Boy Emotions and Girl Maintenance

Happier times, when the kids were much younger

As soon as you mention you have a girl child above the age of seven, people start giving you those wary, knowing looks. “Ooh, you have a tween,” they say.

What they really mean is, “Ooh, you’re about to deal with girl puberty.”

The shaming of female sexuality begins with the notion that pre-pubescent and pubescent girls are horrible creatures.  They are full of sass and hormones.  They cry at the drop of a hat.  They develop these terrible weapons called breasts and menstrual cycles.  The image of their sweet little girls metamorphosing into a raging, crying, bleeding monster in an A cup has caused many moms and dads to mourn their daughters’ maturity into womanhood.

I’ve been through girl puberty.  My daughter hit puberty very early, starting at age 8.  And no, it wasn’t fun.  Yes, she was sassy; yes, she cried at the drop of a hat; yes, she was difficult.

But she has always been all of those things.  I’d be lying if I said I saw a difference in her behavior that I could attribute to puberty.  The sassiness has intensified, but her basic personality has not changed.

Puberty simply provided a rationale for my daughter’s acting out.  I could look at a mom who was watching her sass me in H&M, mouth, “puberty,” and get that knowing, sympathetic nod.  Little did the mom know that she’s been sassing me since she was 4.

I was overprepared for girl puberty, but I am completely under-prepared for boy puberty.

No one — except mothers of boys who are going through or have gone through puberty — tells you that boy puberty is much, much worse than girl puberty.  That boys’ hormone-triggered emotional outbursts are scary because they are personality-changing.  No one tells you that pre-pubescent boys also will cry — or scream, or fly into a rage — at the drop of a hat.

No one tells you that watching your sweet, unflappable little boy become vicious and violent, is way worse than watching your daughter become a more mature version of the bitch she was when she was born.

My son is 9, and the beginning stages of puberty are upon him.  Deodorant is a must.  Everything upsets him.  I mentioned my late mom the other day, and he burst into tears.  “I wonder if Grandma can see me from Heaven and if she’s proud of me,” he sobbed.

“Oh, good grief,” said his sister.

In a split second, grief turned to rage. “YOU. CUT. IT. OUT!!!” he screamed at her.

“What’s his problem?” she asked me.

I rolled my eyes at her.  “Shush!”

I had to hug my son and assure him that Grandma is indeed proud of him and always will be.  I told my daughter to stop being an insensitive ass.  I went and got myself a glass of wine while they battled it out.

I’m too old for this shit.

Before pre-puberty, nothing ever bothered my son. His sister would needle and needle him, vainly trying to get a rise out of him and frustrating herself in the process.

No more.

Now, they’re both sensitive and emotional.  They both overreact to and fight about everything.  In the midst of their epic battles, I tune them out and fantasize about running off to a villa in Spain, where Fernando attends to my every need.

On the rare occasions when they get along, I get a glimpse of the relationship I hope they have when they’re older. At the root of it, he is still very sweet, and she’s a lionness.  She will cut you to protect what’s hers.  And he’s hers.

Actually, my daughter is the easier one sometimes, as long as I’m spending money on her and her new “needs.” Weekly manicures and pedicures.  A monthly yoga membership.  Hair appointments.  Eyebrow threading.  I not-so-jokingly asked her if she wanted a bikini wax.

“No, I don’t want a naked mole rat, thank you.”

Naked mole rat?  A waxed vagina looks like a naked mole rat?  Have you ever SEEN a naked mole rat? *shudders*

I give it another year before she’s begging me for bikini waxes.  In two, she’ll want vajazzling.

I hope my son’s pre- pre-puberty personality returns when his body adjusts to the flood of hormones.  Until then, hope I survive this.

