Chart Number 208

March 4, 2016

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!

Earlier this week we crossed a major threshold in our house.

Nine got her own email address.

She wanted to sign up for a website called Tinkercad that allows students to design objects with the eventual goal of using a 3-D printer to print those objects out. We don’t have 3-D printer, of course, and Nine knows that. She just wanted to access the site’s tools to design things.

On Tuesday she tried to sign up for a Tinkercad account during school but had trouble and couldn’t create an account. Later that evening she and checked out the site together, and that’s when we discovered she needed her own email address to sign up for a Tinkercad account. When I found that out, I paused.

Nine has asked once or twice before for her own email account, and so far we’ve managed to deflect the idea. She really didn’t need one until now. But with the way technology drives our world, I realized that the time had come.

Before I gave her the okay, however, I told Nine I needed to talk to her father about it. I also gave her a short, easygoing talk about staying safe online. She nodded and offered her own thoughts. That night my husband and I chatted briefly, and we decided to let Nine have her own email.

We told her Wednesday morning, and Nine’s father reiterated the need to remain vigilant once she actually had the email address. She bobbed her head, and the grin on her face stayed there until I picked her up after school.

“I can’t wait to start using my email,” she said in a semi-quiet tone with excitement.

It’s a brave new world.

*****

On the way home from dance class on Wednesday I flipped radio stations looking for a good song. None of them were playing anything good, so I settled on the most popular one in town and let the commercials play. At one point we heard a commercial for a business here in town that sells bras.

In anticipation of summer, the store was advertising a swimsuit sale. The voice in the ad promised an amazing variety of bikinis, tankinis, one-piece swimsuits. The ad ended with the upbeat echoes of what summer could bring including looking fabulous in swimsuits.

“Why does it matter what a person wears to the beach?” Nine asked.

“Yeah, we’re just there to swim,” Seven added.

“I would just wear my bikini and go in the water,” Nine said.

“What?” I asked in mock shock.

“I mean a regular swimsuit,” Nine amended.

“Yeah, but other girls will go to the beach in their bras and bottoms of their swimsuits,” Seven declared.

“You can’t wear a bra to the beach,” I said. “That’s your underwear.”

“Well, their bikinis then,” she said. “They’ll wear their bikinis, and the girls will stand in one group and the boys will stand in another group. And then they’ll look at each other and fall in love.”

Nine giggled.

“And then they’ll go to each other, and the girls will kiss the boys.”

“What?” I said. This time the shock wasn’t quite so fake.

“Yup,” Seven said. “It’s a stage of life.”

There you have it. Summer lovin’. A stage of life.

*****

One evening I chatted with my mom on the phone for a little while, and she asked to talk to the kids. The girls took their turns, Seven first and then Nine. Nine hung up the phone after she finished chatting with her grandmother.

Later that evening Nine came to me in the kitchen as I washed dishes.

“Nani said that when we go visit her this summer that she’s going to feed me unhealthy foods so she can fatten me up,” she said with a little bit of an embarrassed grin.

“Oh really?” I asked.

“Yeah, and I think I need fattening up,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Why do you see that?”

“Because I’m so skinny,” she said. “My bones are protruding.”

I gave her a hug and said probably the most grownup thing I’ve ever said to my elder daughter.

“All girls get curves eventually,” I said. “Every girl just gets them at different times. You’re beautiful exactly the way you are, and you don’t need to worry about anything.”

She nodded, accepting and appreciating the reassurance. My elder daughter may not realize it now, but if she continues to stay tall and willowy into her mid-teens she’ll probably appreciate her physical form then.

*****

One night this week I went to say good night to Seven, and after I kissed her and told her to have sweet dreams she stopped me.

“Mamma, when I’m eight, can I have pajamas?”

The question out of the blue didn’t faze me. My younger daughter’s mind ping pongs back and forth between ideas and concepts, thoughts and considerations. Sometimes I get my bat out fast enough to lobby the ball back; sometimes it flies right past me.

This time I didn’t blink. I simply explained to her that pajamas won’t fit her. The girls know this, by the way. They’ve watched me struggle—and struggled along with me—in finding pants to fit them. In daytime life, when the weather is cold and only pants will do, we’ve made do all these years with adjustable waistbands. When it comes to nightwear, though, those adjustable waistbands don’t exist, and with good reason. Nightwear should be completely comfortable.

For that reason, I’ve put the girls in nightgowns for the last several years. The topic comes up once in a while when the weather presents us with sub-zero temperatures, but we always come back to the same answer. Pajama bottoms just don’t fit the girls.

“But I’m like Daddy, and Daddy has pajamas,” she said plaintively.

“Daddy’s a grownup, and he’s done growing,” I explained. “You’re not done growing yet.”

“Yes, I am,” she declared. “I’m not going to get any bigger.”

“Good night,” I said, smiling at her.

Sigh. The trials of wardrobe at seven years old.

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