Today, I glowed as I left my parent-teacher conference from KIPP LA Prep - my daughter's charter middle school that I love, love, love. If you're new to my blog (and thanks to all the blog hoppers that have stopped by to say hello) and you're a parent, please check out my post on KIPP.
Sylvia is doing really, really well and her grades improved this quarter compared to last. She still gets anxious taking tests, but we talked about ways we can all boost her confidence, and the fact that Saturday school will solely focus on test taking should help there as well. (As I've said before, I'm not a fan of tests, but they are a part of academic life, whether I like it or not, so it's still important for her to succeed at them.)
She couldn't wait to talk to me about the meeting (hmmm - guess she knew it'd be good ;) and tonight, she kept being extra good to "keep the moment alive." She really is something else.
Also, I had an email conversation today with a friend who is a mom with a daughter close to Sylvia's age (she's 10), and we were talking about something I'd originally thought I'd leave off this blog...and then I remembered it's cyberspace, and within a week no one will care! However, within that "week," I thought I'd go ahead and share how I'm dealing with Sylvia's approach to adolescence.
A few months ago, I introduced her to the concept of her period. She did not want to talk about it. At all. However, I held my ground because, as I told her, I didn't want it to completely scare her if it happened. In an online community, I've heard of many girls getting their periods at Sylvia's age, so I felt it was important to bring up. (And, really, didn't Carrie make all of us understand the importance of ensuring that our girls know what's going on down there!)
A few weeks ago, we were watching Grease (again), and we got to the point where Rizzo decides to have unprotected sex with Kenickie. I couldn't help myself from remarking on how completely STUPID that was. It got Sylvia and I to talking, and I asked her what she knew about sex.
Turns out, some friends in the 4th grade had told her the basics, but she'd thought I would be mad so she didn't want to tell me. I reassured her that I wasn't mad, but that it was important for her to talk to me about these things, as kids don't always give accurate information. (We'd had an incident with one of Riley's friends telling her something that wasn't right, so Sylvia understood what I meant.)
I thought this was a perfect chance to talk about birth control, and AIDS (which she does know about) and other STD's. I know she has no desire right now to have sex (she doesn't even have a crush on anyone), and that's why I thought it best for me to try to lay a foundation now that hopefully will stick in the later years.
I was surprisingly calm about the whole thing. (The first time she ever said "sex" to me, I completely freaked.) It was more important to me to tell her the accurate information than anything else. Also, knowing in my heart that she has no desire to do it now made it easier, too.
This is not to say that the decision I made is right for everybody. I just thought I'd add my voice to the mix, and at least hopefully, get the parents of tweens thinking about it. I know we'd all like to believe that adolescence is far, far away. But, in reality, it's closer than we think.