Tuesday, July 9, 2013

a milestone, or three.

Well, it's happening. One minute she's having her first haircut and the next, she's sneaking a razor and shaving her legs. This is all the more amusing since I did the EXACT SAME THING at her age. A few weeks ago after noticing that her legs were becoming quite...furry, I casually asked if girls she knew were shaving her legs. 

"Oh no!" she replied. I then just kind of shrugged and said, "Well, at some point you will, so let me know when you get there." She got there Monday. Or, rather, Sunday night when Joel noticed a giant wad of toilet paper stuck to her bleeding ankle. He came into our bedroom where I was unpacking from our two-week trip to California (more on that later)(and the 100-mile bike ride we did before that)(and the trip to Park City, Utah, we did before that)(we've been busy)(and I've been lazy about writing about it)(enough parentheses) and whispered, "I think Ainsleigh tried to shave her legs."

I immediately headed for the door while he tried to keep me, saying, "I don't think she wants us to know!" I walked directly to Ainsleigh's room, knocked lightly on the door, and then opened it. I didn't ask what she had been doing, I didn't ask where she had gotten the razor, I didn't leave any room for her to feel defensive.

"Why didn't you tell me you wanted to shave your legs? I wanted to help you with this! You probably used an old razor and those are the WORST because they are dull and I know it sounds counterintuitive, but the dull ones are the ones that will cut you!" And I sat down to look at her ankle.

Her voice quavered only a little as she confided that there was a lot of blood. When I told her that cuts in the shower always look bad because of the water, she asked, "Have you ever cut yourself shaving?" I laughed before saying, "Uh, yeah. Tons of times. And so will you."

Maybe she felt encouraged by this exchange. Maybe it was another thing on her list of "things to do before I start 6th grade." Or maybe it was sitting in a car for two days straight. Whatever the reason, I heard her ask, "And, um, Mom? You know how I said I didn't think I was ready for deodorant yet?"

A couple months ago she asked when she should start wearing deodorant. In return, I asked, "Do you want deodorant? I can buy you deodorant!" 

"Oh no!" she reassured me. "Not yet. I was just wondering when." And I laughed and told her that when her armpits start to get stinky, that's when. And that probably she and Donovan would start wearing deodorant at the same time.

Well Sunday night she said, "I think I'm ready for deodorant." Really! So the next morning, I added "deodorant" and "razors" to my Costco list. I mean, might as well buy in bulk since she has the rest of her LIFE to do this.

And then. Tonight. Completing the trifecta of milestones (which, come to think of it, are probably just three points on, like, an octagon or something), she said, "Um, Mom, I mean, I'm not saying I want a bra, but when you do get me one, and I'm not saying I want one, what kind do you think you'd get because-I-don't-think-I-want-one-but-I-was-just-wondering..."

I had to put that last part with hyphens because it came out as if it was one word. 

I kind of love moments like these. I love acting all casual and conspiratorial with her, like we're figuring out something together while inside I'm both skipping with glee that we're talking about this and freaking out a little that we're talking about this. I love reassuring her that it's not something to be embarrassed about and sharing my own stories with her. I love that I can recognize the tone in her voice that prefaces an "I have a personal question" subject.

"I'd be happy to get you some sports bras or some camisoles with built-in shelf bras or whatever you want," I replied. "We can go to Target to try some on."

"Well I don't know if I'm ready. I mean...I don't know," she said.

"That's fine," I reassured her. "I can get you a couple and you can wear it one day and then not the next. It's up to you." She nodded as she laid back in bed, a small grin on her face. 

I love this girl. And I am surprisingly calm about this whole getting older thing. Maybe it's because I've just returned from a family reunion where I am reminded just how much I love my family and getting older is kind of awesome. Maybe it's because bras and shaving and deodorant are the easiest issues we'll face in puberty. But maybe it's because, like her first haircut, I just love celebrating the person this girl is growing into.

ps - a preliminary apology for broadcasting your (impending) first bra on the internet, Ainsleigh. I (probably) won't write when you start your menstrual cycle.


laura said...

Ahhhh, Seesee! She is getting so old! And we were just talking about this last week, with our first shaves and first makeup and whatnot.

P.S. tell her the ankles are always tricky.

Kimberly said...

You're so good!! Way to go on being so casual and supportive and the least bit awkward. I remember sneaking EVERYTHING because I didn't feel comfortable asking or talking about it. Huge kudos to you!

Annie said...

You're an awesome Mom!

Sarah Burgoyne said...

I am sooo glad your daughter is older than Madelynne. Gives me the chance to learn from the master :)

Jillian Tuttle said...

Write a book. It will fly off shelves. You are Chelsea Handler hilarious, but classy. Love you!