My eight-year-old daughter is trapped in an eleven-year old’s body; no joke. My daughter moved in with us when she was four years old when we were still in the pre-adoptive stage. I noticed she had a bottle of deodorant. I didn’t think she was old enough for that yet, so I put it up in my bathroom and the next day she went without. Later the next morning I smelled an odor and realized it was coming from her underarms. Clearly, she indeed needed the deodorant. At first I didn’t think a whole lot about it; however, I also saw that she had pubic hairs. Not knowing her history, I just figured no big deal, maybe just something that ran in her birth family. Fast forward to her five-year-old checkup, which was the first one I’d take her to as her pre-adoptive foster mom. Our pediatrician, who I love and have known for years, noticed all of these same things. She looked at me and confirmed that these were not normal things to be happening for a child at this age. From there she had bloodwork done and took an x-ray of my daughter’s hand which would indicate her bone age. That was the day I found out what Precocious Puberty was.
At that time, my daughter was a five-year-old little girl in an eight-year old’s body; that’s how old her bones were. I was very confused and scared and had no idea how to explain to my daughter what was going on. What did this mean? Was this life-threatening? She wasn’t budding that day, so the endocrinologist said that she would monitor my daughter for a time; a wait-and-see process. Months passed and she started budding. By the next year, she had full breasts, acne, and a pubescent mood to go with it!
My daughter is now eight and her bone age is eleven. An MRI was done to make sure there were no tumors; praise God there were not. Basically, she’s developing way faster than she should be. My eight-year-old daughter could start her cycle any day now. She has grown a foot taller in literally two months! She’s trying to figure out why she can’t fit her clothes from three months ago. My nine-year-old son is trying to figure out why his sister towers over him. And I’m trying to figure out how to have “the talk” with her. I’m not ready! A close friend recommended The Care & Keeping of You (The Body Book for Younger Girls). It really touches on everything; more than I wanted to talk about! My son is not allowed to look at this book. I’ve explained to him this one is for us girls (hence the title!). I still put it up high just in case, we know how boys are.
In a nutshell, I learned that Precocious Puberty is basically a child’s body growing faster into adulthood than it should. Fortunately, there is treatment to slow it down and as long as there are no tumors present, it is not something that is life-threatening. For me, buying that first bra for my seven-year-old was heart-wrenching. I literally cried ya’ll! But she loved it! She said, “Mama, this looks like yours!” with such joy. I was NOT ready. I’m still not ready. But this is where we are so I’ve gotta roll with the punches. If anything, it can be embarrassing for the child, especially a girl that is noticeably taller than all her peers and on top of that has acne, breasts, and armpit hair. So far though, my daughter has owned it gracefully. I’ve asked her if she wanted to try sensitive skin Nair, with the doctor’s okay of course, but she said she was fine, and that’s fine with me. The best thing for me to do is educate myself and my daughter, to be ready to answer any questions she has, and if I don’t know the answer to find it out for her. I try to help her feel as “normal” as possible (whatever that can mean) and I encourage her to take her uniqueness in stride, one day at a time, and I’m thankful that for now, she is doing just that.