Girls just want to grow up too fast
The volume on the stereo is cranked up as I do my best daggy-mum dancing while the car is stopped at the traffic lights.
My daughter Allegra, who is now old enough to sit in the front seat, simply raises her eyebrows at my attempt to do rapper hands. "Muuuuuum, you're so embarrassing," she says.
"Come on, this is such a groovy song. I'm just bopping along to your music. You put this song on my iTunes."
Just then the chorus starts up again, and since the lights are taking an eternity to change, I get another chance to sing along to Iggy Azalea. I thought it was okay for my daughter to listen to Amethyst Amelia Kelly as she's a hard working hippy girl, brought up near the rainforests close to Mullumbimby.
"I'm soooooo fancy," I warble, quickly followed by a click of the fingers, slightly out of time with the rhythm.
"Trash the hotel. Let's get drunk on the mini-bar!' sings my nine-year-old.
Before Iggy can wrap another word, I hit the power button to stop the music.
"Mum, what did you do that for?'
"Those words aren't good..."
"But why? I like Iggy's long blonde hair."
I'm not a fan of singing about the minibar," I reply, already regretting this conversation.
"What's a minibar?"
"It's something that is far too expensive, that you would never open anyway."
"What does that mean?'
"Let's put Taylor Swift back on."
The music changes, and the topic shifts, "It's not fair, I want to have my ears pierced. Everyone else in my class does," says Allegra.
"No, everyone else does NOT have their ears pierced. And you know our rules: when you're 12!"
"How about 11?'
"Twelve! I got mine pierced once I had my period..."
"Mum that is disgusting! Don't talk about that!"
Perhaps that was too much oversharing. I turn Taylor back up again.
Thankfully, I no longer have to hover at the bottom of hot, silver slippery dips or splintery ladders at the playground to keep my daughters safe. But that constant vigilance to protect my girls from physical harm has now been replaced by the trickier job of keeping them safe from the pressure of growing up too fast.
It's not unusual to want to grow up quickly. As a teenager, I remember hiding the outfits that my mother didn't approve of in our garbage bin. Once I had kissed my mum goodbye before going to the "movies" with my girlfriends, I'd crouch behind our fence to change out of my jeans and into my ruffled midriff top and polka dot red-and-white micro shorts.
Now I'm having similar arguments about outfit choices with my nine year old daughter.
"No, you can't wear a crop top!"
"But Bratz dolls wear crop tops. It's not fair."
"You're not allowed to have a Bratz doll. They're tacky, and you're too young to wear a crop top."
"All my friends have crop tops."
"No they don't!"
"How about I wear my gymnastics top with my shorts?"
"No, because then it's a crop top."
"You let me wear it at the gym..."
What worries my already worry-filled brain is that girls are growing up even faster these days. Their strong, young bodies are entering puberty sooner. Girls want to dress like their much older teen idols who star on the Disney Channel. But I'm determined to draw the line at midriff tops and those vile, skimpy denim shorts.
For now, we're not listening to Iggy but more of Taylor Swift, and watching the Annie movie, the version that stars Carole Burnett and not Cameron Diaz.
Despite my censorship efforts, my eldest daughter is still determined to have a birthday cake featuring Nicki Minaj holding a pussycat in her lap... There's no packet cake mix for that.
First appeared in Sunday Life Magazine.