The fleshy hips

When my daughter dances, a little bit of flesh above her hips wobbles.

It wasn’t there a few weeks ago.

She’s not eating more and she’s not exercising less. It’s the beginnings of puberty.

I know it’s silly, but I feel sad about it in a number of ways I can barely explain. First and foremost I guess it’s because my little girl won’t be little for much longer. Let’s be honest, she hasn’t been ‘little’ for a while now, but she’s still MY little girl. She’s an unusual mix of mature and young for her age and I like her just the way she is, without hormones and moods and strops.

The boys going through puberty hasn’t really bothered me. Maybe it bothers me because she’s my youngest and it’s very final. Or maybe it’s because she’s a girl and the same as me, so I can relate to it so much more. Maybe it’s because she’s a bit younger than they were, because girls start puberty earlier.

I worry that she’s noticed the ‘fat’ and is worrying about it. But I don’t want to draw attention to it and potentially upset her in case she hasn’t noticed it.

We’re not negative about fat or flesh or weight in our house. It’s not something to ridicule or be disgusted about it. But the fact is, four of us are slim and one of us (my husband) carries just a little bit of weight. My parents, sister and brother-in-law are all very slim. Carrying a little bit of  weight just isn’t on my kids’ agenda. And I know my daughter doesn’t want to be ‘fat’ because she’s said it before (yes, it’s sad, I know, but I’m sure she’s not alone in that).

We don’t ram messages about healthy eating and healthy weight down their throats, because I believe that is unhealthy in itself. The underlying message we carry with us is that it’s important to be a healthy weight – not too fat and not too thin. Not from a looks point of view or from a getting-teased-at-school point of view, but from a health point of view.

I know it’s time for me to bite the bullet and talk to her about puberty. I need to talk to her about how her body will change on the outside and the inside. I need to let her know that she is developing and so are all of her friends. They will change shape in the next year or two and that’s all normal.

It was probably the right time to talk to her a year ago, but I bottled it. I bought a book on puberty just before Christmas, which I thought would make it easier for me. She was busy doing panto then, so I thought I would leave it until February half-term. But that flew by and she was ill for a couple of days. I would do it at Easter – Easter is two weeks rather than one. But, you guessed it, I didn’t do it then either.

Now the pressure is really on, I need to talk to her in May/ June half-term. We need to get the book out and go through it and I need to give her time to ask questions.

It’s silly, but I’m worried about doing it. She’s my daughter, for goodness’ sake! We talk all the time. How hard can it be? My mum never talked to me about puberty. We were never particularly open about anything like that (although strangely nobody had any issues with nakedness), but I need to pluck up the courage.

Because I don’t want my daughter worrying about her fleshy hips.

Puberty, Growing up, Daughter, Book

Author: Sarah Mummy

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24 Comments

  1. Honestly? I don’t think you should put it off until half term if you are seeing changes I think you should find the time now. I know how hard ‘the talk’ can be but sometimes the thought of it is the scariest bit. I always bottled it too and used the school’s sex ed lessons in Year 5 as an intro to ‘the talk’ with mine!

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    • Glad it’s not just me who finds it scary! It should be so easy to talk to my own daughter for goodness sake! I think they do their year 5 sex ed lessons right near the end of the year, so I can’t piggyback onto that – it would be perfect if I could!

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  2. Not easy but just take a deep breath and go for it. One tip if give is get rid of the boys when you do. You don’t want interruptions or them taking the Micky if they over hear

    The teen talk book from boots gives some great tips for us mum’s to bring up the subject. Worth getting one

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    • Thanks very much. I’d definitely planned to do it when the boys weren’t around, that’s been half of the problem with finding the right time! Eldest is going away for a few days in half-term, so I’ve only got one to get rid of then!
      Thanks for the reminder about the Teen Talk book – I read your post and thought it sounded perfect for us!

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  3. You need the puberty discussion, but please don’t talk about fat and weight gain, don’t even plant the seed. This whole post is about ‘fat’ and you’re making it an issue just by spending half of your blog post explaining how it’s not an issue. I don’t think you mean to offend but I’m a bit shocked by your tone in this post, speaking as a slightly fat person, and your friend!

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    • I definitely don’t mean to offend! I know that she doesn’t want to be ‘fat’ and I worry that she’s noticed the little bit of weight and it will upset her. My puberty book touches on changes to body shape, so I will talk to her about that, along with getting taller, periods and boobs. I’m not looking forward to it!

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  4. It’s so lovely that you’re going to have the talk with her. My mum never did with me, I kind of just found out in the playground and I won’t even tell you what some of misconceptions were :). I can imagine it’s really daunting to take that step as its a huge milestone into womanhood but it means she’ll feel she can come to you with all her problems too. Best of luck with it x

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    • Thanks very much! I’m not looking forward to having the talk, but I know I’ve got to do it. I definitely want her to know she can come to me in the future with any problems. x

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  5. Oh crikey I can’t believe that I will have to have that chat with my daughter in a few years. They grow up so quickly and I think you are right that it does seem easier with the boys. I have always been very honest and open with them and I have never had to have a real chat, I think I have done it in stages. I think i=I will definitely find it harder with my daughter though so I do understand why you have put it off.

