EVERY Month?

Asher's tween girl

Hey, my awesome Tribelet of Mini-Women! I’m sorry I couldn’t be with you last week. I was in Colorado Springs taping a radio interview for Focus On the Family about bullying. It airs October 10, and I’ll be posting a link for you here.

Meanwhile you’ve been carrying on GREAT without me! You’ve all prayed for Kaylee and her family about her mom’s cancer, offering her some Bible verses to her to lean on. And you’ve given each other assistance with those emojis that are a mystery to people like me. You have truly become a community, and I’m proud of you. praying

Our group has a new member: Savannah! Ladies, let’s give her a huge  Tween You and Me welcome.

So, it looks like we have the shaving issue under control. Most of you have healthy attitudes about it, and I think we can all agree that even though some of us like the look and feel of smooth legs and pits, hair itself isn’t this heinous (super ugly) thing that has to be gotten rid of the minute we see it. Whew! Glad that’s settled!

There’s still one thing about your changing bodies that we haven’t talked about and that, of course, is The Period. periodMost of you have said in your comments that you know about menstruation, whether it’s happen for you yet or not, and that your moms are okay with me talking about it here. If your mom isn’t, scroll down to the part in red print. Otherwise, read on, Mini-Women!

We’ll spend more than one post on this, so this week let’s focus on our attitude about this deal that’s going to happen every month until you’re 50 or 60. Trust me, that is a LONG time, so a healthy point of view about it will make your life SO much easier.attitude

A few things I hear from girls — and some things that might help:

(1) It’s the thing that freaks you out most about growing up right now. It seems like such a big deal! Actually it IS a big deal. There’s the keeping-clean part of it and the aches and pains that sometimes come with it  and the oh-my-gosh=I’m -really-becoming -a- woman part of it.nervous If you weren’t at least a little bit concerned about it, I’d wonder if you were really paying attention! It’s okay to be nervous.

(2)  Other girls are telling you horror stories about having blood on their clothes at the worst possible times or starting their first period when nobody was around but their brother or having cramps so bad that … Well, you get the idea.horror I’m not saying don’t trust your friends, but in  this case it would be better to trust me. We’re going to cover all of that in the weeks to come. For now, just know this: if having a period every month was as terrible as some people make it out to be, why isn’t every woman walking around crying all the time? I mean, seriously …

(3) You’re embarrassed by the whole thing — to the point that you don’t even want to talk to your mom about it. It’s so, um, personal … And so normal! At first it seems  like it would be totally mortifying to discuss it but when you think about it, every woman who has ever lived has experienced it, so why would something that concerns half the population be impossible to talk about? embarrassedOkay, so you’re not going to go around bringing it up with everybody you run into. Hello? Absurd Little Creature boys?  But moms want to help and so do other adult women who have been where you are. Nobody needs to enter this unknown territory alone. 

For this week, just think about this, and post a comment if you want to:

  When it comes to the whole period thing:

(a) I’m so freaked out I think I’ll skip this series here on TYAM

(b) I’m nervous about it but I want to learn more so I’m in

(c) I’m okay with it. I mean, it’s normal and I have to deal with it so, post on, Nancy Rue!

  (d) I am completely jazzed about having periods. It feels so grown-up!

Before next Wednesday’s post, why not take out your Talking To God Journal rara's coverand ask God any questions you have about periods (like why on EARTH He thought up such a thing!) and let him know what has you a little concerned (I can hardly remember to brush my teeth, much less deal with the whole pad thing …) If you get any answers or a sense of peace, will you tell us about it?

See  you next week when we’ll talk about the GOOD news about periods. And yes, there IS some! 

Blessings, Nancy Rue

 

Hairy Situations

kitty legs Hello, my Tribelet of beautiful Mini-Women! We have two new members this week, so please welcome ABBY (who is GRACE’S sister) and YEMZI. We’re glad you’re here, ladies. Please jump right in with comments, which as we all know are just responses to whatever you see in RED in a post. The “Rules” are simple: treat each other with respect. And you do it SO well.

