“Dad, I need to tell you something,” my 10-year-old daughter said dejectedly.
“Oh?” I replied.
“When I was in the shower I was tempted,” she said.
This is NOT what any parent wants to hear from their child. My mind raced as I wondered what she could have done. Did she use her mother’s expensive shampoo? Was it something worse? I did not want to imagine.
“I . . . I . . . ”
Her voice wavered, and I could sense her fear.
“Let’s go into your room and talk about it.”
We walked into the room where she jumped on the bed pulling a blanket over her head. I braced myself for what I might hear next. Finally, I pulled the blanket off her face and asked her what was wrong. Through some tears she admitted her crime.
“When I was in the shower I got one of those razors and shaved my legs.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. Whew, nothing I can’t handle.
“Thank you for telling me this,” I said sensing an oportunity to turn this into a bonding and learning moment. “You can always talk to me or your mother about anything.”
“You’re not in trouble,” I reassured her figuring that the fear, shame, and guilt she had inflicted upon herself was punishment enough. I wondered where would she even get the idea to shave her legs . I began to ask her more questions to discover what was going on. Turns out few of her friends had already begun shaving their legs, but I think it had more to do with her increasing self-awareness.
“Well, I think you should wait as long as you can before you shave your legs again. It will become such a hassle and pain. Once you start, you will always have to do it,” I advised. I know how it works. I have shaved my legs when I was racing mountain bikes in college.
I reminded her of what her mother learned from a French lady. According to this lady, French girls wait until they are 13 then they wax their legs three times. Apparently this process makes shaving unnecessary. Again I encouraged her to hold off as long as possible. But in the end I told her that if she really wanted to shave her legs she should wait until her mother (who was out of town attending her brother’s wedding) could teach her how to do it properly. She agreed to wait.
Sooner than later she will begin her journey to womanhood, but how I wish she could remain innocent. I hope I’m a good enough dad to help her through it.
Her tears dried and a smile on her face she gave me a big hug.
“I love you too.”