I've had a few talks with my friend Ed (the counselor) about what it's like to be seven years old - almost eight. She has shared that it is a very pivotal age with life experiences becoming more real to them. That the imagination is wild and active; that they understand that death and bad things can happen and are real.
Riley has had a wide range of emotions so I bought her a book from the American Girl store called "Feelings." It is amazing. We read a few pages each night and talk about it. I saw there was a page bookmarked in the back as I was flipping. It was the section on anger. Riley tells me "Oh Mom. I bookmarked that page to read whenever I am angry. It helps me so much to read it." She's so sweet.
In the book, it talked about changes that will come for girls as they get older. It didn't go way into detail, but was just enough to spur on an appropriate conversation with Riley. I told her that she'll feel a wide range of emotions and that it's completely normal. She has wanted more personal space when showering or changing clothes which is great. We've respected that and let her know it's completely great.
I mentioned that in the next few years, sometime between third and fifth grade, she'll notice her body changing a little bit and that she'll start to wear a training bra at some point. She asked what that was. I told her it's a small, short tank top that's like a bra and just gets her used to wearing one each day. Doesn't truly train anything. She was like "oh ok!"
Last night she pulled me aside into our bedroom and asked me if I could show her the thing that she might wear in 3rd or 4th grade. I told her that I could and that I actually had some of Madi's training bras that she used. She asked if they came in different colors and what they looked like. I pulled out four or five that we still had to show her. Riley was super excited to see how soft, little and colorful they are.
She then asked if she could try one on. My thought: why not!? So I showed her how to hook the back together and turn it around. Figured this way she'll know how to do it before she needs it and won't be embarrassed in having to ask for help when she does need it as she'll know what to do. She put it on and says "Wow - this is soo cute! I love the pattern and how soft it is!"
Then she looked in the mirror and fell flat on her bed while laughing hysterically. She took it off with her dress over her and said "This is how you do it when you don't want people to see you change. I've seen you do this, Mom." Yup.
Then she laid down in bed and asked if it's uncomfortable to wear them all the time. I asked her if she thinks about how she's wearing underwear all through her day. She laughed and said "No! I just wear them." I told her that wearing a bra is like wearing underwear - you get used to it and forget it's there.
Riley then wanted to know if she'd have big boobs. I told her that I didn't know. She told me she'd eat lots of healthy food to make sure they were small. I told her that eating healthy is important but we also have cells inside our body that helps to decide how tall we get, how big our boobs are and things like that. She then said she wants them small because she doesn't want them hanging out of her shirt. That big boobs are scary.
We laughed. Then she said "Mom... you're the best Mom in the whole wide world. You're sweet, you're kind..." I told her that she was amazing and that I loved her. I realize this is the beginning of her innocence in a way, but am thankful to have the chance to help her navigate whatever is ahead.