As a mother of a young girl, I consider myself pretty well-versed on what to expect in the Milestones category. I mean, I used to be one myself, so Hands in the Air for Team Life Experience!!!
I’ve smiled and laughed and cried my way through every stage so far, starting with the day my Not-So-Little Anymore Girl learned to roll over (that was the end of total control in motherhood and a hard pill to swallow). I dutifully bit my tongue and kept offering each new food as she learned to exercise her newfound mobility and hand-eye coordination by insisting she hated every food she once loved (or at least tolerated before she figured out how to pick things up with her tiny fists and throw it all as far as she possibly could because No, Mama! No!). And instead of curling up into a tiny ball and crying because that’s what I wanted to do when she was learning to walk, I sucked it up like Buttercup and grinned my way through the official end of infancy and welcomed toddlerhood like the proud mami I always have been.
We’ve weathered the Testing Parental Authority phase (which we know is a cycle, so spare me the Just Wait For statements and let us enjoy the Right Nows that I don’t want to let fly by in a blur because I’m too busy focusing on the tomorrows that aren’t even here yet.) We’ve survived the Monsters under the Bed and high-fived after she returned home – all smiles, thank you very much – from her first At Somebody Else’s House Sleepover. We’ve even conquered the Time for Deodorant Milestone, which we marked with giggles and a new catch-phrase which serves as her daily reminder lest she forget to apply it in the morning. “Have we prettified our pungent parts?” is always met with laughter, and for that, I have to thank Disney for Olaf and Frozen.
She’s a master at Side-Eye. We’ve done the Staying Up All Night with the iPad under the Covers Thing and took it like a champ when she got caught. Mama didn’t raise no fool over here, my friends. If anything, this mama raised a little girl who, at only eight-years-old, is secure and confident in her voice, her body, and herself. It’s mind-boggling that I’ve managed this when I was the exact opposite at her age.
Take, for example, the moment I realized she needed a training bra. To be clear, I was in denial and doing a nice job of just waiting it out. But my girl, unashamed of her body and aware of its changing form, proudly announced how her “chichis were maximizing” while I washed her long curls in the bath one night, thereby forcing me to deal with the reality I’d been trying to dodge. She went on to tell me that she is “In Puberty” and to be specific, “Stage Two, thank you”, which served to demonstrate the book I’d checked out for her a few weeks prior had been read and memorized because that’s just what she does. It took every ounce of self-control to keep a straight face and not burst into hysterical laughter right then and there, but I did it. And I’m proud that I didn’t rob her of any bit of the pomp and circumstance and pride she was feeling in that moment. She went to bed smiling and self-assured, just as she should be.
I waited until she was asleep before sharing the story with The Husband and we both cried a little as we clutched our sides laughing, partly from the pure humor in the situation and mostly from the reality check that comes with every milestone. It’s the end and it’s a beginning and it’s happiness and pride and wistfulness and it’s tears and sighs and wishes for time to slow down just to allow us more time to enjoy the children who grow up on us too fast and it’s all these things at the same time.
And so, we’ve come to the Maximizing Chichis Milestone. We will buy training bras and we will discuss why we don’t discuss maximizing chichis during Sunday school or announce to perfect strangers at the post office that chichis means boobies in Spanish. Mami is inappropriate and and can’t contain her laughter when these things happen, so it’s just really all for the best. I know there is so much more to come and I know she will grow into an amazing young woman. I know there are so many Just Waits for us to experience. But where she will be can wait because right here, right now, I’m holding on to today.