Friday, January 21, 2011


A couple weeks ago my one and only female child walked up to me while I was doing dishes and commented that she had a little bump in her shirt. Just one side, right on her chest. She thought it was funny. My eyes turned to googly-pies and I remembered the horror of coming onto puberty unawares. Jumping on the trampoline one minute, finding a surprise in my pants and quietly telling my mom...only to be lovingly thrown in the tub while a giant maxi pad gets taped inside a fresh pair of panties and the talk of how this will happen to me every month for the rest of my life.

Trampolines and popsicles one minute. Walking around with a crinkly diaper butt the next. So scratch that. Trampoline one minute, crying in the corner the next so no one will have to hear you walk across the room.

Please dad, I hope you aren't reading this. Mom? Don't take this personal. You told me what was up even if it was a day late. I get it that we come from different generations and that there's a good chance no amount of pep-talking would have kept me from crying in the corner...but this is real stuff ya know? It was exciting, weird, and traumatic (for me). So when Rainbow Girl came up to me unawares, all I could think of was my own naive dive into puberty and how it sucked. How would you respond?

Mrs. Olsen: Rainbow Girl! You are getting little boobies! You know what this means? This means you are starting to go through puberty!

Rainbow Girl: [places hands on her face and looks at me with a shocked and slightly happy look on her face]

Mrs. Olsen: First little bumps, then it will swell and pop! (hands flowering over chest). Then you get hair here, and here (more air flowers). You will start to stink under your arms and roll your eyes at me. Please don't roll your eyes at me okay? Your legs will get hairy too and you'll probably want to shave them. Unless you got the hairless Olsen gene. That would be lucky...

Rainbow Girl: (tentatively) Is puberty know....bleed?

Mrs. Olsen: Oh yes. That too! Yes you will bleed. These are all of the changes that you will have to go through to become a woman! (pause) I can't believe you're getting little boobies. You probably won't need a bra for a year or so, but we might need to wear a tanktop under your shirt to smooth things out.

You get the idea. We have talked about all of this before, but I felt compelled to expound a crash course right there in the kitchen. Then Rainbow Girl went to her room to finish her homework and I immediately texted The Mister of the House:

ME: Rainbow Girl's getting boobies.
HIM: What?! How old were you? Isn't this a little early?
ME: She won't need a bra for a while. Maybe not so early.

So I went about doing dishes and making dinner, and thinking of how quick my little girl is growing up and how she was just a baby. She never knew I told her dad, but when he came home from work he popped his head in her room and said hi.

Then the cutest thing happened. She turned to him and said: "Dad, did you hear? I'm starting to go through puberty."

He said that yes he heard. She commented how scary it would be to go through puberty and...."you know...bleed."

And The Mister of the House sat down and said, "Yes, lots of changes happen when you go through puberty, but you have to go through them to become an adult. And you know what? Being an adult is my favorite thing so far. If I wasn't an adult I wouldn't have my own little family, with you as my daughter. I love ya. It's a good thing that will happen."

Rainbow Girl didn't say a thing and just went and sat on his lap and he held her like the little girl she still was, and in some ways, always will be (at least to me and her dad).

And when I heard about it after the fact my heart melted, and I thought that's how every puberty talk should be. Okay okay so I was a flibbertigibbet and had diarrhea of the mouth but it turned out just fine because I have back-up. I was glad that Rainbow Girl wasn't afraid to talk about boobies and bleeding with her own dad, and that he could give her a vision of why it all mattered in the end.

And what a beautiful woman she will become! Just look at her!

NOTE TO PARENTS: Apparently crash courses in the kitchen can be soaked in by little brothers as well. Which is why the next day, while carpooling friends in the mini-van, Vanilla Wafer turned to Rainbow Girl's friend and stated: "Guess what? Rainbow Girl's getting boobies!" and then proceeded to giggle.

So we're into crash course number #2 about how we don't really say the word boobies and how we have private parts and don't talk or laugh about them. That's what you get for being a flibbertigibbet.


Kelly Bryson said...

What a sweet post. How old is Rainbow Girl???

I'm still waiting for my boobies to show up:( My genes mean this won't be an issue at out house for a long time. Whew!

Jake said...

That was great. You guys make a good team, you and The Mister.

paula said...

This was so sweet. It made me cry when I got to the part about your husband talking to her....I think it's great she feels comfortable enough around both of you to talk about things like that. I always wanted a Dad like that....still do. You did the right thing. You gotta keep the lines of communication open.

cozy said...

Academy award for the "best pictures with a post." It's a lovely story, too. Made me laugh, cry, and fall in love with the characters. Rated PG13 for the "B" word.

Kimberly Davis said...

I love your blog - it makes me smile every time I read it! I still think you should live next door to me!

jennaloha said...

Oh my. My daughter would DIE if I ever mentioned these conversations on my blog. You're one gutsy momm...that's what makes your blog so fun.

Anonymous said...

I really, really, really love this post. I hope my husband has the same relationship with my daughter.

Mrs. Olsen said...

Kelly...Rainbow Girl will be 10 this summer. Luckily it will be a few years for all of this puberty stuff to pan out.

Monica said...

Bravo, Bosey! Way to tackle it head on. I think I have the same issues of being unprepared when I was a teen (no offense, Mom) and have tried to take a similar "diarrhea-of-the-mouth" approach with my oldest. I hope we don't mess up. Parenting is hard.

Jen Adair said...

I loved this post! I can't believe Chloe is growing up! Tell her we love her:)

Celeste said...

Touching. Adorable. I love you guys! Also Flibbergibit (??) is a new word for me.

Anonymous said...

You and the Mister totally rock. What lucky kids you have!

LGH said...

Amber, you MUST write a book! Your writing just hits it right on. Absolutely loved the honesty and poignancy of this post. I agree with what others said, you two make a great team. You nailed this moment, which can be so awkward!

Allen Family said...

Good diarrhea of the mouth! I remember calling home from school because I didn't feel well (well before puberty hit me) and my dad answered the phone and jokingly asked, "Is it that time of the month?!" I was mortified! Mortified! I'll need to make sure Miss Marin is more open to these type of convos.

Heather said...

Amber... it was so good to see you and the family yesterday. I loved this post so so much. Your family is beautiful, just like you and the Mister. Thanks for the visit.