With two older boys, I’ve spent my daughter’s entire lifetime feeling like I’m playing catch-up with parenting girls. Because girls are different from boys, whatever the gender-neutral brigade like to believe (and, yes, boys are different from each other too, I can definitely vouch for that). At no time are they more different than when they get to puberty. Girls start their periods and start wearing a bra. Boys start shaving.
So, because I’m always playing catch-up, I wasn’t exactly sure when my daughter needed to get her first bra. She is in the fortunate position of being somewhere in the middle of her peer group when it comes to puberty. It must be so tough to be the one girl in the class wearing a bra in year 5 or to be the only 14 year old who is completely flat-chested.
So, plucking a date out of thin air, I decided that the start of year 8 would probably be a good time for my daughter to start wearing a bra. Clearly, if she had spoken to me and asked to start wearing one earlier, that would have been fine, but she didn’t. About half of her friends currently wear one, so I hadn’t left it too late, thank goodness. She thinks more of them will wear them for going back to school in year 8.
I raised the subject with her at the start of the holidays. Would she like to go and get some bras in the holidays? Yes, she would.
‘You should probably get measured in the shop.’
Her response, without a moment’s hesitation: ‘Can we get measured at home?’
Yes, she could. I always used to measure myself at home and it really is very simple – and it’s even easier measuring someone else than measuring yourself.
Once we’d got her measurements, we headed to Marks & Spencer. Because that’s where all underwear comes from, right? It’s certainly where all my underwear comes from. Their Angel range is especially for tweens and young teenagers getting their first bra. It goes right from a 28AA to a 38E. They have a few pretty patterned designs, which I liked, but my daughter is very sensible. She was instantly thinking about which bra would go with her school uniform and her leotard, which would go with a white top, which would go with a dark top…
She ended up picking two 2-packs – one containing a white bra and a nude bra and the other containing a black bra and a nude bra. She also picked one additional white bra. To be honest, I really didn’t think she needed five bras, but I wasn’t going to quibble over it.
She tried them on in the M&S changing room and we discovered that my measuring was spot-on for the individual bra, but the 2-pack bras didn’t fit quite right. So she went up a band size and down a cup size to get the perfect fit.
Getting her first bra was a painless experience and I think we did it at about the right time. Between us, we’re just about staying on top of this puberty thing, helped by the fact that my daughter is so easygoing and takes everything in her stride.
My little girl is growing up!