Not Yet a Woman

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yes, I think you all saw where this was going, right?

The discovery of armpit hair in the dressing room of the clothing store...which led to the discussion of her breasts..and lack thereof, and the beginnings of, too. Which led to Emily's knowledge sharing of the stages of breast development.

While I sat there somewhat slackjawed taking this information in. Not actually taking it "in" so much. I was forcing the information to bounce off of me like I was wearing one of those Bio-Hazard suits and Emily was showering me with Teen Ebola.

In my mind, I was running in a circle, flapping my hands and screaming in a pitch heard only by raptors. You know where I'd leapt, right? Periods. Menstruation. Aunt Flo ...which led to the possibility that my baby could have a baby....and then to sexual knowledge and activity and the hows of the possibility of my baby having a baby....which led to the picture in my brain - searing indelibly - of my daughter as a real sexual being doing the things which could lead her to having a baby - which is worse than the horrifying picture in my brain of my own parents as sexual beings which made it's debut when I was 13 and realized that my newly pregnant mother must have had S-E-X.

Now this is the sound I associate with this ball of hellish knowledge:

(which, FYI, is also the sound of the person falling from a great height in any comic/graphic novel)

But my perdition had only just begun, friends and neighbors.

When we got home, Emily dragged out her "Your Body and You" book and chose passages for me to read aloud to her. Fair enough. I can read out loud. No problemo. If there is one thing I CAN do - it is research information and read it aloud. I got that skill down pat. Cripes, it forms one of the tenets of my chosen profession, and we all know that when I revert to Professional Dawn, I do ok.

After reading, she lay in bed next to me. Thinking.
I lay in bed next to her, pointedly NOT thinking.

So while You all see this coming, I did not. Well, thats Not Entirely True. The possibility existed - but the vault of my mind had locked down and the lasers and guard dogs had deployed.

"Mom - Do you think I have any hair on my labia?"

Kill. Me. Now. Seriously. Kill me now.

I've been puked on, shit on, had an Infant Emily shove her toe up my nose, laid in rabbit piss because I was too tired to change the sheets until the morning. In the interest of Too Much Information, I even once slid a clove of garlic up my hoo-ha in an effort to kill a yeast infection without having to buy medication.

But this? No. I can't.

"Mom - can you check for me?"

I stare at her, my eyebrows knit together in consternation. She stares back at me, her face open and curious.

For her, in the past ten years, I have looked at everything. I have wiped her ass, I have washed vomit from her. I have looked at cuts and scabs and bloody gum holes. I have pulled teeth and trimmed toenails. I have applied ointments and balms to every orifice she has. I have pulled things from her nose. And suddenly I get squeamish? WTF?

Not bothering to wait for any answer from me, Emily runs over to turn on the overhead bedroom light, whipped off her undies and lay on my bed expectantly. I approach this body I know so intimately, so thoroughly, so completely with total and overwhelming fear. This body - an extension of me for the past ten years - has changed into something foreign and off limits to me in the span of three hours with the discovery of a handful of fuzzy armpit hairs.

I gather every tenet of empowering my daughter to love her body that I have ever pondered. I gather every bit of knowledge of how to raise a woman with good self esteem who loves her femininity and sexuality. I know that having open, trusting relationships and discussions with the adults in a young womans life set these foundations. I force myself to smoothe over my face, which is flashing through variations of shame, horror and panic.

I lean over her.

And confirm the transfiguation of my baby into the pupal stage of womanhood.

6 Baleful Regards:

Anonymous said...

New here, but had to comment. It is great that she is open and comfortable enough to be this open with you.

Just be glad she's not a boy. My SON thought it was okay for mom to check his hair situation a few years back....

Anonymous said...

Yup, that was even worse. (((hugs)))

Bethany said...

It's great she can be so open with you. Hang in there.

PS, did the garlic work?

Fraulein N said...

Awww. This is understandably horrifying for you, and yet really sweet, that she trusts you enough to come to you for stuff like this. I hope you two continue to have such a wonderful bond. It sounds like you're preparing her to be an awesome woman.

MOCK! said...

I liked the "Teen Ebola" comment. I need to find a place to use that in my life....

Amanda said...

I have three daughters. 4, 3 and 1. I am really trying to start preparing myself now, which is like trying to prepare for a dinner party with unicorn, flying toads and Chris Rock. Can't.


I was really hoping you wouldn't see the groundhog's shadow damnit.

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