First, I want to talk about "buds." And I'm not referring to flowers. The other day I looked across the room at my 8yo. She was laughing with her friends, her big, toothy smile spread across her face. I gazed at her shirt, noticing it was a bit tight. Then I squinted. I felt my eyebrows go from furrowing to raising into the recesses of my forehead with surprise. And horror.
She had buds. Two tiny bumps under her t-shirt that will one day soon (or now?!) require a bra. A BRA. I felt my mouth gaping and shut it tightly. She appears unaware or at least unaffected by this change. I wish I was unaware and unaffected by this change.
I remember being twelve and wearing my first stretchy, size A bra that covered my board-flat chest. I was in seventh grade and was *terrified* to change in the locker room as I snuck glances at the other girls who had real reason to wear such undergarments. Luckily, I was well-liked and a mascot of sorts since I was the smallest in the class. Of course, no one actually wants to be the smallest in the class and being called "Little ___" after a time grew tiresome as I fake-smiled and then turned away, frowning in characteristic tween style.
Which leads me to the question: when do I suck it up and buy my child a bra? How do I know? Will it be obvious? Is it obvious now and I just don't know it?
After the girls were in bed, I mentioned it to my husband. He blinked, shook his head and changed the subject. The topic has been tabled as I debate this...
Secondly, I wanted to share that recently Discovery Magazine, whose readers are "tween" girls ages 8 - 13, did a print spread on "Find the perfect suit for your body size!" The article called out body types, asking girls to identify with one of the types (curvy on top? round in the middle? straight?), and then suggested bathing suits that would best flatter their figure.
HELLO? Of course there was the backlash you'd imagine and Discovery Magazine apologized for their article and said it did not intend to promote body shaming but rather to show that every shape is acceptable. Gee, thanks Discovery. Don't you dare plunk my daughter into a category when she doesn't have any idea that "body types" even exist or matter (and they don't!). My tween is happy with her body and has no idea that she should be anything BUT happy.
The day after I noticed The Buds, she came over and stood in front of me while we were watching her sister in a dance class. We were facing the same way and I slid my arms around her shoulders until my hands were resting on her chest. Like I always do. BUT THERE ARE BOOBS THERE. Quickly, I adjusted my hands, setting them on her shoulders instead. I'm sure it didn't even register with her. But I can't unsee them and they're not going away. And I most definitely prefer buds in the form of flowers.