“My boobs are growing, Mommy!”
My three-year-old daughter was standing naked in the bathroom, having disrobed so I could give her a bath before bed.
As she shrieked out this latest observation about her alleged growth spurt, her hands pressed flat against her nipples, her shoulders drew back with pride, and a look of pure delight lit up her entire face. I couldn’t help myself. I snorted in an attempt to hold back my laughter.
My daughter was so eager to be just like me. I was nowhere near ready for her to hurtle into full womanhood, but I was trying my darnedest to make sure that she’d be ready when the time came.
Interactions like the one above are fairly common with my daughter.
One time, when she was still three, we had a conversation about which people in our family had vulvas and which had penises. The conclusion was that we all had butts, and that butts were very silly. Another time, Em noticed my pubic hair for the first time ever (I don’t know what took her so long) and asked me — with a look of pure disgust on her face — “What happened to you?” This led to a brief explanation of the things that happen to our bodies as we grow older.
And then, of course, there have been all the times Em has wandered over to me with a vibrator or a canister of condom samples or a riding crop she’s found in my bedroom or home office.
“What’s this Mummy?” she’s asked. I’ve sighed and quickly done the mental calculus required to figure out how much is appropriate to tell her. So far, “That’s mommy’s toy,” has seemed sufficient.