The One Hundred-and-Sixth Chart

November 22, 2013

By Ekta R. Garg

On Veteran’s Day the girls had the day off from school, so we went out for our second “Girls’ Day Out.”  We had the first one back in the spring and it was a raging success, so I thought I would take advantage of a day off to have another one.

The inspiration for these days, by the way, came from The Cosby Show.  There’s an episode where Rudy, the youngest daughter, gets her period for the first time, and her mother, Claire, declares, “It’s Woman’s Day.”  The idea behind their “Woman’s Day” was to celebrate the change that a young girl experiences, to dispel the notion that it was something to be feared or ashamed of, and also to bond with her daughter on a memorable day.

I loved the idea so much that I decided a long time ago to institute something similar with my own daughters one day.  I thought it would be good to establish a specific time when the kids knew they could talk to me about girly things.  Their father and grandfather love them to bits, of course, but sometimes “the boys” can be very—well, boyish.  And even though it may not be a big deal now, at some point Seven and Five will want to talk about clothes and hair and makeup and boys (hopefully with me around and with minimal blushing) and I want to set up a time and space where they can do that without hearing snarky remarks about it.

For now “Girls’ Day Out” consists of going out to eat and a fun activity.  The activity for this year was riding the train in the mall, and I took the kids to Bob Evans for lunch.  We went into the restaurant slightly hungry, slightly whiny, but fully aware of the fact that we were enjoying the company of all women.

Once the kids’ meals came and their hunger was satiated, they perked back up and chatted as they used their crayons on their menus.  They watched people come in and out of the restaurant.  When a couple came and sat at the table adjacent to ours, I saw the wheels turning in both girls’ heads.

At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, the man was severely overweight.  As in, he had to move the table a little bit to fit in the booth on his side.  The woman on the other side of the table was also overweight but not nearly as obese as the man.

The man’s weight was distributed in an odd way; his face and upper chest seemed smaller than the rest of him so that he was what women’s fashion designers call a “pear shape.”  I saw Five watch him as he perused his menu, talked to the woman across from him, and placed his order with the waitress.  The wheels were turning, and I knew a question would come soon.  I just didn’t know what it would be.

“Mamma,” she finally asked, “when a boy and a girl get married, can some of the boys have a baby in their tummy?

Ah, so that’s what was bothering her.  The cause of the man’s obesity.

“No,” I said firmly but kindly.  “Only girls can have babies.  God made us special so that only girls can have them.”

“So none of them can have babies?” Seven asked, wanting to confirm what I’d said.

“Nope,” I said.

The conversation floated to another topic, but I felt glad the girls didn’t hesitate to ask me their questions (and I’m really glad they didn’t do it too loudly.)  In the future I hope we can continue the dialogue and that they keep asking questions.   That they feel comfortable enough to express their thoughts.

I just hope they don’t ask—any time soon anyway—how the baby got there in the first place.

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