It was bound to happen: my daughter is…how can I put this…she’s MATURING. Her body is filling out. Her voice is changing! My little girl grew BREASTS! I’m still getting over the initial shock. I’m sure it didn’t happen over night, although it sure seems like it did. One minute I’m playing “patty ‘cakes” with my kid, and the next minute she’s asking if anyone has seen her bra.
I have tried to prepare myself for the inevitable, but like everything regarding children, the “inevitable” came without notice. In fact, it first dawned on my that something was up when I caught myself screaming, “Hey, Put some clothes on!” Now, I never USED to say that to my daughter. Why start now? I’ll tell you why – it’s because my little girl grew BREASTS! It’s a sure sign that my little girl is not so little any more. When she was two or three years old it was considered a photo-op whenever my daughter ran around naked or strolled around in her little Winnie the Pooh underwear. Now she’s 12 and the camera stays in the closet.
Why is this so traumatic to fathers?
I have done a little research on the matter, and most psychologists advise parents to talk with their children about puberty. The prevailing wisdom is that little girls are still coming to grips with their rapidly changing bodies. The paradigm is that their bodies are enroute to looking like an 18 year girls, while their mental state still thinks that Barbie is cool. So as parents, we want them to know they are still loved and that exploding hormones are completely normal. That’s all well and good, but why don’t the same physiologists provide the PARENTS with someone to talk to? How come we don’t get a representative? I took my family to the beach the beach the other day and I noticed for the first time that other kids – some a lot older than my daughter – have their eyeballs all over her. I have noticed this before, but this is the first time I realized that my daughter is fully aware she’s being looked at. And the bad part – at least for me – is that she’s learning to enjoy it.
My wife, bless her, is a lot more in tune with this changing-of-seasons that my daughter is undergoing. I know they have talked because I have been within earshot of many of the conversations. And actually my wife’s approach provides a great counter-balance to my hysteria. What’s more, my daughter seems to appreciate my wife’s advice, and somewhere I think my daughter appreciates my concern that she has grown….breasts.
I am in full agreement that – in her own mind – my daughter is still a 12 year old. Or at least she still acts that way around me. Actually, I’d be completely happy if my kid reverted back to being a three-year old, but I know that’s not going to happen. But even her acting like a 12 year old is proving difficult because to me it’s just not the same thing any more. I can’t seem to wrestle around with my daughter nay more because…well…because she has breasts. And I think it’s been written somewhere that when THAT happens a father needs to stop wrestling around with his kid.
I am now preparing myself for the next several phases of my daughter’s development. In short order they will be: boyfriend, sex and marriage or some variation of the above. I will have to act like enjoy seeing my daughter with a boy…I will have to act like I enjoy seeing that boy putting his arm around her. With my luck, she’ll meet and marry a boy I thoroughly dislike, and I’ll have to live the remainder of my life acting like I enjoy his company…and that of his FAMILY. Man oh man is there was ever a reason for me to move to Australia this is it.
Subconsciously, my daughter’s coming-of-age has inspired to run farther, jump higher, lift more weight and injure myself more often. I strained my Achilles tendon the other day running on the beach, and I’m sure it was the thought of my daughter and an as-yet-to-be-determined boyfriend that caused me to run too fast or too far or whatever it was that caused me to get hurt.
At any rate, there’s not too much I can do about it. At the end of the day I know that no matter what, she’s still my daughter. And even without breasts she is going to grow up and move on. And that’s the way it should be.
I just wish Mother Nature would allow her to slow down a little bit.