We’ve been talking this summer about all the things that come with puberty — that season in your life where you’re slowly turning from girl-child to young woman. Our series wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t include a post about one of the most, shall we say, interesting parts of puberty ….

NEW HAIR hairy monster

We’re talking not about the lovely stuff that grows on your head. We’re referring to the hair that is appearing everyplace else. What are you supposed to DO with that?

Some of it you do nothing with because nobody else sees it, right? It’s the hair that sprouts in your armpits and the hair that has gotten thicker on your legs that at some point you look at and go, “I don’t think I want that there.” legs 4

Fortunately we human girls aren’t covered in fur like the kitty in the picture above (yikes!) but most of us do have our share. Let’s start with where you are. Pick the choice in each row that is most like you:

Underarm hair:  got none     light & fuzzy     dark and thick

arm pits

Leg hair: almost none     can barely see it    super obvious

legs 3

If most of your choices were on the left, you probably won’t want to add shaving to the new things you have to do to take care of your changing body.

If most of your choices were in the center, you might not be up for shaving your legs yet, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your underarms, especially if you sweat a lot. As we said last week, hair int he pits tends to hold perspiration where it can get a little smelly.

legs 2

If most of your choices were on the right side, you may have been eyeing your dad’s razor for some time, or you’ve recently started feeling as woolly as the family pet. That means it’s the right time to approach your mom about shaving. Promise you won’t just do it on your own without some instruction. It’s trickier than it looks and, um, you WILL be handling a very sharp-edged instrument.

razor

Having said that, let’s take a look at your current ‘tude about the whole body hair thing. Select the choice that sounds most like you.

      a. What body hair?

      b.  It’s not a big deal

      c. I want it off!

  If you picked a., I wouldn’t think too much about shaving yet, at least your legs. If you haven’t even noticed that you’re starting to look like a Hobbit, that’s perfectly fine. There’s nothing immoral about having hair on your legs!

   If you picked b., you’ve realized ya got some hair going on but you’re not too concerned about it. Shave or don’t. You’re not hurting anyone either way.

legs bigger

   If you picked c., that doesn’t mean you’re vain. Some of us are hairier than others and some of us are more conscious of it than other girls. If it makes you feel yucky, then by all means tell your mom you’re ready for some razor instruction.

But what if you’re feeling ape-like and you ask your mom and she says no? She might give you one of several reasons, and if you can do it in a grown-up way, you might  respond as follows (but no whining, eye-rolling or door-slamming allowed …)

mom lecture

    *  “Once you start, you’ll always have to do it.” What she means is that after you shave once, your hair will grow back in stiff little stubbles. To stay smooth, you’ll need to shave regularly. A possible response: “I know it’ll grow back stubbley but if I find out shaving is too much trouble, I can live with that. It won’t be any worse than the hair I have now.”

    *  “You’re too young.” What that probably means is that she’s having a hard time accepting that you’re growing up. A possible response: Say okay. Be super mature in the weeks to come. And then ask her again. If you take responsibility in other areas of your life, she’s more likely to give you the go-ahead to shave.

mom love

Does the Bible say anything about girls shaving? No, probably because it wasn’t a thing until women started wearing shorter skirts and sleeveless blouses. What God does, say, of course, is to honor your mother. If she says no, then it’s no. But again, accept that in a mature way and show her that you really are growing up and she’ll come around.

Meanwhile, try not to let other people’s comments (like those ALC boys who point at your legs and call you Gorilla Girl) bother you too much. Flash that beautiful smile. Change the subject to something that’s actually worth talking about. Be your most awesome self. Because, seriously, you’re you whether your legs are silky smooth or not.

boys laughing

This is definitely worth talking to God about, so get out that Journal and ask him anything you want about the Hairy Situation.rara's cover Do you need help talking to your mom?  Dealing with brothers who won’t leave you alone about your underarm fuzzy-ness? Ignoring girls who tell you you’re disgusting because you don’t shave daily?

