“Mommy, let’s play a game. You pretend to be the Mommy, and I’ll be Puberty Girl.”
Puberty Girl visits our home frequently these days. She’s 13 years old, and she wears a bra, smears deodorant under her arms and drags a razor across her legs. She gets her period, and frequently changes her pad or knots a sweatshirt around her waist to cover up an unsightly stain.
My 5-year old daughter created Puberty Girl. The juicy details of adolescence have also captured the attention of my 7-year-old, but she has yet to create an imaginary representation of her curiosity.
I frequently share the escapades of Puberty Girl with my friends, and their responses run the gamut. Some parents gush with support and admiration. “It’s SO great you’re starting these conversations early,” while others laugh it off. “You’re going to be so screwed in a few years.” (Yes, I know, thank you for that.) Lots of folks change the subject.
Not one person has responded by saying they intend to start a similar conversation with their kindergartner or first-grader. I get it. An in-depth exploration of the menstrual cycle and the difference between training bras and sports bras at this age wasn’t part of my Master Parenting Plan. (Never you mind that I don’t actually have a Master Parenting Plan. That’s not the point. The point is that I didn’t set out to teach health class each night.)
The rest of this post is over on the On Parenting Blog at The Washington Post.