Growing Up Too Fast

I just heard a news report that 15% of 7 year old girls have entered puberty.  That means, in the next 3.5 years, I have to teach my innocent, young daughter about sex.  I don’t consider myself particularly prudish, but sex is not something that 6 or 7 year olds need to know about.  This news report got me thinking about everything else in society that is causing my little girls to grow up too fast, and it started making me pretty sad.

Take fairytale and Disney stories – they are full of death.  Have you read or watched Snow White lately?  The entire story is a murder plot of a stepmother out to kill her stepdaughter (and, yes, she’s a stepmom because bio mom died).  Cinderella’s mom is dead.  Even poor Nemo’s mom is dead.  How can we get through these classic stories without explaining death to our children?  I also want to explain the importance of water safety and pool safety to my children, but “drowning” is a euphemism for “death,” so it’s a slippery slope.  It’s hard to raise cautious and aware children without freaking them out or by exposing them to things that absolutely shatter their innocence.

And, then there’s the obsession with all things adult that I’ve noticed in the Big Cheese and her friends.  I understand there’s a certain allure to being an adult.  We get to stay up late, don’t get forced to take naps (although wish we could!), and we get to drive cars.  Big Cheese also wants to drink “Diet Coke” (all brown sodas are Diet Coke to her), and she even wants to know when she’s going to be big enough to drink beer and wine like mommy and daddy.  When we answer that that will come when she’s 21, it’s evident that her concept of time is pretty non-existent, and she starts asking if maybe that will be after her next birthday.

Grandma sent the girls a really cute toy cupcake set, complete with birthday candles that Velcro to the top of them.  They have led to a pretty regular game of birthday party around our house.  We sing “Happy Birthday” so much that 16-month-old Bugster now sings it on her own in the car or sitting on the couch.  The Big Cheese also loves real birthday parties and wants to go to everyone single one she can.  She has birthday on the brain so much that she has started a birthday wish list for when she turns “4 next week.”  (In reality, she turns 4 in May.)  I’ve tried getting her to turn it in to a Christmas list, but she really wants another birthday so she can turn 4.  Once she’s 4, she feels like she’ll be big enough to do more adult things.   

The Big Cheese figured out she won’t always live with us.  So, she has started asking a ton of questions about it, like where she’s going to live when she lives by herself, and even if Hubby and I are going to help her carry her boxes when she moves out.   She wants to know if Bugster will still live with us when the Big Cheese moves out or if she, too, will live by herself somewhere.  These are such big questions for my little girl.

Then, I watch as Bugster grows, and we celebrate every milestone – the walking, the talking, the sleeping through the night.  She eats with silverware and drinks through a straw now, and her separation anxiety has significantly lessened.  (Can I hear a “Woohoo!!!”?)  We celebrate each and every one of these steps as signs that she is growing up.  It is such a tough, tough line between encouraging advancement and growing up way too fast.  And this when they’re just toddlers!  The teenage years are going to be brutal . . .