To all the moms who have gone before me...
I think mostly my discomfort arises from the fact that my own parents didn't discuss this time period with me. I have no recollection of their discussing it with my younger brother, and I'm fairly certain one of my brothers got the talk from the older one after we had figured some stuff out. The brother, just 30 months younger, and I were given a book, checked out from the library, with some strange cartoon-ish type drawings in it, explaining the changes that were to happen in our body along with the background on reproduction. There was no open, warm, loving conversation inviting questions and curiosity but rather a cold book, and a succinct, "Read this" without any follow through.
The irony of being the daughter of an OB/Gyn doesn't escape me either. My father KNEW about this stuff intimately, and still I was not given ANY information from his lips or my mom's. There were major cultural issues of course - my parents being immigrant Koreans, despite intimate knowledge of the science at hand, didn't have the ability to communicate such things with me. They also trusted the school system to give me the nuts and bolts of the matter and left it to the system. Puberty came and went like some weird secret systemic overhaul, with some tinkering by the school system, with no participation from my parents. Recently, I spoke with my mom regarding this, as I explained I was gearing up and mentally preparing myself for this conversation and I kind of jokingly said, "You didn't tell me anything! Why do I have to tell #1?" My mom kind of laughed and said, "There is NO way I would have told you anything. That is not how things were done back then." I'll have my readers note, however, that while I was a high school teacher, I didn't have any trouble discussing these issues with students that came to me to talk about their confusion and their questions. They weren't my children.
However, now I am a parent, with a real live child nearing puberty. And in order to prepare myself, I decided to invest in some outside support and help. I had no real sense of the scope of the matter, what is appropriate, any new science or ideas, and the tone in which to approach the conversation. Many friends tried to coach me to be open, honest, scientific, but my inner self kept shrieking "NO I'm NOT READY FOR THIS" and running in the other direction. I asked my best friend Ob/Gyn if she would be willing to do it in my stead, and she looked me straight in the face and said, "My conversation will be strictly about body parts and how they make a baby. Is that what you want?" I decided to get help.
Many of my peers who have daughters a few steps ahead of my own told me of their wonderful experiences with Heart to Heart, a program that discusses puberty, reproduction, the opposite sex, but more importantly (for me) gives parents some ideas of how to be open and straightforward and calm in such discussions. When I signed up #1, and told her how we'd be taking this class together, there were such shrieks of consternation and drama that ensued that I was kind of fearful. She used words like, private, embarrassing, weird, to which I responded that some people do feel that way during puberty, but we were hoping for a better result. The drama was so much that #2, who had some insight into changes of the body during puberty tried to analyze the situation and asked, "Is the seminar where she gets her armpit hair?"
Today was our first session. And I'll tell you, 120 minutes of my time were well spent. And I'll say that I learned something really amazing today - that the lecturer's TONE and energy was amazing. She took a room of about 100 mothers and daughters, and had us laughing and smiling and rethinking our [my] fear of puberty. I don't know if other moms in the room had come to it with the same trepidation and fear and anxiety that I had, but I do know that most of the girls had some level of concern that mine did. And the lecturer made it all so much better. She changed my perspective. Puberty is AMAZING! EXCITING! Your mother is your resource and loving expert!! (I'm a bra consultant with years of experience, evidently. ) Most changes have been happening ALL THE TIME! But it's AMAZING! Wonderful! The puberty 6 hit parade! And why do we fear it so much. Later in the car, I found myself with the strength, calm, and humor to speak to #1 about the changes that were going to happen and also asked her how I might support her when these changes do happen, something that wouldn't have happened two days ago. My attitude has completely changed.
So, now, I present to you CAULIFLOWER! It's AMAZING! Wonderful! Delicious!!! And can be an unexpected kind-of-healthy-but-kind-of-decadent appetizer (which by the way, I can consume all on my own.) And it's not like your old cauliflower that you didn't like, but it's the new cauliflower that is yummy, spicy, and delicious. Let this recipe change your mind. The preparation is straightforward, the sauce is delicious, and it's just going to make you think of cauliflower in a whole new way.
Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Blue Cheese Dressing
Serves 2 to 3
1 head cauliflower, about 1 lb, or 1 lb of cauliflower florets, already broken up
¼ cup flour
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
⅓ cup sriracha
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup chopped chives
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 450. Grease a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Prepare cauliflower into bite sized chunks, about 2 to 3 inch pieces.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour and water until it is smooth and uniform. Add cauliflower chunks and toss until pieces are all well coated with flour mixture. Place cauliflower on baking pan and cook for 8 minutes in the oven, and then turn pieces over and cook for another 8 minutes.
While cauliflower is cooking, prepare hot sauce coating and blue cheese dressing. In a small sauce pan, add vegetable oil, sriracha, rice vinegar and warm mixture. It will begin release sharp spicy notes as it warms up. No need to boil.
Mix together sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, chives, blue cheese and salt and pepper. Set aside.
Once cauliflower has roasted, dump cauliflower mixture back into large bowl and pour over hot sauce mixture. Once again toss well, and once cauliflower is well coated with hot sauce mixture, place it back on the roasting pan and stick it in the oven for another 3 or 4 minutes.
Serve hot or room temperature with sauce and celery or cucumbers on the side. Enjoy alone or with a friend.
not going to lie...this is something I enjoy just eating on my own.
Some nice resources:
The authors of this book are the writers of the work behind Stanford's Heart to Heart. They are based out of Washington, and have this book, which is essentially the same material covered in the two day seminar. I haven't gotten the book yet, but I did look through and the tone and the material covered is essentially the same. There is a section detailing reproduction (family life) so if you're not ready for that, this isn't the book for you.
Many pediatricians as well as the Heart to Heart series recommend this book, which is much more about the body changes of puberty. It's a great guide, non threatening (although my own #1 found the pictures kind of gross - they were cartoonish) and it is where my #2 got the information about armpit hair.