Thursday, March 3, 2011

stories of growing up

When was the first time you stuffed tissue in the front of your shirt? Should I stipulate I'm talking to women? Look, I'm not asking when was the last time you did it. I only ask (I have a good reason, see), because yesterday Ainsleigh came walking down the stairs like she had not a care in the world, with a bulging upper torso. She quickly picked up what I had called her down for, and began to go back upstairs when one half fell out. I was going to ignore it, but I don't want that mentality to set the stage for all future conversations about her body. So I adopted the straightforward approach I learned from my Dad.

Like the time he was scratching my back in church right right after I got my first bra and every time he came to the strap he slowly scratched over it as if to say, "Well WHAT do we have here?" I couldn't sit back until I knew my face wasn't red any more (like 15 minutes). Or the time I had my first period and I told my mom not to tell my dad (a plea I now find absurd - what mom ISN'T going to tell her husband their daughter has had a significant life-altering event?!) but lo and behold he was driving me to an activity that night and I remember the exact spot on Las Palmas Drive that my dad said, "So! I hear you're a woman!" I died a thousand deaths as I weakly replied, "I told her not to tell you." But even in that moment I realized how ridiculous the objection.

So with that everything-is-worth-talking-about mentality, I asked:
"What do you have there, Ainsleigh?"
She shrugged and kind of muttered, "Just...trying something. It's dumb." And pulled the other wad of tissue out.
"Are you practicing having breasts?"
"Sort of."
"Well. You're kind of young for them still. You'll have them someday," I said, and then whispered to Joel, "If you're lucky." (speaking from personal unlucky experience)

I am both startled that my baby is old enough to recognize what her body is and where it is going, and comforted that she is doing the exact same stuff I used to (and I like to think I turned out ok). But in that comfort is a little horror.

Gemma, on the other hand, has really discovered and claimed nudity. She prefers to sleep pants-less for naps, saying, "I sweep in my naked wiss no pants." And when she walks in on me getting out of the shower, says, "You in your naked?" But the best is when I strip her down for her shower and she kind of runs her hands over her belly while swaying side to side and says, "I am soooooooooo naked." As if there were varying degrees. Thankfully, she recognizes we confine that kind of (un)dress to the house (and, let's face it, that AGE - lest you think I'm running a nudist colony over here. ew.) and when she wants to go outside, brings me her pants.

I am pleased to report that for the moment, I am having no body talks with Donovan. That kid wore me out with his admiration for...himself. He is pleased, however, to discover that at nearly-6, he is taller than Ainsleigh was at over-7. But come on, that's not hard.

I don't know what happened to these kids of mine. They're...KIDS. And I marvel at what they learn and retain and just know. Or what they pick up here and there. After walking home from dropping Ainsleigh at school this morning, a boy with dark hair and glasses rode by on his bike and Gemma squealed, "Das Harry Potter!" loud enough for him and then his twin brother, following closely behind, to hear ("Das MORE Harry Potter?!"). I had to admit, they did look a bit like him. But maybe they wouldn't like the comment, especially coming from a 2 year old.
"That's not Harry Potter," I told her.
"He WOOKS wike Harry Potter," she maintained.
I was trying to keep it quiet, "No they don't."
She thought for a moment and then in a small voice said, "Kiiiiiiind of."
"Ok, you're right. Kind of."

Who is this kid? When she starts wadding up tissue and sticking them in her shirt, I'm going to pass out.


laura said...

"Das MORE Harry Potter?!"

Hahahahaha. If only, G.

janine said...

Hilarious Gemma. I have to say that I can remember wadding up tissue paper and wearing in my shirt to STAKE CONFERENCE when I was probably about 9. Of course, I thought it looked totally natural and was completely amazed when my mother noticed my sudden maturity ....during stake conference. And did I mention that my dad was the president and we had a general authority staying in our home. Sometimes thinking about my childhood is quite horrifying!

Anne said...

love the period have a good dad.

Lisa said...

I'm thinking it was around 5th grade for me. Oh the awkward stages. Did you know that my dad, mom, and best friend were coaching me outside the bathroom door my first time trying to use a tampon? Oy vey. It was not great. All in the name of using a hotel hot tub.

Becca said...

LOL I love this story and I LOVE Lisa's tampon story haha!!

I don't think I ever came out of my room with tissue paper in there, but I do remember the first time Laura tried to get me to wear a bra. I was MORTIFIED. I felt like everyone knew I was wearing a bra and it was so embarrassing.

Makes me kind of sad that Ainsleigh is going up already. Maybe she will have a chest...I got mine from our Aunts!