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A Letter To My Daughter About To Step Into Puberty

Once you know what to expect, you can prepare your mind for it. And even when there are so many things in life you can never be fully prepared for, it always helps (even if only a little) to be a little prepared.

We’re the Bear family, comprising Mama bear, Baba bear, and Baby bear. Baby bear is now 8 and a half years old. This is a recent letter we wrote to her.

Dearest Baby bear,

Baba bear has written many letters to you. So has Mamma bear (well, maybe not letters, but little love notes, emails, Post-Its, cards, and so on). But this is the first time you are getting one from both of us (I mean, I, Baba bear, am writing it, but it is from both of us, if you know what I mean). We are excited to write to you, and we hope you will be as excited to receive this from us.

So, what’s this about? Well, you are now eight and a half. That is a very important age. You see, in just a couple of years, you will reach the age of puberty. Indian girls attain puberty at an average age of 10.3 years. What is puberty, you’d ask, and why is it so important? Also, why now, if this puberty thing is still two years away?

Well, you see, puberty is the process of you growing from a little bear to an adult bear, from a kid to a lady, from someone who needs adults to help her decide, to someone who can (and very often does) decide for herself, even if she doesn’t always choose the right thing. You will become a big girl. Or at least start on the path to becoming one.

Back in the last century, there was a British paediatrician called Dr James Tanner who invented the Tanner Scale, which gives you a (sort of) roadmap of what kind of changes you can expect in your body as you grow until you reach adulthood. I’d like you to look it up so that you know what to expect. There are various stages of puberty itself, from thelarche to pubarche to the growth spurt (remember the PHV, or Peak Height Velocity, we spoke of when discussing how you will grow so quickly, you may actually stumble and fall and feel all frustrated as an athlete, but in reality become faster, stronger, and taller? Well, that), to finally, menarche, when you will get your first periods, like Mamma, and Masi, and your Atyas, and Chhema, and Nani, and Aji, and all the women you know around you. And all of this will happen to you in the near future. But it won’t happen all at once. It won’t happen all on the same day. It will happen slowly. It will happen over the next few years. In a process that starts…about now…in your life.

But I still haven’t told you why I am telling you this now. Because, Baby bear, as we keep talking about on our walks, being prepared is half the battle. Once you know what to expect, you can prepare your mind for it. And even when there are so many things in life you can never be fully prepared for, it always helps (even if only a little) to be a little prepared. As you already know, a little bit is better than none at all.

That said, it is not just your body that will change, but also your mind. This will affect your outlook, your emotions, your perspectives, even your thought process. This will dictate your fashion, your choices, your tastes, even who you like or don’t, and why. You will remain Kymaia, but become a different version of yourself. Sometimes, you may like this version. Sometimes, not. Sometimes, others may like this version of yours. Sometimes, not. Sometimes, you may care whether others like your version. And sometimes, not.

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Which brings me to the reason for this letter today. You see, Baby bear, your Mamma and I, the two big bears in your life from the day you were conceived, would like to take this opportunity, as you step into the beginning of this new unknown (as yet) but exciting phase of the rest of your life, to assure you that regardless of what you think of yourself, what your friends think of you, or indeed what the world thinks of you, we two roly-poly, furry, cuddly bears shall always think you to be beautiful. We shall always be your chief cheerleaders. We shall always be on your side and in your corner. We shall always be: Team Kymaia.

With the greatest love a bear can feel for another,

Mamma and Baba bears.
Summer, 2023

Editor’s note: There is enough proof that when a male parent is involved in raising them, daughters benefit greatly, hence we often publish stories of hands-on dads.

Published here first.

Image copyright: the author

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About the Author

Kedar Gadgil

Entrepreneur, business shrink, political enthusiast, diarist, risk-taker, dog-lover, rationalist, humanist, biker, son, father, single, in no particular order. read more...

2 Posts | 506 Views

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