I’ve always been open and honest with my daughter about everything. A vagina is a vagina and it doesn’t have a fluffy name to make people feel less ashamed of their own bodies, a penis is a penis and even though she’s only 9 we’ve already had a basic sex talk because one day someone with a stupid older sibling is going to misinform the entire class about where babies come from, like that boy in 1985 who delightfully told me that pregnancy comes from peeing near your bum hole. I want her to be informed, prepared and smarter than I was. Although, after we had the sex talk, I said ‘You know you can ask me anything’ and she asked me a question about the moon so I don’t think she’s particularly bothered.
As much as I’d like her to stay 9 years old forever, her body has other plans, silently declaring that things are going to change around here goddammit and as much as I know it’s inevitable, I don’t think I’m ready because puberty is freaking me out. Seriously. I’m not ready.
She is now at the age where things are starting to happen and she has questions.
Many. Many. Questions.
I went through puberty once; I should know the answers, right? Wrong, my brain appears to have blocked everything out and I find myself googling existential questions like ‘What comes first – the hair or the boobs?’ because I DON’T KNOW. All I remember is that I started my period at twelve and what followed was several years of spots, weeping uncontrollably and falling madly in love with any boy who glanced in my direction. To be fair, this hasn’t changed much. I also had an irrational fear of tampons; especially the non-applicator types and I still believe they’re evil. Do I share this with her in the hope that it will scare the hormones right out of her body and she can get back to wearing long vests and playing with bath toys? Do I tell her that puberty is actually a shitty, confusing time for everyone and nothing I say or do will make it better and then after puberty, you have to deal with a lifetime of poor decision making, cheap wine and ironing your own clothes?
I honestly thought I’d be super cool with all of this but apparently I’m not and there will be many or you, rolling your eyes and thinking I’m over-reacting to something perfectly normal – which of course I am. It doesn’t however change the fact that I’ve turned into a puberty obsessed monster and as much as I’m excited to see the woman she’ll turn into, I’m really, really hoping that she doesn’t turn into me.