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8 Responses to “Boy Emotions and Girl Maintenance”

  1. JaneBMore Says:

    Are you living in my house? My son is 11 and I swear if I thought I could survive the guilt I’d take he long way home EVERY.SINGLE.DAY! His outbursts and oversensitivity is exhausting. He can explode at the drop of a hat and my daughter is not much help. At 6 she is uniquely skilled at pushing his buttons. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve pleaded with her to just not talk to him because I’m really not sure which innocent or not-so-innocent comment will cause the outburst. How long is this supposed to last? I’m not sure if I’m too old for this or too logical. I mean if he has a problem I’m on it. But this random mess is just over my head.

    By the way I hope I don’t have nightmares about that naked mole rat.

  2. Shah Says:

    I am so glad you posted this … I was planning on googling male adolescent changes (still am) because my son is a total emotional mess. He is 11 and some of the things he was manifesting the past couple of years I probably incorrectly attributed to my divorce and its affects on him. Recently, I had to admit that there is something else going on with him – one minute he will be yelling in a rage and then the next minute he is crying. At times he is just a mess and you are right, I have never gotten the heads up about this from any other mothers. Being that I have no brothers and did not grow up closely with my male cousins, all of this is news to me.

  3. Mika Says:

    Hello. I’m new to your blog and loving the writing. I just had to comment on this post. It reminds me so much of my brother and I. According to my mother, I went through a very mild puberty. I was always a quiet child, so I just continued wanting to be left alone. My baby brother, on the other hand, completely changed. He was a hyperactive and somewhat mischievous child, but once puberty started he became sassy, emotional, and mostly withdrawn. He must have spent two entire years sulking in his room, which was great for me because I could barely stand to be around him. Then at 15 he finally emerged as a man with a full beard and the most mellow personality of anyone I know. Since then, we have been the best of friends.

  4. Tara Says:

    Thanks, Carolyn. Now I’m positive I don’t want children. #Lawd.

  5. inkognegro Says:

    And yes another reason I am glad to only have boys. I think boys with sisters have a rougher go of it because girls are just so much smarter(readh more emotionally capable and mature) than boys.its rather Globetrotters vs. Generalsish, to be honest. Of course, for me, being a man makes the whole process simpler for me.

    I wouldn’t know WHAT to do with a daughter.

  6. L Martin Johnson Pratt Says:

    I’m wondering if this is a new phenon because i dont remember that phase. I am oldest of 5 cousins in my generation and then my younger brothers are 10 years younger. I remember we started playing rougher, trying to be cool and noticed breasts. Oversensitivity and Rage i just remember my younger girl cousins always getting under my skin even when i was 6 and they were 4 they would puck me or take a bite out of my hamburger MOM!!! LOL. If you ever want need or want your son to hang out in Tribeca just give a holla….

  7. Miss C. Jayne Says:

    Okay. I don’t have any children of my own HOWEVER I was a late bloomer and I have two younger brothers (twins) that went through pre-puberty/puberty woes. When I say World Wars III — whatever, I mean it.

    I had always been the quiet one out of my Mother’s younger children, so I was always “moody, sensitive, confused, emotional…” (all of that shit) which in hindsight would piss me all of the way off b/c people really didn’t pay me any mind…but that’s not my point.

    I’m trying to tell you when puberty (my brother’s puberty) hit me.

    We were at the dinner table, eating chicken, and I asked for the LAST drumstick! The part of the chicken that ONLY I ate. My Mom nodded that I could have that pitiful piece of chicken and I reached for it. Needless to say, I ended up on the floor. One moment, all was quiet on the home front, the next moment…I was on the floor. Seems that my brother suddenly decided that he wasn’t quite full, asked for the chicken (and was “ignored), and got pissy because I got it, so he hit me. And my Mother hit him. And I cried over my chicken that hit the floor.

    We went through that, back to back to back. First one brother, then me, then his twin.

    My poor Mom. My poor neighborhood. Our poor teachers.

    Sorry humanity. =(

    And the naked mole rat thing is hilarious!!!! LOL

    *Miss C. Jayne

  8. Deesha Says:

    THANK YOU! My youngest is 6 and hit “puberty” around 4; I thought it was just my child. Her sass has intensified. Now my almost-12-year-old, who has never been sassy, is careening headlong into real puberty. Pray for me.

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