If you want to comment on this week’s post, tell us which of these choices sounds most like you: WHY I WANT TO SHAVE:

     (1) I don’t!

     (2) Some of my friends do it.

     (3) I feel like an ape!

This is a place where you can be honest and not worry that anybody’s going to think you’re uncool. It’s definitely a place where you’re going to find other mini-women who feel just like you do.

Blessings,

Nancy Rue

THAT Stinks

stinkyAll right, my Tribelet of beautiful Mini-Women, if we’re going to talk about puberty — EVERYTHING about puberty — we can’t avoid the subject of, well … odors.

Yeah, it’s a bummer but those hormones we’ve been talking about? They don’t just change the way your body looks — they change the way it smells, too.nose

Have you noticed:

   * a general body odor that wasn’t there before? (some people refer to it as B.O. Nice, huh?)

*  underarm odor (perfect breeding place for stinkyness)

*  smelly feet (with a distinct aroma all their own, body odor especially after they’ve been in tennis shoes all day)

*  funky breath (which is lunch plus bacteria)

It’s hard to accept yourself as beautiful when all these less-than-lovely smells are wafting from your body. Seriously, why now when you have bras and periods and hairy legs to think about? We’ll talk about that, but just know that this is the puberty change that’s the easiest to deal with.

Here’s  the deal about smelly bodies:

     * The same hormones that are changing your shape are also increasing the amount of sweat your sweat glands produce. With millions of those little glands in your body, that can be a lot of perspiration when you’re hot, active, or nervous. Actually, sweat’s a good thing because when it evaporates, you skin cools down and it removes toxins from your body. Too bad it smells gross, right?

* It isn’t the sweat itself that causes that less than delicious aroma; it’s the bacteria living on your skin that break down the sweat and cause an odor. bacteria

* Those microscopic critters really like the sweat in your armpits and genital (between your legs) area. It’s warm and dark in those places, perfect conditions for bacteria to enlarge their families.

That’s all well and good, but what do you DO about it? Like I said, it’s actually pretty simple:

(1)   Ignore the commercials and magazine ads that say pit odor will ruin your life. If somebody doesn’t want to be your friend because you’re a little stinky between horseback riding and the shower, she needs to take a whiff of her own self. EVERYBODY perspires. sweaty

(2)  Take a bath or shower every day (maybe every other day in winter if you live in a cold climate). That’ll wash off the bacteria. Pay special attention to those breeding areas.

(3)  If you’ve taken a shower in the morning and you get sweaty during the day, at least wash your pits before you hang out with people again. bath

(4) Wear clean clothes. Bacteria hang out on fabric that hasn’t made it to the laundry. If you tend to sweat a lot, wear clothes that “breathe,” like 100% cotton. It absorbs more moisture and lets air circulate, which helps keep you dry.

(5)  If you don’t like the way your armpits smell, use a deodorant, which covers up the body odor with a nice scent of its own, or an antiperspirant, which cuts down on the amount of sweat you produce. Be sure, of course, to wash under your arms before you apply either one. deodorant

Speaking of antiperspirants, nobody is quite sure whether the aluminum in underarm products is safe for you, so if you want to be extra careful, choose a deodorant without aluminum or an antiperspirant with “buffered aluminum sulfate.” There is NO evidence that using either one causes cancer — at least not that I’m aware of.

(6) If armpit odor is making you self-conscious and you have hair under your arms, shaving will help stop bacteria from taking up residence. Discuss that with your mom. We’ll talk about the whole shaving thing in a later post.