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    • I haven’t had a proper chat with my boys either – the main ones have been about deodorant and spots. I don’t think there’s anything as alarming for boys as periods. I heard some real horror stories from bloggers at Britmums Live last year who had started their periods early and I swore I didn’t want to put my daughter through that. So I really need to bite the bullet and get on with it!

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  6. I’m curious about what “the talk” constitutes these days. We’ve never had a “talk” but my kids at 7 and 9 have heard, in fairly broad terms, about puberty, periods, sex, gender identity and sexuality. Is there something I’ve missed?

    I’m afraid I agree with Uleygirl that despite your protestations your tone does come across as quite judgemental about body shape. I’m super concerned about the messages my kids will pick up and how their body image develops – and, alas, have no good ideas about how to deal with it at this point. I am hoping they’ll be blithely oblivious like I was!

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    • You haven’t missed anything! You’re obviously a very good mum. I’ve avoided all of these subjects for a whole lifetime and I’m pretty sure my daughter knows nothing about periods. I need to talk to her about periods and boobs mainly. She knows she’s going to have a growth spurt, but probably only knows about growing upwards, not outwards!
      I really didn’t mean to be offensive or judgemental on body shape. Sadly our kids are growing up in a very different world to us with the pressures of social media. They also seem to exercise ‘naturally’ a lot less than us ie they don’t cycle and walk as many places as we did. I would love her to be oblivious, but the reality is that she may not be.
      As an aside, you and UleyGirl are such similar people! You would probably get on like a house on fire.

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      • Ha, I wouldn’t make the leap from “has talked about periods” to “must be a good mum” 😉

        I honestly have never found these issues hard to talk to the kids about – and they are intensely curious and ask questions about *everything* so I don’t think I’d have been able to avoid it! Hope it goes well for you.

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        • It’s just not something I’ve ever felt comfortable with and I admire anyone who does. I rarely have periods and those I have are so light that I’ve never been in a position where I’ve had to talk to the kids about them!

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  7. Good luck, I hope it goes well! My Mum never really talked to me about ‘growing up’, but she did give me lots of books, although I took her by surprise by starting my periods before she was expecting me to! I was very skinny as a child but when I hit puberty I put on a lot of weight around my hips very quickly, it was quite distressing for me. I got terrible purple stretchmarks which I still have today (although they did fade), and I’ve never had stretchmarks again even during pregnancies, so the weight must have gone on very fast. I was terribly self conscious about my ‘fat thighs’ and I remember my family teasing me about them (I’m the oldest so got to puberty first!). Probably because in reality they weren’t fat at all and they could see that but I couldn’t, but a bit of reassurance would have been nice!

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    • So sorry you went through this. This is exactly the experience I fear for my daughter and that I want her to avoid. What is it about family and teasing about things like ‘fat thighs’. Grrr! I remember my brother teasing me when my armpits first got hairy!

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  8. I really do consider myself one of the lucky ones when it comes to this subject – I know you commented on my post when I spoke to Grace. I understand how hard it must be though. My best piece of advice is to make it ‘special’. My mum said that she had something important to talk to me about and made it as natural as possible. Do have the talk sooner rather than later if you can. I started it on a Friday evening so that Grace had the whole weekend to talk to me and ask questions – and there were quite a few! All the best with it 🙂 x

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    • Thanks very much! No doubt I will report back when it’s done! I had it in mind to make it ‘special’, although I’m not sure how. I like the idea of starting on a Friday evening so she has that extra time to ask more questions. x

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  9. Gosh, I hadn’t even thought about things like this. It’s great that you’re going to talk to her about it, my mum never talked to me and weight has always been a real issue to her.
    Nat.x

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    • Thanks! My mum never talked to me, which somehow makes it seem harder to me to talk to my daughter. But really, how hard can it be? x

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  10. EEK! I teach sex ed at school every year and have NO problems discussing all the ins and outs of everything from periods to rude things but I must admit I am not looking forward to this chat with my girl! It’s just one of the awkward mother/daughter moments isn’t it? x

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    • It really is! I’m not looking forward to it at all, but it has to be done! (I’m glad that you would find it awkward too and you’re used to talking about this stuff!). x

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  11. It is so hard Sarah and I recently had a chat with Katie. She was having pains down below since before Christmas, and we thought it would be a water infection. But each time we ended up in the out of hours there was no sign of infection. The doctor discreetly said it could be her body changing and getting ready to start her periods. She did have a scan to see if there were any underlying problems, and thankfully the scan was all clear. But I was kind of forced into preparing her incase she started her period. She took it really well and she asked me lots of questions. I think that night I had a little cry at the thought of my little girl growing up. Thankfully she has had no pain for a few months now x

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    • Thank goodness the pains have cleared up, that must have been a worry! I’m glad she took ‘the talk’ so well. The clock is really ticking for me now – only a few days until half-term! I think I need to decide now which day I’m going to do it so the time doesn’t slip away from me again. x

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