in addition to being the mother of a boy, i am also blessed to be the mother of a preteen daughter i affectionately call “the princess.” the princess is the first child and was the only child for the first four years of her life. the princess was so used to being the only child that when we brought her brother home from the hospital after he was born, it only took a few hours before she asked us when we were going to return him. she was spoiled by two sets of grandparents, one of which is jewish. my jewish mother-in-law was the mother of three boys, which she never hesitates to mention and never lets anyone forget, and the princess is the daughter she never had. once during a birthday party at our house, she took my neighbor (herself the mother of two boys) aside and asked her (between sips of her screwdriver) which kids were hers. after my unsuspecting neighbor pointed her boys out, my MIL responded with, “poor thing, you’ll never know the joy that comes with having a daughter.”
according to my MIL girls are so much easier than boys. not that she would know because she had two maids while her kids were going up, and the third baby’s feet didn’t touch the ground until he was two. since i have one child of each sex, unlike her, and consider myself somewhat of an authority on genetic sex-based behavioral differences, i have decided she’s full of complete shit.
case in point. my princess came home from school and told me she “needs” a bra. i love my daughter dearly, but that child needs a bra just about as much as her brother, the bully, does. granted, it’s not a belly piercing or a nose ring, or even a tattoo, which i’m sure will be coming soon. it’s just a bra. just a simple little bra. so, fine. we go bra shopping. we go look at all the little non-bra bras, which are really just bathing suit tops. we oohed and ahhed over the different colors and patterns and fabrics like two friends out shopping. there was no padding, there was no wire, nothing remotely bra-like about it. just a little triangle of fabric designed to add one small layer under her clothing to cover her almost non-existent but slightly budding lady lumps. and it made her very happy.
so, i have handled my first major developing-daughter crisis. and i guess what i’m most pleased about is that princess came home and told me so matter-of-factly what is was she wanted. there was no hemming and hawing and no apparent discomfort in discussing this issue with me. when i was a child, i would have died before i told my mom i needed a bra. in fact, i didn’t. she told me. and dragged my embarrassed ass down to a department store where some strange old woman measured me to get the right size. as i stood in the middle of the lingerie department while the old woman felt me up in front of god and everyone, i vowed then and there that as a parent i would do things differently and try to make the trip that is puberty as painless as possible for my kids. i feel confident i succeeded with my daughter in her first foray into womanhood.