Thursday, October 25, 2012


So, if you've been reading me for a while, you know that I try to be the coolest mom ever when it comes to talking about puberty and sex and stuff with my daughter.  My mother, who was so wonderful at so many things, was terrible at this part of parenting, and I swore I would do better.  I'm not one of those moms who wants to be friends with their kid, though; she will have plenty of friends, but only one mom, and that mom has a job to do, and one way I promised myself I'd do that job better than my mom did was to be open and forthright and funny and sometimes completely embarrassing about the tough subjects.  Like when I look at my beautiful daughter we have the following exchange:

Me: "Hey, Leila."
Her: "What?"
Me: "PUBERTY!!!!"
Her: "Mawmmmmmm... dork...."

We have had the period talk, the sex talk, the pimple talk, and all the little talks in between.  I have been gearing up for this stuff since before I had a kid, and thank God I had a daughter because if I had had a son, practicing that period talk would have been a total waste of time.  

Now, she's almost 11 and folks, she's getting her boobies.  I discussed bras with her and told her that when she felt it was time to get a bra, she should let me know and we would go out and get one together.  I told her the whole story about riding my bike to JC Penney with Kelly Fitzsimons to buy my own first bra because I was too embarrassed to ask my mom, and that I never wanted her to feel like that.  I didn't tell her the part about how right I was not to ask my mom seeing as she laughed and laughed when she saw my bra and said, "I didn't know they made them this small!"  See?  Terrible. 

A few weeks ago, when I was really in the thick of all this pain and depression and anxiety bullshit, I was crying one morning in my room and Rob came in and said, "Hey, Leila is in her room freaking out.  Do you think you can talk to her?" and I pulled my shit together and she came in and I told her everything was going to be okay, and that this whole situation was temporary and I know how awful it is to see your mom cry, etc. etc. She listened quietly and seemed to understand.  Then she looked out the bedroom door to see if the coast was clear, and said, "Its time. Can we go bra shopping this weekend?" This is the stuff  I live for.

You may think this is a little personal for me to be sharing with the entire internet, but here's the second part of the story where you'll realize its payback time.

Friday night rolls around, and my mother-in-law takes Leila out for dinner as she sometimes does and they end up at the Gap and... you know where this is going, right?

She bought Leila her first bra.  She wasn't the only culpable one, though.  Leila saw the bras and got excited and decided she just couldn't wait for me, and asked, and tried them on, and there you go.  One of my biggest cool mom moments, stolen from right under my nose. 

I was really upset.  I actually cried.  But I was crying every ten minutes at that point, so that's not saying much.  I talked to Leila about it and she felt really bad.  But as mad as I was, I had the presence of mind to try to not make her first bra story a bad memory like mine, and I let her off the hook.  Her consolation prize to me was that I can buy her her first tampons.  Great, thanks. Can't wait.

The whole time we were talking about this, Rob was locked in the bathroom where he is banished when Leila needs to talk to me about something private.  I asked her to go put on one of her new bras and put a T-shirt on over it to see if it made a difference, so she scampered off to do that, and I let Rob out of the bathroom.

L came back out in a T-shirt and it did make a little difference, and then, after all the secrecy, she pulled her shirt up over her head and said, "Dad! Look!"


Jill Robinson said...

This is a brilliant piece! And it's even your life. Just incredible storytelling, darling...your beautiful pain.

The Bipolar Diva said...

That is priceless!