(7) As for those stinky feet:

Little girl is disgusted by her brother's smelly feet.

     a. be sure they’re clean before you put on socks and shoes

    b. sprinkle baby, talcum or special foot powder inside your shoes and socks

    c. wear clean cotton or wool socks because natural fibers will absorb the sweat

    d.same with shoes — wear leather and canvas and try to avoid plastic

    e. if your shoes themselves are nasty-smelling, sprinkle baking soda in them, leave them overnight, smelly shoesand shake them out in the morning. Odor Eaters are good too. So are new shoes …

 f. don’t wear tennis shoes ALL the time

 (8) Bad breath?

     a. brush twice a day and before you go out with people

     b. floss once a day, even thought it’s boring; do it while you’re watching a movie or something

     c. rinse with mouthwash to kill the germs

www.kayfnet.com

     d. definitely brush after you eat foods like garlic and onions that stay on your breath; if you can’t, rinse with water or eat an apple or suck on a breath mint

Most of all, my Mini-Women, don’t get all stressed out if you detect a little pit odor or your feet reek when you take off your shoes or you can’t get to a toothbrush after you eat Italian food. For Pete’s sake, humans are supposed to smell like humans. body odor opinions It’s only the people marketing mouthwash and deodorant — or absurd little creature boys — or girls who love to point out what’s wrong with everybody else who are going to call you out about stuff like that. If you’re doing your best to stay clean and fresh, without making it your full-time career — and if you’re enjoying being active and eating great food — who CARES what they say?

Besides the point of this really is that you’re taking responsibility for your own body now.journal So grab your Talking to God Journal and talk to God — and maybe us in a comment — about your attitude about all the new things you need to do to keep clean. Is it a pain, or do you feel more grown-up?

   I have one more question to ask you. We haven’t talked here about periods, and that’s mostly because moms usually like to handle that in their own way with their daughters. Will you ask your mom if she minds if I discuss that here? Will you tell me if you’d rather not? I think it’s a perfectly normal human function, but I don’t want to step on any mom-toes. Get back to me, will ya?

Blessings,

Nancy Rue

Stages and Surprises (In Breast Land)

flat chestHey, my Tribelet of precious Mini-Women! At last, a REAL POST. Let’s get right to it shall we?

When I read your comments (and remember that when you get a reply from MELLE, that’s really me) I was happy to see that most of you are kind of excited about becoming young women. Still, I wasn’t surprised that there are some niggling doubts about the whole thing — and the biggest one seems to be: Am I normal?doubt 2

I can answer that in one word: YES! But since you’re going to want more information than that to be convinced, here you go. These are the stages of breast development that everybody goes through — each at your own speed:

stage

     STAGE 1: Pre-puberty — No breasts yet, but you’ll get them when your body’s ready. You’re not “behind”. You’re simply you. confused puberty girl

STAGE 2:  Breast buds — These quarter-sized bumps are the very beginning of your future breasts. Don’t worry if they aren’t exactly the same size or they stay this way for a year or they blossom into the next stage after a few months. It’s all good.

STAGE 3: Developing breasts — The shape of your breasts in this stage is a lot like they’ll be when you’re an adult, only smaller.

bra

No worries. Enjoy wearing the cutest, most comfortable bra you can find (more on that in Monday’s post)

STAGE 4: Nipple and areola (the darker part) mound — This is an interesting stage because your breasts may stay the way they are in shape and just grow larger, or they might move on to the next stage. Keep remembering: everybody is different.

  STAGE 5: Adult breasts. Even though you won’t be an adult  yet when you hit this stage, your breasts will have fully developed.  They might continue to grow in size, but their shape is a sign of your womanly self — which is fabulous.

Asher's bad influence friends

You don’t have to share which stage you’re in, since that’s a personal matter. What we would love to hear is that you’re relieved to know you’re right where you should be (because there IS no “should”) and that you’re looking forward to the shape you’re going to take.

Because here’s the deal, Mini-Women: God loves creating every one of us to be unique. It was never God’s idea for everybody to be the same, and especially for every woman to have a body identical to what some (clueless) person somewhere decided was the “perfect shape.” BarbieTHERE IS NO PERFECT SHAPE! Wait, yes there is — and it’s YOURS!

