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My Daughter’s B.O. Is Helping Me Be a Better Mom

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Over a year ago I noticed some pretty rank odors emanating from my daughter, who was only 7 years old at the time. The pungent adult-B-O-like smells have only been getting worse with time, so much so that I called her pediatrician. I was starting to worry that there was some sort of life-threatening condition attacking her insides causing the horrific stank.

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The doctor set my mind at ease, telling me that it is fairly normal for active kids (getting more normal thanks to hormones in food), and not a sign of anything worrisome.

He then began asking about things like breast buds and hair-down-there and I wanted to say, “Heck, no, doc! You cray cray!” because good lord, she’s only 8.

Oh wait, 8 is almost 9, and 9 is essentially a tween. And holy crap. Puberty is knocking on our door and I’m not ready.

Well, I feel ready for things like tampon and bra talk, sort of, but what about other puberty issues like acne or facial hair (I was lucky enough to not have to deal with those issues). Or why things feel tingly down there?

Though this B.O. thing is not too big a deal, I realize that it’s a precarious situation, and the way in which I handle it could impact how well she and I handle more sensitive issues that will be coming down the puberty pike. Though I desperately want to stay in the land of denial, I have decided to make a plan of attack on how I am going to approach these subjects as they come up.

I’m going to re-read "Are You There God It’s Me Margaret" to refresh my memory on what my girls have in store.

Here are some of the pieces of advice I’ve gathered from friends and the interwebs to help the puberty transition:

1. Don’t embarrass her by talking about the personal issues in front of siblings or other friends (and maybe not even in front of dad?).

2. Keep it private. Don’t talk about it with siblings or friends or blog about it (oh, wait...) behind her back.

3. Never laugh or poke fun. Even if you think it’s harmless, kids of any age don’t like to feel like they’re being laughed at, but particularly pre-pubescent girls.

4. Get expert advice. Call and go see the pediatrician; don’t try to diagnose anything on the Internet (we have all learned that lesson by now, right?!?).

5. Be hands on. Not literally touching her, but just be involved, and let her know you're around to help or answer questions. For my particular situation, I need to make sure she’s bathing properly. I’ve been letting her shower by herself for a while now and I clearly need to be paying a little bit more attention.

6. Relate! Tell stories about when I was going through the changes so that she doesn’t feel alone.

7. Remember it’s not about me. I think this one will be the most challenging, (because everything is about me, oh, wait...), but this is a very important concept in dealing with any female. I cannot take things my daughters say or do personally, particularly when they start going through the change.

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Did I miss any tips, moms of tweens & teens? Please enlighten me!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what’s happening with the stinky pit saga, my daughter and I both have been using an organic deodorant that has been helping, and I’ll be taking her to see the doctor in a few weeks. Also? I’m going to re-read "Are You There God It’s Me Margaret" to refresh my memory on what my girls have in store.

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