Sunday, January 20, 2008

Can You Say "AWKWARD": Conversation With a Pre-Teen Girl

So, Super Man and I were hanging around the house with the super kids yesterday because it was too flippin' cold to do much outside of the house, and he and I started up an age-old conversation about a conversation I felt "we" needed to have with Super Girl "sooner rather than later." The discussion about "body changes." Super Girl IS after all turning 12 next month and is going to be going through puberty "sooner rather than later," no matter how much Super Man would like to bury his head in the sand and pretend his baby isn't growing up.

He tries to tell me that I should do all the talking since I "know what I'm talking about." (Where he got that idea is beyond me.) (And the fact that he admitted that for a change was earth-shattering.)

I try to tell him that he should do most of the talking so that Super Girl's mom doesn't come back and try to kill me for treading on her mother-daughter territory (which she would most certainly do). Although, in all fairness to Super Man and myself, all indications were that Super Girl's mom had not had the "body changes" conversation with Super Girl yet since the girl has yet to don a bra, despite being slightly developed and playing sports (don't even get me started...).

After going around and around for a good 15 minutes, we ultimately decide that Super Man will kick the conversation off and I'll jump in as needed. Great - we were off to a great start.

Super Man calls Super Girl into the kitchen, where we sat Spanish Inquisition-style around the table with all eyes on Super Girl. I'm sure she was practically wetting her pants wondering what she was going to get in trouble for or "talked to" about. Small red blotches appeared on her cheeks before we even parted our lips to speak, so typical for Super Girl. (Her face always betrays her when she's nervous or attempts to lie or play dumb.)

Super Man stares at her for an inordinate amount of time, clearly struggling to find the right words to begin with but ultimately making even me uncomfortable, and I was just there to offer the "all girls go through this" portion of the speech!

When at last language returned to Super Man, he managed to mumble his way through the reason for the Inquisition. Unfortunately, the words that came out most clearly were "the birds and the bees," at which even my eyebrows nearly shot off my forehead and my jaw nearly hit the table, considering that we had only discussed talking to Super Girl about getting her period and the need to wear a bra!

I decided it was time for drastic measures, and I opened my mouth. The conversation went something like this.

*all text in brackets ([_____]) indicates thoughts in my head while speaking

SW: "Super Girl, what your [clearly unprepared]* father is trying to say is that we wanted to talk to you to find out if you've had the 'body changes' conversation with your mom yet. Have you?" [There, easy enough. Super Man, you idiot...]

SG: "Um..." (painfully long pause during which SG's cheeks became even more red and blotchy) "yeah."

SW: "Right. So, when did your mom talk to you about this, and what all did she discuss -- just the changes that your body is going to go through or, um, adult physical relationships?" [God help us all.]

SG: "Just body changes." [Don't help me out here, kid.]

SW: "So, she talked to you about getting your period?"

SG nods her head, cheeks now so red they're shooting out flames.

SW: "Ok. Well, um, have you started getting your period yet? Because I was the exact same age you are now when I got mine for the first time, and quite frankly, it freaked me out because no one had talked to me about it yet other than what you hear in school, and let's face it, we're all just freaking out when we hear that kind of stuff in school, so I didn't really pay that much attention."

SG sits there staring dumbly at me.

SW: "You didn't answer my question -- have you gotten your period yet?"

SG: "No."

SW: "Have any of your girlfriends?"

SG: "One."

SW: "Well, it's probably going to come sooner rather than later [there's that phrase again], and I just want you to know that if you get your period while you're at our house, or if you have it and you're coming to our house for a weekend, I've got all the supplies and can help you out if you need it. I just want you to know that you can feel comfortable talking to me about this, and you don't have to be embarrassed if it happens here, ok?"

SG: "I know."

SW: "Do you REALLY know, or are you just saying you know? Because this really shouldn't be a big deal that you have to worry about, and I do want to know if you need anything. All the supplies are in the linen closet in the bathroom upstairs, and if there's anything else you need that I don't have, you'll need to let me know."

SG (still staring dumbly at me): "I know."

SW: "Right. Um, the other thing: Has your mom talked to you about wearing a bra yet? Because you really do need to start wearing one soon, especially since you're in sports."

SG: "Yeah, she's talked to me about it."

SW: "Okaaaaay.... and has she said anything about taking you shopping for a bra, because I'm serious - you need to start wearing one sooner rather than later." [Ugh, I'm starting to hate those words. They're soooo overused. Especially in this conversation with the monosyllabic cave people.]

SG: "Yeah. I think we're going to do that soon."

SW, ready to bang my head straight forward onto the table: "Ok. One last thing: There are books that talk about the changes that are going to be happening with your body, one of which I've seen is actually part of the American Girl series and looks pretty straightforward and not too crazy embarrassing. Do you have a book like that, and if not, do you want me to get it for you?"

SG, before I can even finish my sentence: "NO - that's okay."

SW, sighing with impatience: "OK, that's fine. Just know that we're here if you have any questions and you don't need to feel weird or embarrassed about this because we ALL go through it. Do you have any questions or is there anything you want to talk about?"

SG: "No."

SM [grrrrr.... nice time to chime in again, FATHER of Super Girl -- at the END!]: "Okay! Well, that wasn't too painful, was it?"

SG and SW look murderously at SM until he closes his mouth and walks away with his cape between his legs...

Now we'll see whether Super Girl's mom actually goes and buys her a bra, and then whether Super Girl actually wears it.

I'm not holding my breath.

1 comment:

  1. I can just imagine Super Man during this whole conversation. It cracks me up.

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