My daughter's 9 year wellness visit went well. Everything was normal and she's healthy, her growth mostly following those colorful lines on the same graph they've been charting since her birth. As she and her sister played with a stool on wheels, the doctor looked over their heads at me.
"Have you noticed any...changes?" He eyed me knowingly.
I wished for the ability to communicate with our thoughts. Hormones. Breast "buds." When my mental answers didn't seem to work, I said, "Yes."
Nodding, he referred back to the graph and then turned back to me and quietly said, "Okay. Menstruation typically starts about two and a half years after the first signs."
"Shit." I covered my mouth as the girls continued their crazy giggling, unaware of our conversation. I glanced over at my eldest, whose curvy body is mine in miniature.
Two and a half years. I guess that makes sense. I was wearing a bra over my "buds" in seventh grade and didn't get my period until ninth grade. I was thirteen. My daughter will be eleven or - dare to dream - twelve. Fifth or sixth grade. EEK.
Many reports today link early puberty with chemicals in our environment that are slowly (too slowly) being addressed by society. Timely, as much of the country comes together in the name of Science. But as much as I care about that, I have to deal with what's right in front of me.
Kids with hormones are more impulsive, more inclined to take risk. For now, my tween is still safely in the "child camp" vs. the "teen camp." She sleeps with her loveys. Knows fairies aren't real but still denies knowing. Cuddles unabashedly with me. I savor it all because I know what's coming (to some degree).
Today my kid thinks boys are gross but occasionally funny. I wonder when that will change. Maybe it won't. Maybe she's gay. Luckily we're surrounded by diverse families and she's never questioned the fact that some of her classmates have two dads or two moms. When we talk about it she is very matter-of-fact, shrugging like I'm telling her something about the weather. I love it, this generation's exposure to and acceptance of the differences in people and families. They're enlightened. Not every one of them, of course. Because there will always be bullies and there are always parents who give new life to prejudices through their children.
SORRY! I totally spun out there. But I can't help it. As I watch my child teeter on the edge of tweendom, I can't help but think of all she is about to learn. May the world be kind to her.
Going to go hug her now. Tick tock.