I bet, though, that even after I’ve said that you might still be thinking, “Yes, but …”

What you’re probably concerned about are the Breast Surprises. Things like this:

    *When your breasts hurt. Yeah, the whole growing thing can make them itchy or tender or even painful. That’s normal, and it will go away. Heat helps. breast pain

   * A weird bumpy thing under your nipple. Don’t panic — it’s not a tumor! It’s just part of the blooming process.

   * Nipples that go in instead of out. Not to worry. Some girls have innies and some have outies. The nipples will appear if in the future you need them to feed babies.

  * Springing a leak. A little occasional fluid out of your breasts isn’t unusual. The hormones are just doing their thing. Don’t squeeze, though; that just makes them drippier. insecurity

That’s a lot of info — I’m thinking plenty for now. The one thing I hope you’ll take away from this is that you’re normal and beautiful and perfect. NO MATTER WHAT ANYBODY SAYS. To make sure that sinks in, why don’t you try these 3 things?

    (1) If you see an ad or a picture or some chick’s “perfect” body (like, she resembles a Barbie doll) look away. Don’t dwell on it. Say to yourself, “I am beautifully and awesomely made.” DO it.comparing bodies

   (2) Stand straight and tall and don’t cave in your chest. I’m not saying flaunt yourself! I AM saying, there is no shame or embarrassment in developing into a young woman. If boys  or other girls or adults who should know better make comments about the way your breasts are coming along, don’t defend or cry or respond in anger (no pinching anybody’s head off). Just feel sorry for them. They clearly don’t know what you know, which is that the human body is a beautiful, God-made thing. Period.  DO it.stand tall

(3) Get out your Talking To God Journal. Larissa' journal  Write about the way you’re feeling when it comes to taking shape into the lady you’re going to be. Even if you’re still stuck on “I wish I looked different!” take that to God. Chances are by the time you’re done, you’re going to start coming around. A good talk with our Father always changes things in our minds and hearts.

  If you want to comment this time, tell us where you are on the My Body Image scale:

  1  I still wish I was shaping up differently

2    I’m starting to get used to this new body

3   I actually like my new physical self — even if I don’t look like a Barbie doll

4  I’m fabulous the way God has me at this very moment!

Just so you know, I pray for you every time I finish a post. I LONG for every one of you to grow up completely comfortable in your own God-made skin.cafe nudge picture I YEARN for you to be able to snort at the “perfect image” that gets portrayed everywhere. I WANT you embrace being a young woman without ANY self-hatred. If you need help with that, just say so in your comment and I’ll be there for you.

Blessings,

Nancy Rue

Yikes! You’ve been busy!

Ashers health drawing

Drawing by our own Asher.

Hello, my Tribelet of Precious Mini-Women! I came back today, ready to read all your comments and write you a new post — and there were so many it’s going to take me until tomorrow to read and respond and decide exactly WHAT to post. You’ve been BUSY on here, and I love that. Really, you’ve made the blog your own and that’s the best thing that could happen.

So here’s the deal. I won’t post tomorrow because I’ll be celebrating two things:

(1)   My birthday.  This is a BIG one so I’ve actually been giving myself a party for over a week now. Tomorrow is the big finale. celebrate

(2) A decision I’ve made in the past few days. I’m going to be doing more writing in the next couple of years than I’ve done recently and I had to make some choices about giving up things so I’d have more time to write. I was afraid that our blog was going to have to be one of them, but y’know what? I just couldn’t do it. You girls mean so much to me and to each other — why would I even consider stopping now?caricature of signing

SO … that’s where I’ve been for the last few weeks. Thank you for being patient. Thursday or Friday we’ll pick up where we left off talking about breasts and bras. Like I said, I want to read and respond to all your comments first because always, always, always this blog is about YOU! first bra

See you later in the week. Oh, and in the meantime if you want to comment, tell us how you want to celebrate YOUR next birthday. healthy girlBefore you go into cake and candles and presents and ice cream, think about the fact that your next birthday will bring you closer to being a young woman. How would you like to mark that? Can’t wait to hear!

