I have a love/hate relationship with the American Girl’s Puberty Book. Being the oldest child, I didn’t have a sister to fill me on all the pubes, boobs and dudes. It didn’t help matters that I was such a tomboy so I was completely mortified by the appearance of any little knobs. (For the record, things kind of stopped there anyway. Be careful what you wish for!)
Anyway, I think I asked my poor mom something about periods and magically, some goofy paperback proclaiming to know everything about my body appeared on my bed. Kind of like when the training bras appeared on my bed. I vowed that when I was Cool Mom, I would be so open with my daughter that there would be an Afterschool Special based on my approachable approach.
All it took was one doctor appointment. The doc asked Eileen if she knew what puberty was, and my daughter kind of had a glazed look over her face, but nodded “yes.” Then the doc went gushing on about girls stuff and Eileen just sat there and nodded. The next day, she found the American Girl “The Body Book for Girls” that I had just got back after loaning it to another friend. So I did what I had always planned on doing, gave her the book and choked out, “Feel free to ask me any questions.”
She poured over the book. It had illustrations about how to insert a tampon. Explained B.O., blackheads, bad breath and bras. I didn’t see her for hours. Finally at bedtime, Cool Mom enters her room and asks, “So do you have any questions about any of this stuff? I know it might be a little overwhelming, but I’ve been through it already.”
“Well, yes Mom, I do have a question for you.”
Oh Lord, please help me not mess her up for the rest of her life with my answer.
“What do you recommend, tampons or pads?”
So we had a little “talk” and everything that I mentioned, the book contradicted. Awesome! Maybe there’s hope that I really haven’t gone through puberty and the boobs will come! I did show her how to put a pad into her underwear. A lesson that my best friend in high school did not receive when she put the sticky side to herself and all the contents leaked onto her uniform skirt. YOUCH!!!!! Not sure she really had a Brazilian in mind when she made that bad decision.
So Eileen asks if we can go bra shopping and also pick up some pads so she will be prepared. Sure, no problem. That will be easy enough since the front of the bra will have to be exactly like the back: SHE HAS NOTHING GOING ON! If it weren’t for her belly button, you couldn’t tell if she was facing forward or backwards. Nonetheless, I am really proud of her for being more mature about the subject than I am.
I happened to go to Walmart that night and return with my recommendation (pads) and a simple little training bra that looks like a cami cut in half. Again, I put it on the end of her bed while she is sleeping. (Really, why break a family tradition at this point?)
The next morning at 6:30 am, Eileen appears at my side of the bed. “Mom. Mom. Mom. I don’t think this bra provides enough support.”
For what? A sunken treasure chest? A carpenter’s dream?
She explains that she really wanted the cute patterned bras that have little padded cups.
“Honey, I am sorry, but you don’t need that yet. And if you wore it to school with a fitted shirt, you will look like you woke up and had boobs. I have prayed for that since I was 16 and it just doesn’t work that way.”
She left and snuck a few pads into her backpack for “just in case.” Ironically, the book is now “missing.” Maybe I’ll check the end of my bed.