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4th Grade Puberty Whirlwind

“Half the 4th Grade girls have boobs and wear bras,” Ainsley reported.

“Really? Like, for real?” I asked, stunned because no one had boobs until like the 7th Grade when I was in school. “Like they really need bras?”


“Well, give me five!” I said, holding my hand out.

“Why would I give you five?” she asked

“It’s better not to be the first one to get boobs in the 4th Grade, believe me,” I informed her.

“Well, I don’t want to be the only girl without boobs,” she said.

“You’re not. You said half the class. That means half the class doesn’t have boobs.” I said.

“They are having a Bra Club. You have to have boobs to be in the club,” she reported.

“Well. Go get ready for soccer,” I said.

A few days later, as I was getting ready for bed she came into the bathroom.

“Mom? When can I shave my legs?” she asked.

“When you’re 12,” I said, because this was when I had been allowed to shave my legs and so obviously, this is the right and appropriate answer.

“All the kids make fun of my hairy legs!” she exclaimed.

“Who does?” I asked, wondering if she just uses this line because I tend to fall for it a lot.

“Sarah and the kids at soccer and when I wear shorts at school,” she claimed.

“Ainsley, shaving your legs is a real pain in the butt. Once you start your hair grows back in all stubbly and scratchy and black, it doesn’t grow back in all soft and downy like your hair is now. I’m not kidding, it’s a massive pain in the butt and you have to shave like everyday. That’s why I don’t think you should do it yet,” I explained reasonably.

“I don’t care. I don’t want all the kids making fun of me. Look at this hair! It’s embarrassing!” she yelled, showing me her admittedly hairy legs.

I looked down and rubbed her hairy legs and wondered how the hair would grow back in if we just used Nair rather than shaving them for a few years. Would they grow back in stubbly and black then?

“Go to bed Ainsley. It’s late,” I told her.

“Fine! I’ll just have everyone make fun of me and go to school embarrassed and play soccer in shorts embarrassed! You don’t care!” she yelled and slammed the door to her room.

I sighed and went to her room. I really am a sucker for the teasing and embarrassed thing,I thought as I opened her door and said into the dark, “Maybe we’ll try Nair this weekend and see what happens.”

“What’s Nair?” she asked.

“It’s this cream that dissolves hair. I don’t know how it will grow back in. But, we can try it and see,” I said.

“Okay. Thank you,” she said.

“Good night. I love you,” I said.

I shut the door. Is there really any reason that 10-year-olds were required to have hairy legs if it embarrasses them, I wondered. Is there some rule that says it has to be 12? I wonder when other parents let their kids shave their legs? 4th Grade sure isn’t what it used to be, it got a hell of a lot more complicated. 

Tracee Sioux is a Law of Attraction Coach at www.traceesioux.com.  She is the author of Love Distortion: Belle, Battered Codependent and Other Love Stories. Contact her at traceesioux@gmail.com.

27 replies
  1. shauntelle says:

    Well Tracee, here’s the deal…Our legs start needing to be shaved around 10. That’s when we ask and our mom’s say no not until 12 and we then have something to look forward to, rights of passage if you will.
    Does Ains need to wait, No. I say shave them now. Truth have you she will shave once or twice usually long enough to say she can to the girls at school. Then stop until she is 12 or 13 and wants to instead of having to (becuase of peer pressure). I say let her and obviously do it with her, teach her some tricks and make it fun! Also, buy her a bra for those big boobs that just like the (shaving legs thing) this will make her feel good, part of the club but, may wear out until she really needs the bra. Which just so you know. I wore one in 4th grade it was awful. I think I was the only one..Boys made fun of me..eek.

  2. Tracee says:

    I’ll let her Nair the legs a couple of times, then let the winter solve the problem until spring. But, I’m so not buying her a bra this year.

  3. Mirinda says:

    Everything starts early. I am really having to rethink how soon to start things. And mine is two! Not even potty trained but we started pre-preschool so the my only child could get some of the social time she craved and… two of the little girls in her class go to the spa for the mani/ pedi combo once a week, I just found out I missed t-ball and have to hurry if we want to make soccer, apparently if I want her to have a chance to be competitive we are supposed to start now. That balance between letting them be normal and letting them be kids (apparently being a kid isn’t normal anymore) is tough. Good luck mom, trust your instincts.

  4. Tracee says:

    I wouldn’t worry about that. At 2 she isn’t really coordinated to even like t-ball or soccer. Tumbling will be more fun for her. It’s mostly parents who feel like they “should” jump on the ball at that age. It’s mostly bullshit, don’t cave to the pressure. The mani-pedi crap is the same thing – it’s parental pressure to the whole media-beauty pressure thing “I want my daughter to be the prettiest.” The same parents are probably entering their girls into beauty pageants.

  5. Revka says:

    My 8-years-and-10-months-old daughter is going through this. She’s built solidly and actually does need a bra, which I bought her. I also bought her deo cuz I can’t take the stench! 🙂

    I ended up having a talk (not quite THE talk but close) to explain that her body is going to be making a lot of changes over the next several years and it’s part of growing up. Now she’s really excited. She, too, wants to shave, and I keep telling her to wait a little bit longer because it’s a pain and once she starts she can’t really stop. I’ve promised that I’ll show her how and will let her when it’s time, and so far she’s happy with that.

    It does seem as though girls are maturing faster than when I was a girl. I find it kinda scary, and it has definitely knocked me off balance to be having these discussions already. But it’s what is right for my girl.

    My younger two daughters are built differently (petite instead of solid), and I think they’ll be dealing with these issues later than my oldest. However it comes about, I want them to know that I’m on their side and will be with them on the journey.

  6. Tracee says:

    You know what’s funny Revka, I’ve interviewed quite a lot of Doctors about early puberty and they all say the same things you’re saying – yes, scientifically girls are maturing faster.

    They make the same assumptions that you do about larger girls maturing faster than petite girls. Except that’s not what my eyes are telling me. I’m seeing thinner girls wearing bras, and my taller, solid girl not needing a bra, but showing other less visible signs of puberty.

    In my opinion – all bets are off. All discussions should be had sooner rather than later and we need to be as open and honest as we can be with our daughters.

    We are good Mamas that can handle this. And our daughters are ready too. Cause God doesn’t throw us curveballs we can’t handle. That goes for the daughters too. Right?

  7. claudiu says:

    Interestingly, the periods differ depending on the development of the face, not a problem if it comes quickly, only to go to parents, at medical examination with the child to be all ok. Visit my blog if you have any questions

  8. Jen Fischer says:

    I use this Veet on my own legs and it does work. It is similar to nair but there is a razorless shaving piece to get all the hair off.

    Good luck. I have all boys but I remember growing up and being the last one to get my period (at 14) and being happy about it. I also remember the clubs like the one your daughter mentioned and girls can be so mean to one another:(

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  13. Antonymous says:

    Such a strong pressure for gender conformism, very sad, we’re in 2018, we should be overcoming heteronormativity and binarism in gender roles.

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