I was just going through all my blog posts and came across this one that I posted nearly a year ago. A year ago I was panicking that Maya was kind of starting puberty. I have not posted too much on this topic, not because I don't have a lot to say, but this is a topic where it is hard to find that balance between sharing my story and violating her privacy. It's a hard line to draw and sometimes, especially now, I wish I would have started blogging more anonymously, making up a nickname for Maya like Rainbow Catcher or Marshmallow. Then again, I suck at nicknames. No.
Still, I have been reluctant to post details of how we are dealing with Maya's puberty, at 9 years old, although I did post this. I admit, it's tough when talking about puberty to find the right balance between being open and protecting Maya's privacy. I have tried to keep my postings about how I am dealing with the situation and how it effects me rather than her and I have been scarce on actual details.
Here she is nearly a year onward from that original post and she has gone from starting puberty to having C-cups. And while dressing her at the moment is a challenge and I still obsess about the irony of having a 10 year old child with autism, developmentally behind, who still inhabits the world of stuffed animals, pretend games and stories and Thomas the Train, while at the same time having to make sure that the t-shirt she is wearing doesn't show cleavage or make her look like a 9 year old Lolita, she is handling the transition like a trooper.
One thing I have noticed is that the changes she is going through make her differences more pronounced to the outside world. We seem to get more stares when people see my beautiful daughter, who at-a-glance looks much older than her age, clutching stuffed animals and moving clumsily with the occasional arm flap and who is the only child with breasts climbing on the slide at McDonalds play land.
But that's really about me. I am the one who is self-conscious about it. Maya is her happy, usual self.
She is, however, outgrowing clothes faster than the speed of light. We're already out of kid sizes and her feet are only 2 sizes smaller than mine. Wearing a bra is now a necessity of life and we had to try several before we could find some that are comfortable but offer her the right support and she never fussed about it. For a kid that has a hard time with sudden changes, she has just rolled with this and been an absolute star.
With all these physical changes, I of course have been talking to her a lot about her body and asking her frequently if anyone has been teasing her and stressing the importance of her telling us if anyone makes fun of her or makes her feel bad or says anything about her body. I have also had the other talk with her, about being private with her body and not letting anyone see her naked and how important it is for her to tell us if anyone touches her in a way that makes her feel anxious or bad and we've stressed how no one should ever touch her private parts or ask to see her naked.
On Friday Maya's teacher texted me telling me that during gym class she offered to help Maya with lacing up her shoes and casually walked into the changing room to do it and Maya, who was dressed at the time scolded her for coming in, telling her, I am changing clothes in here and my mommy said no one is allowed to see me naked, next time, wait for me to come out.
And just this evening Maya and I were talking and I asked her if any of the kids at school were teasing her about her body? No, mommy, they are my friends.
So, while my girl is going through a lot of changes, she definitely seems to be handling it.
Like a champion.