The Girl is ten and a half, and I think she has been having mood swings since November…the day we had our Christmas meal with my family, she wound me up SO much that when we got to my mum’s, I confessed that I had almost completely lost it with her because she managed to wind me up so much.
My mum gave me a hug, said “It’s hard being a mum, isn’t it?” and then scared The Girl a bit later with a “You do NOT speak to your mother like THAT!!” when she was a bit sarcy to me – which managed to scare me as well – I’ve never grown out of being scared of my mum.
A couple of hours after we’d left to come home, my mum called me, and said those words that I really hadn’t imagined hearing for at least a few years…“You don’t think she might be hormonal, do you?”. I slumped. I replied “Bloody hell, I need a vodka!”
And since then, I’ve known that I have to have ‘The Talk’ with her. But ‘The Talk’ is a scary thing. ‘The Talk’ means that she’s growing up, and that I’m going to be the mother of a girl old enough to have periods, boobs, hormones, boyfriends, sex, girlfriends, pregnancy, STDs, pubes….argh!!! I am NOT that old. And neither is she, to be honest, but obviously it’s the next stage of it all, and there’s a need to prepare for us both. The Man is terrified!
And how do you tackle it? I remember when (I thought I was 12, but my mum assures me that I was 10) I went on holiday one half term with my parents, and on the first night, my mum gave me this book called Peter & Pamela Grow up, and she said “Read this over the next couple of days, and when you’ve finished we can have a talk about it…and just ask me any questions as you like!” I remember wondering what she was going on about – and then the shock and embarrassment as I was reading it. I remember sitting on my bed in the room, thinking “Oh my GOD!! I don’t want to go out there! I don’t want to talk to her abut THIS!! Oh my GOD!!”.
So, when I’ve been thinking about talking to The Girl (obviously I’ve already put it off for a month since she got back from Mauritius), I’ve thought that it probably was the easiest way to approach it. I’d been looking at Amazon, reading the sample pages of loads of the books, and asking some friends about ones that they’ve had.
I realised just how immature I really am – I was looking at one of them, and the fifth page had very detailed line drawings of the male and female sex organs…and it was SO dated that it took me back to Peter & Pamela and my immediate reaction was “Oh my GOD!!! It’s a willy!! Ewww!!! That’s GROSS!!!! I can’t look at that!!” and I closed the page down.
Yeah, great. The Girl has no chance. How the hell am *I* going to have a serious discussion with her, without scaring her, and without getting giggly.
Just to add to my feeling of unease, I decided it would be best to go into a bookshop and actually check out the whole books, so I felt easier about the content. So I went into Waterstone’s at lunchtime and went and looked in the kids reference stuff and couldn’t see anything, which meant I had to go and ask one of the girls. Me (bright red) “Hi – do you have any books for kids, well, yes, for kids about puberty, for girls really” and the girl smiled at me sweetly, almost putting me at ease until she shouted across the shop “DIANE! CAN YOU SHOW THIS LADY WHERE THE PUBERTY BOOKS ARE!!!”
I guess I shouldn’t have been embarrassed, but the first thing I thought of saying was “It’s not for me!! It’s for my daughter!”
Yeah – cos I look like I’m prepubescent!