Here are our wonderful girls on the first day of school/last Monday of August. Mali is in preschool. Iz is now in fourth grade. And she has let me know that her new status should entitle her to two very important things: a locker shelf, and a training bra. Huh?
Two of her best friends recently went shopping for training bras. They did not invite Iz to go with them, and she is both hurt and jealous. I told her not to worry, that training bras serve no purpose, that the undergarment industry created them as a way to make to make wads of cash off tween girls' desperate fascination with all things pubescent, and that if she is anything like her mom, she won't need a bra for at least five years anyhow. Though she gets the anti-marketing/uselessness argument, she is not impervious to peer pressure, and so is wistful.
Next best thing: I got her a copy of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, which she read four times over the weekend and has since loaned to one of the bra girls. I also got her a copy of It's Perfectly Normal as I approve of its frank, mellow discussion and of puberty, and the friendly drawings that accompany the text (my favorite is the pelvic "X-ray" showing the differing locations of in-use tampons and pads). However, it discusses sex and having sex as well, so Seymour suggested that we read it with her instead of merely handing it to her.
I was hoping all this puberty talk wouldn't happen until later on in the school year-- not because I'm bothered by it, but because it means that Iz is gravitating away from little girlhood. But now that it's starting to come up, it's important that she has access to information and feels comfortable asking questions.
Iz has spent a lot of the first month of fourth grade being grumpy for some other reasons, too, and I don't blame her. Both of her best friends are spending a lot of time with other best friends, not for any malicious reasons but because that's just what happens sometimes. Iz is spending a lot of time by herself during class breaks.
Not that she gets to spend all that much time at lunch or recess, because she keeps forgetting to bring in her homework and so her teacher frequently has her spend both recess and lunch inside. Even though she does need a lot of encouragement to keep herself organized, I think this is draconian. Seymour thinks it is fitting.
Iz also made a political bid: she and her friend Violet ran for School Activities commissioners. They ran their campaign almost completely without parental assistance (I am letting my daughter rely on her own initiative whenever possible), and made all their own posters.
They didn't win, but this didn't stop Iz from getting on student council; she noticed that no one ran for the Green Community position, and so talked her way into being appointed. I hope they don't expect too much of her; she's much more fond of titles and positions than she is of actual responsibilities. I say that lovingly; she is brilliant, but very very scattered. Although not as scattered and out-of-touch as her mom was at the same age. But that's a story for another day.