I still remember the day that we found out our third child would be a girl. My husband was always good at being able to tell whether there were boy parts or girl parts but I was never confident in what I was seeing. I was pretty sure that I would have another boy though because I was just a boy mom. When they told me I was having a girl it was like time froze. Literally. It was like a scene out of some movie where everything blurs and the voices go deep and drag slow.
Criticize me if you want but the thought of having a girl terrified me and it still does. She is the apple of her father’s eye, the joy of her brothers’ worlds (most of the time), my spunky, loving girl and she keeps me on my toes!
For the most part we parent the boys and K, who is now 8, the same but there is no way around the fact that boys and girls are different. I’m proud of how we’ve been able to establish a pretty open dialogue in our house about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, bullying and sexuality. All of these things apply to each of them regardless of their gender.
Still, boys and girls are different.
My eldest son went through puberty, started to smell, grew body hair, and got a bad case of acne. Solution: deodorant, “the talk”, and a great dermatologist. Easy Peasy.
An example of how crazy I am when it comes to girl stuff:
The other day we were walking away from the school when K turned to me and asked if she can shave her legs.
I just about fell over. OMG, when do girls start shaving their legs?
Have I mentioned that she’s 8? EIGHT.
I’m a total loser at this point because she’s seen the look on my face and she knows this is going to be good. Why can I talk to my boys about pretty much anything but the pressure to say exactly the right thing to my girl turns me into an idiot?
After gathering my idiot self, I asked her why she wanted to shave her legs.
Because she has hairy legs, she says.
OK. Well, we all have hairy legs and, I’m NOT kidding you, I started talking about primates and evolution and how the hair kept us warm when we were monkeys. MONKEYS!
Do you not see now how traumatizing it will be for this beautiful girl child to have me as her mother?
When she told me that someone in her class shaves their legs already it was all I could do to keep my eyeballs inside my head. Well, that just made it all the more interesting to her. Somehow I pulled myself together enough to gather her in a hug and sit down with her on the sidewalk for a chat.
I pointed out how very light blonde and fine the hair on her legs was and then showed her the shameful stubble on my legs. I explained that once you start shaving the hair it grows back more corse and it’s a pain in the ass to keep up with and since we live in Southern California and wear shorts and skirts all year round it’s an even bigger pain in the ass.
She listened and stared at my legs with disgust and when I was done she just looked at me. I thought she was deep in thought about whether she still wanted to shave her legs, but do you know what that child said to me?
Can we go now? I’m hungry.