Do you ever wake up in the morning and know right away whether the day is going to be good, so-so, or dreadful? Well, that sixth sense works for evenings too. Yesterday I could sense doom in the air within 5 minutes of our arrival at home, and sure enough, by 8 p.m. I was putting G to bed un-bathed and grumpy, with her room a wreck and her homework unfinished. Tonight, even though we got home much later (grocery shopping), the atmosphere was totally different, and now G is upstairs cheerfully washing her hair and singing to herself. Strange but true.
Speaking of G and hygiene, she asked me this morning if she could shave her legs. I gulped down my first, instinctive response, which was Absolutely not! You're EIGHT! and told her I would consider it and get back to her. I'm sure you're all thinking I'm insane, but in fact there are some good arguments for allowing it:
1. G has, and always has had, very dark and noticeable hair on her legs. I don't know why -- she's half Filipina, and Asian girls are not notoriously hairy -- but she does.
2. I don't think it's an attempt to grow up prematurely on her part; I think the hair bothers her and she wants to get rid of it. If she had barely-there blonde hair and wanted to shave it, I'd say no and not even question my decision.
3. On the other hand, if she had hair under her arms (which at the rate she's going could happen any time now) and wanted to shave it off, I wouldn't hesitate to let her. Other than surface area, what makes legs any different than armpits?
4. I'm not planning to let leg-shaving become a slippery slope that ends up with her wearing makeup and platform shoes in the third grade. It's basic grooming, end of story.
Of course, there are also drawbacks, the main one being that she's too young to wield a razor (I started shaving when I was 11, and I still shudder when I remember some of my early accidents), so I would have to do it for her. And I would have to do it frequently, because the only thing that looks worse than thick, dark leg hair is thick, dark leg stubble. I can barely remember to shave my own not-very-hairy legs once a week; how am I going to keep up with hers too? Also, G has already gotten some comments from friends at school about wearing deodorant, and I don't want her to attract more attention by shaving her legs than she would by leaving them the way they are. So ... I don't know. She hasn't brought it up again, so maybe it was just a passing thought and she's already forgotten about it. I guess I'll just wait and see if it becomes a recurring request, or a source of serious embarrassment.