and deeper voice, the only other signs of their pubescence were my constantly missing Victoria’s Secret catalogs and the prolonged time they started spending in the shower.
Last semester I signed the girls up for Kardivas. It’s something like a girl empowerment club and it’s actually helping me tackle some of the girls’ questions. Last week’s topic of discussion was middle school and boys. The girls now perceive the secret to knowing if a boy likes you is, as one of my girls put it, ”if he’s mean to you or he gives you the winky face”. A little confusing if you ask me, but then again trying to figure if a boy likes you when you’re 11 is just as baffling when you’re 32.
This week the girls came home from Kardivas club with a sample pack of maxi pads and an assignment – ask your mom about her period. The adolescent opposing daughter coyly suggested we opt out of the assignment. Poor kid. I think she’s secretly hoping if we don’t talk about it then she can somehow magically delay any further onset of puberty. Meanwhile, my other daughter, who’s now moved onto her fashion discovery phase and wearing a shiny blouse that screams disco fever today, is wondering aloud if she should start carrying the pads in her purse “just in case”. Oh boy. Someone wish me luck, I may need it.
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