Still a Girl

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Emily smells a bit like peaches when she sleeps.

I'm not sure why, but I woke at 3 a.m. with this thought at the forefront of my consciousness. And Emily in bed with me.

I could tell you it is because it was an especially windy night tonight and that on windy nights she sleeps in bed with me, but that wouldn't be true. She crawls in bed with me most nights. Usually between 1 and 2, when I am firmly asleep. If Terrance is in the bed ( which is about a 50-50 proposition), he will get up and wander into the other room. Most nights, I sleep the sleep of the dead. My daughter and husband are the migratory birds of our home, floating from bed to bed, while I am the Crow - One nest, thank you very much.

But that isn't what this is about. Em's sleep, or lack thereof, has been discussed ad nausuem.

No friends. What has me pacing the house, engendering strange looks from cat and rabbit as I wander from room to room, you think?

When my daughter was handed to me at 4:22 am on May 21st 1998, I did not realize I would struggle so hard to separate my SELF from her. I did not realize that her infancy and toddlerhood would be filled with my own attempts to find the "Before" Dawn. Sure, I was aware that I had just joined the line of countless women who gestate and birth babies...but so what. It is how we promulgate the species.

What I didn't quite get was that I had brought another woman into the world.

Woman. Those creatures of whom I belonged and yet, didn't quite understand. Their reindeer games freaked me out a bit, to be honest and my femininity ( or lack of) has been a tightrope I have walked with occasional success and some spectacular fails.

In each life stage with Em, I have tried hard to keep my eye on the ball. The here and now. What do you need Now and how can I get it to you. One day completed, the next one on deck. Weaning? Check. Baby food to solids? Check. Toilet skills? Check. Wean off binky? Check ( but Jesus, just barely). Ability to dress herself and do basic grooming? Check. Off the Kindergarten? Loss of first Tooth? Questions about sex and reproduction? Telling her about death? Breaking the news of me being Santa, and the Tooth Fairy AND the Easter Bunny? Navigating shitty little mean girls in school?

Yep. Did it. Sometimes better than others, but hey. A little car puking has to be expected now and again.

This weekend we began shopping for bathing suits for her. Anyone who has shopped with an almost-eleven-year-old could tell you - Ugh. I mean, I am NOT forking out 40 bucks for a bathing suit she will shred in half a season..or outgrow. And then there is the "appropriate" factor. My god. Look at some of those hoochie suits. Hell No, my kid is not wearing those. Plus, the evidence points to Em being built alot like me and while I wouldn't say I am fat...I am a brick house. Boobs...and Ass. It takes time to find a suit that fully covers her bootylicious self.

So there we were - in the store dressing room trying on a wide variety of styles and sizes. The first five rejected, I was bringing in the next round when she said this:
"Mom - I have some hairs growing under my arms!"

I looked at her, standing in the dressing room in her panties - smooshed next to the mirror staring at her smooth and hairless arm pit.

"No you don't. Let me see." I leaned in. Staring. Humph. As I thought. Nothing.
"There isn't any hair!", I said confidently holding out the next bathing suit.

"No, there IS ", she said emphatically, "Look - right HERE!" Pointing to a tiny speck of skin under her arm, I leaned in to examine again. Where there were three distinct hairs.

"Oh. You're right", I said and sat down on the dressing room floor.

I was shattered. My mind was completely empty. I held up the next bathing suit for trying on. She wiggled into it and preened in front of the mirror.

She had - for the first time in her life - rendered me completely speechless.

10 Baleful Regards:

Andey said...

You think armpit hair is bad? My daughter will be 11 on May 25, and she has pubes already. That freaked me the hell out royally.

Madeleine said...

I hear you on the unstoppable drive toward womanhood. I'm a few miles behind you on the rails, but the train won't stop.

Bathing suit assvice: Lands' End? Not cheap, but less hoochie.

Dawn said...

Oh andey, there is a second part to this story....

amber said...

My daughter's only 7, but I know that when we get to that point, I'll be rendered speechless on a daily basis.

Sheryl said...

My 11 y/old daughter told me about a month ago that she has about 10 pubic hairs.

I told here they were probably cat hairs that stuck to her when she was sitting (naked) in the chair where the cat likes to nap.

She told me that she thought so too, at first, but changed her mind when she yanked on them and they didn't come off.

Then she offered to let me yank on them to see for myself.

Um, no.

Then I died.

Anonymous said...

god I feel your pain... I thank my stars that S seems to be more of a late bloomer. She has had to deal with glasses and braces - at 10 - so I am glad we don't have to deal with "that" stuff too! (For which I, at least, am not ready.)

los cazadores said...

That was really good, it kind of brought tears to my eyes.

Cindy

Bethany said...

You handled it better than I did. When my now 18 yo told me she had pubes (at 11), I cried.

Jaelithe said...

Sticking my fingers in my ears and signing "La la la my child will never grow up."

I mean, yes, I have a boy, but that means I have to TRAIN him how to act around your daughters, people. And considering that he perfected flirting with cute waitresses in restaurants at the age of three . . . um, yeah . . .

E. said...

Yeah, I was a late bloomer, and I'm sort of hoping my daughter will be too. But she's only 18 months, so I have almost ten years to get ready if she happens to start earlyish. I'll be watching you, Dawn, and taking notes.

My son, on the other hand, is six, and he's already nearly four feet tall, so I'm sure there'll be some hair there issues before too many years.

 
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