And she's on the precipice of puberty.
So hints the GP at today's pre summer camp physical.
The good - Rory is a well-balanced, healthy kid. I can't ask for much more.
Well, maybe one thing...
Before we leave today's uplifting appointment, doc hands both Ro and me reading materials. Mine is the standard 'here's where your [insert age here] kid ought to be in life' paper.
Ro's is fucking different. It has words on it like "sex" and "puberty."
Doc, what are you doing? Don't give that sheet to my daughter.
Naturally, as soon as we get back in the car, the commentary begins...
"It says 'say 'no' to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and sex.' I get all of that except the sex part..."
Ro continues, "I mean, if I start wearing makeup and I'm pretty, how can I control if I'm sexy?"
"What?" I'm confused b/c I think she's confused.
"It says to 'say no to sex.' How can I control that if I'm pretty?"
Let me connect a few dots. Rory is quite familiar w/ the word 'pretty.' (What self-involved nine year old girl isn't? What nine year old isn't self-involved?) She's heard the word 'sexy.' And it has been loosely explained to her that 'sexy' is a distant cousin of 'pretty'...for lack of a better way of putting it...to a nine year old.
'Sex' has not been discussed. Yet, my child is apparently convinced 'sexy' and 'sex' are synonymous. Hence her confusion...and mine.
I misfired my response. "Well, 'sex' really isn't the same thing as 'sexy.'"
Innocently, Ro pounced. "Then what's sex?"
Fucking hell. Does this driver's seat have an ejector button? I should've upgraded.
"Oh...well...it's not something you really need to worry about right now."
"Yeah, but what is it?" inquired the relentless monster in the backseat.
"It's just...it's not...you really don't have to...just don't worry about it right now." I'm flailing.
Light as a feather and matter-of-factly, "Okay, but can you explain it?"
Is there a camera on me? Is this a joke? Why is this happening right now? Maybe I just need to ram Crindy into the vehicle in front of us. Create a diversion. Yeah. No...
"I just...we...let's just not talk about it right now. It's irrelevant...until your thirty." I add the last piece under my breath, wishful thinking aloud.
She moves on.
"The doctor mentioned 'puberty' a lot. What even is 'puberty'?"
I can handle this one. Stay vague and honest. Vague and honest. "Puberty is basically a time when your body starts changing in a lot of ways. It's absolutely normal." Well played, Lustberg.
"So, is that when I get a period?"
"What even is a period?"
Shut your fucking mouth. Really, someone is filming me fail right now, right?
I've got nothing for nine year old ears. "Ya know, it's not something we have to deal w/ right now. So, let's just talk about it later."
"Yeah, but at least tell me what it is," Ro presses.
Even w/ the AC on, I can feel the sweat begin to find its place on my forehead.
"Let's just leave it alone right now and revisit it later," I plead.
"Just tell me what it is. Is it when blood comes out of my vagina?"
How I don't burp up on myself and/or swerve into oncoming traffic is miraculous.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah...yeah, it's like that. Yeah. Okay. Yeah." I'm fucking sputtering.
"So, just tell me about it."
What the fuck? Back off, kid. Can you not feel the unpreparedness and clear discomfort emanating from the front half of this car? I ain't ready b/c you ain't ready. Make it stop.
Out of fear, I'm a little louder now. "It's like your asking me to make you a sandwich right here in the car, Ro!" Okay, sure, go w/ this. See where this leads you. "And I can't make you a sandwich b/c I don't have the ingredients here to do it. Talking about that is like the same thing right now. I don't have the ingredients w/ me to speak clearly about it w/ you."
I kid you not. That is what I said.
Ro paused just long enough - probably to settle on the fact that her dad is a moron. That pause gave me an opening to shift from reactive to proactive.
"Hey, what's this song called?" I asked, pointing a finger at the stereo.
I'd like to say that Ro played right into my distraction technique, responding w/ Top 40 feedback. But, the more likely reality is that - in that moment - she felt sorry for me, gave up, and gave in.
And for that I am grateful to (and for) my beautiful, healthy, growing girl.
Puberty's around the corner. And while it clearly scares me, I'm not running from it. When the time comes, like all the other challenging times experienced to date, I will meet it head on.
Without a fucking doubt, I'd much rather have Jilly in my/our corner w/ this impending chapter in parenthood. But, as Jill often said, I'll do the best I can. And I know that I have many of you in my corner to help support and guide us thru whatever is ahead.
For that, all three of us thank you.
J, J, & r
|The Costa Rican stare|