Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Facts of Life

A recent debate on FB has opened my eyes to an eventuality--my child will not remain a child forever. At some point, God willing, she will accept potty-training, then she will be arguing with me about what she wants to wear, then she will be telling me what to buy from the makeup counter, then she will want a phone, and by then I might just throw in the towel and let her raise herself (kidding). But you get my point.

And as I marvel at how quickly the time has already passed from her babyhood to toddlerhood, I also think back to my own childhood and marvel at the same rapid progression of time. If she could articulate it for herself, I imagine my Mom has those same feelings (and it makes me misty eyed to realize that).

One day I am going to have to talk to my daughter about sex. Until this past week, that was probably the absolute last thing I worried about since she is two years old. And you might be reading this and thinking: (a) umm, yeah; or (b) why make such a premature declaration given that she can't even say the right word for whatever she is depositing in her diaper?

It started with a debate over an article in a recent issue of Teen Vogue, but it was another unrelated conversation about menstrual cycles that caused this great awakening panic. As far off in the distance I assumed these developments might be, they are not. I have only about six years before I will need to deal with a pre-tween in my household, but that does not mean that I get to breathe easy as there is the matter of my seven year old Niece.

It was just this Spring when she and I got into a debate at the Target over bras and hipster panties. BRAS AND HIPSTER PANTIES AT THE AGE OF 7!!! Yet, I am the same Auntie that routinely bought her Niece two-piece swimsuits because I thought they were cute, so yeah, serves me right. We compromised, but you get where this is going. Not that long ago she was just a baby too. I am not ready.

But I need to be because if trends in the early onset of puberty hold true, there is a strong possibility that it will be an issue for us soon. And as much as I love my mother, her talk with me about menstrual cycles was, umm...terse. Luckily, there was sex education in school that filled in the blanks, but I was so ashamed of what was happening to me that I never even told her when I first got my period at 11 years old. I don't want a repeat of that history for my girls.

And then there is the controversial article in Teen Vogue about anal sex. Opinions may differ about the appropriateness of it (and I haven't read enough of it yet to make a determination), but let's get real. By middle school, our children will no longer be those sweet-faced little innocents that enjoyed dolls and robots. They will have evolved and we will need to be woke. I am not suggesting that we give them porn, but I don't think that we should assume that saying nothing or shielding them will yield the desired results either. Remember those classmates who became teen parents?

Thus, I plan to be prepared. I will read this TV article and possibly collect a few issues to use for future reference materials. I will pull up the You Tube videos of old Cosby Show and Blossom episodes that dealt with menstrual cycles (both featuring my favorite Busy Black Mama, Claire Huxtable aka Phylicia Rashad). I will answer questions to the best of my ability. I will host sleepovers where we can watch marathons of age-appropriate sitcoms like Full House and That's So Raven. Heck, I might even bake cookies!

And right after I repeat the process for my daughter, they can witness how I handle menopause...

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