From the time that Lily was born I cringed at the thought of having “The Talk.” So when my friend Michelle blindsided me at a 5th-grade picnic after she heard that some of our daughters’ friends had been talking about periods (we aren’t talking about punctuation here), boys, and kissing those boys; I had a panic attack. My sweet, beautiful, darling, sassy baby girl was too young to talk about those things! I wanted to hide my head in the sand and stay there forever so that my little girl couldn’t grow up.
But that’s not how things work.
Michelle and another friend Sandra had recommended a book to help gently introduce puberty to young girls. There is actually a trio of books called: Something New About You, A Girl’s Guide to Stuff That Matters, and Hang-Ups, Hook-Ups and Holding Out, by Girlology. I did a little research and found Today’s Parent also has some recommendations. American Girl has a series as well.
I liked the Girlology series so I ordered it right away. It teaches us about puberty, hormones and all things. I read it first, then gave it to Lily to read one chapter at a time. After she finished a chapter, we would discuss and then she would read more. This series is written by pediatricians who specialize in this area and is clinical enough to teach (yes, I learned new things) but watered down enough to be easily understandable. My husband and I decided that Lily was old enough to have “The Talk” but I didn’t want it to be some large scary thing, so instead we decided to take a girl’s trip. The first ever annual girl’s trip. Lily helped plan it.
1) Out of state – preferably Florida.
2) Lots of Shopping
3) In a hotel with a pool on the beach.
I know what you’re thinking, “Why leave Charleston?” That’s easy:
This needed to be big. This needed to be amazing. This needed to be an adventure. And it was all that and so much more!
As soon as fifth grade was over, Lily started reading the second book in the series: A Girl’s Guide to Stuff That Matters. It discussed a few more…uncomfortable things. Again it is clinical regarding the things that males and females do together but still watered down enough that it’s fairly easy to understand. It explains terminology – medical and slang. We decided that she could start reading it before our trip, and then we could discuss any and everything that she wanted to.
A few weeks after the last day of elementary school we headed down to Daytona Beach. I had worked that Friday, so we drove down all evening. My goal was to have “The Talk” before we even made it out of South Carolina, hoping to get that over with first, and forget about it. I knew the things that I needed to cover…
Sex, drugs, and Santa
I opened the conversation up a few miles from home and we talked until we reached the hotel. S-E-X was the first topic and I was surprised to find out that she knew most of the ins and outs (pun intended) already. She’s always wanted to be a zoologist, watching any and all animal educational shows; you would be surprised what a kid picks up from watching Animal Planet and NatGeo. She is smart enough to understand that what most animals deal with can be applied to humans. Not everything was ground breaking, earth-shattering, mind-blowing information that I bestowed on her; some of it was phenomenal insights that she would drop and leave me speechless.
We covered drugs; everything from required prescription drugs and abuse, alcohol, and the heavy hitters. We talked about how to say no to anything that someone may try to pressure her into. We talked about God and how to involve Him in our everyday. Lastly, we talked about Santa and all of the mythical childhood creatures; I shared with her that the magic of Christmas is in the hearts and eyes of a child and she promised to help bring that magic to every holiday for her little brother.
I tried my hardest to let her know that she could talk to me about anything. I think she understood.
When we arrived in Daytona, I was a mess and she was delirious. We slept in late and ate in the hotel’s restaurant. She decided that now that she has had ‘The Talk” that she should be able to drink real coffee and I agreed. Luckily she hasn’t asked for any since then.
We shopped and swam and laid out and swam…you get the drift. We happened upon examples of how people act due to drug abuse, even watched a guy roll a joint at the bus stop when I was at a red light (that was educational). Every once in a while she would refer to something from “The Talk,” we would discuss it, and move on.
We rarely spend time together without something pressuring us to hurry, but that weekend all we had was time and each other. I hope that she felt loved, heard and respected. I hadn’t realized how much she has grown because I was looking at her as my little girl instead of a young lady that has amazing opinions about everything from fashion to politics. We discussed the difference between having a pretty face and having a beautiful soul and how unique she is to have both. It was one of the best weekends that I have ever experienced and we both came back refreshed, having a renewed sense of respect and love for each other.