Blessings,

Nancy Rue (who has no intention of leaving you!)

 

CHECKING IN

aSHER'S FRIENDS DRAWING

Hello, my Tribelet of precious Mini-Women. I apologize for being away from you so long. A BUNCH of things have been happening — all of them good, but all of them nudging me to make some decisions. I’ll tell you about that next week when I WILL be back with a full post. See you then?

Blessings, Nancy Rue

 

Starting From the Top

first braHello, my Tribelet of beautiful Mini-Women. I’m really loving how our community is coming together.

    * You’re trusting each other by being real in your comments

   * You’re responding to OTHER girls’ comments, supporting everybody on this whole puberty journey

   * And you’re praying for one anotherpraying hands

Every week, new names pop up — Melissa and Zoe joined us since our last post.  And we’re getting more acquainted with Mini-Women who have been with us for a while — Halle, Ana, Adie, Grace, Asher, Eve, Sophie, Josie and more.

Not only that, but you’re adding to the blog in other ways, too. Asher has always done her amazing drawings for us, and now Ana is sharing hers.. This is just one; I’ll include more of her artwork in future posts. I would love to see more art and poems and photographs. So share, share, share!

angel web large ANA

You know what else impresses me? That you got right on my question: where does the verse about God shaping us like clay pots come from? HALLE, ANA, ADIE and GRACE all got it exactly right:

Isaiah 64:8-
“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”potter

 As Josie said, we gotta remember that God never makes a mess.  Right?

Speaking of your comments, several of you mentioned that you would love it if we went through the book YOU! together. That’s exactly my plan. When you express something I think we need to stop and talk about, like the whole weight thing, we’ll do that, but mostly we ARE working our way through YOU! A CHRISTIAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO GROWING UP. You on board?

AND if you’d like to read ANOTHER book about being a tween girl, check out this one:  Sherry Kyle's bookI know the author, Sherry Kyle, and she is way cool and speaks your language. To learn more about her and the fun stuff SHE does for tween girls, click here.

 You can never have too much info, right?

 Now back to us. One of the earliest signs that you’ve hit puberty and young womanhood is on the way is that you have (or will soon) started to develop breasts. The first thing I want you to do is answer this question, either just for yourself or in a comment: Are you more:

a. excited about becoming a young woman with breasts?

OR

b.  embarrassed by the whole thing? confused puberty girl

It’s actually a cool development because you’re getting a new feminine shape and you can wear different style clothes and you feel more grown up — all that stuff.  But it comes with its challenges too. Have you noticed?

  * Some people (okay, mostly those ALCs known as boys) may tease you about your  breasts. In the case of the Absurd Little Creatures, it’s because they just don’t know what to think. They thought they had it figured out that girls are gross and now they’re not and it’s confusing. So they point and snicker and do all the other things boys do when they’re clueless.  boys laughing

  * You might feel like you’re developing way ahead of other girls. Or way behind them. That whole comparison thing starts happening, which we talked about in a post not long ago.

  * Bras themselves may baffle you. What size do you wear? What’s with all those letter and numbers? What style isn’t going to be uncomfortable and drive you nuts? Do you and your mom agree on whether you actually need one? bra choices

Over the next several posts we’re going to talk about all of that and more. For now, I want you to think about what concerns you the most about this part of turning into a young woman. You’ll start, of course, by discussing it with God, who came up with this particular body feature in the first place … journal

 This week’s Talking To God Journal Prompt: “God? I’m trying to accept my body as the one you’re shaping but I do have some questions about, well, these breasts. Mostly I’m concerned about __________________________.”

If you want to share that with us, great. If not, you can still ask any questions about breasts, bras — fears and attitudes connected to them — anything you want to get off your chest. (Okay, that was cheesy. Sorry!)cheese I’ll try to stay abreast of your comments (oops — cheesy again!)

Blessings,

Nancy Rue