As a mother I am constantly learning from my children and living new experiences; I do this by observing and gaging in order to decipher their wants and needs as best as I can. Of course in the process I often find myself making mistakes and wondering how I can do better.
More often than not, I find myself lost in this parenting journey and many times ill equipped to deal with what's ahead. Unfortunately, I realize this when I'm in the middle of unfamiliar situations or new stages in the life of my children and many times it's very scary.
Oftentimes the oldest child is the guinea pig because "first times" are more likely to happen with your first child and that's just part of life... and that's what I'm going through!
With Olivia about to turn 11 I can already see puberty knocking at my door and I feel SO unprepared for it, for ALL of it... Bodily changes, hormonal stuff, personality afflictions, attitudes.. it's just so overwhelming and I can't help but feel nervous for what's ahead.
Here's a recent anecdote...
A couple of weeks ago I took Olivia out to shop for some new clothes because none of her stuff fits and her style has gone from graphic tees and jean shorts to hippie skirts and bohemian dresses and as much as I hate to admit it, she has developed her own image which I can no longer fight. While she was trying on some outfits I noticed her armpits were very hairy and even though I am aware that axillary hair a is completely normal thing, I just wasn't ready to see it on my "little" girl. Coincidentally I had been discussing leg and pubic hair with a close group of moms so the whole "hair thing" had been on my mind; some of these moms were talking about their 10/11 year olds shaving their legs and other body parts and I had sternly expressed that Olivia "wasn't even close" to that..or so I thought!
When I pointed out the hairy armpits, Olivia immediately became flustered and started to cry; this was an embarrassment cry almost as if she felt guilty and even slightly attacked by my observation. I tried (and miserably failed) to make her feel better by normalizing the situation but she just brushed it off. She asked if she could shave off the hair and I said "sure" and we moved on, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry a bit inside.. it happens, I guess.. and it was time..it probably has been time for a while but this is all so new to me.
Aside from the obvious (like the body hair and breast buds), I have noticed A LOT of changes in Olivia in the last two years and I guess I have been somewhat ignoring the fact that she will soon be entering puberty (or maybe she already has?!?) because I don't feel ready. I am not ready to talk to her about periods and boobs, or pubic hair and body odors and most definitely I am not ready to talk to her about sex or any kind of adult intimacy because even though I have a great relationship with my daughter, this is all so new to me and I know that I'll have to step up my game when it comes to talking and communicating openly because otherwise I will fail.
The whole armpit experience really opened my eyes and made me realize that puberty is upon us and so are the talks and the questions, and the doubts and the tears, and the eye rollings and the slamming of doors and so many other things that I'm so unprepared for.. and it's scary... and distressing...and confusing...and maybe...just maybe.. a little bit exciting and exhilarating at the same time!
What are your experiences with puberty? How did you navigate this stage?