“Half the 4th Grade girls have boobs and wear bras,” Ainsley reported.
“Really? Like, for real?” I asked, stunned because no one had boobs until like the 7th Grade when I was in school. “Like they really need bras?”
“Well, give me five!” I said, holding my hand out.
“Why would I give you five?” she asked
“It’s better not to be the first one to get boobs in the 4th Grade, believe me,” I informed her.
“Well, I don’t want to be the only girl without boobs,” she said.
“You’re not. You said half the class. That means half the class doesn’t have boobs.” I said.
“They are having a Bra Club. You have to have boobs to be in the club,” she reported.
“Well. Go get ready for soccer,” I said.
A few days later, as I was getting ready for bed she came into the bathroom.
“Mom? When can I shave my legs?” she asked.
“When you’re 12,” I said, because this was when I had been allowed to shave my legs and so obviously, this is the right and appropriate answer.
“All the kids make fun of my hairy legs!” she exclaimed.
“Who does?” I asked, wondering if she just uses this line because I tend to fall for it a lot.
“Sarah and the kids at soccer and when I wear shorts at school,” she claimed.
“Ainsley, shaving your legs is a real pain in the butt. Once you start your hair grows back in all stubbly and scratchy and black, it doesn’t grow back in all soft and downy like your hair is now. I’m not kidding, it’s a massive pain in the butt and you have to shave like everyday. That’s why I don’t think you should do it yet,” I explained reasonably.
“I don’t care. I don’t want all the kids making fun of me. Look at this hair! It’s embarrassing!” she yelled, showing me her admittedly hairy legs.
I looked down and rubbed her hairy legs and wondered how the hair would grow back in if we just used Nair rather than shaving them for a few years. Would they grow back in stubbly and black then?
“Go to bed Ainsley. It’s late,” I told her.
“Fine! I’ll just have everyone make fun of me and go to school embarrassed and play soccer in shorts embarrassed! You don’t care!” she yelled and slammed the door to her room.
I sighed and went to her room. I really am a sucker for the teasing and embarrassed thing,I thought as I opened her door and said into the dark, “Maybe we’ll try Nair this weekend and see what happens.”
“What’s Nair?” she asked.
“It’s this cream that dissolves hair. I don’t know how it will grow back in. But, we can try it and see,” I said.
“Okay. Thank you,” she said.
“Good night. I love you,” I said.
I shut the door. Is there really any reason that 10-year-olds were required to have hairy legs if it embarrasses them, I wondered. Is there some rule that says it has to be 12? I wonder when other parents let their kids shave their legs? 4th Grade sure isn’t what it used to be, it got a hell of a lot more complicated.