Several years ago, when Demigoddess the Elder was about nine, I brought her to the pediatrician's office because I suspected she had a urinary tract infection. I helped her do the peeing-in-the-cup thing, and a little while later the doctor confirmed that she in fact had a UTI, based on the presence of blood cells in her urine. Just before writing out a prescription for antibiotics, the doctor asked me, "She hasn't started her period yet, has she?"
Her what now?
"Because some girls start as young as eight."
English had suddenly become a foreign language. My baby and menstruation did not compute.
I did eventually come to grips with the fact that my child would inevitably hit puberty, and even managed to do it before the puberty actually happened (although, granted, not by much). I figured I had weathered one of parenting's more traumatic transitions fairly gracefully.
Then last night I attended an orientation meeting for the parents of kids who will begin their high school careers next fall. I sat at a lunchroom table with the parents of a couple of Ms. Elder's friends, whom I have known since way back when our children were still seriously into Barney. We had registration forms, class booklets and a variety of other handouts. As I looked around the room, I remembered my own high school lunch room, and thought about how Demi the Elder is entering into some of the most exciting, most memorable years of her young life.
A school counselor presented an overview of the high school experience, and explained the registration process. She talked about graduation requirements, available elective classes, and the honors program.
At least, I think that’s what she was taking about.
I can’t say for sure, because five minutes into the presentation the words “Driver’s Ed” sent my fingers immediately into my ears.
After that, all I heard was my own voice chanting, "BLAH-DEE-BLAH-DEE-BLAH-DEE-BLAH-DEE-BLAH-DEE-BLAH-DEE-BLAAAAAAAAAAAAA…”