Friday, April 11, 2008

Puberty at Age 7???!!

A few months ago, the psychologist we've been working with remarked that Katya might actually be about to head into puberty. Her intense emotionality had sparked such a conjecture, but I hadn't thought too much about it. Sure, she often sounded like a preteen ("I can't wear that outfit today! I may have picked it out last night, but it doesn't express how I feeeeeel today!!!"), but... come on... she's SEVEN!

Then last night I curled up in her bed with her to give her a massage. I hoped that it would relax her, helping her to fall asleep more easily. It did relax her somewhat, but she wanted to talk... And talk... And talk... I think she needed to, though, and it was nice to talk in such a calm setting.

What I hadn't been prepared to notice, however, was that it's time to pick up some girly deodorant for her. REALLY time. And she had just had a shower with plenty of apricot soap.

That opened my eyes... And I realized that there were other signs, too... I've done a bit of research today about early puberty, and I still can't wrap my mind around it. She's not heavy in the least (although she was a little chubby until a growth spurt this fall), so I doubt her hormones have been kicked into gear by the extra fat (that's a leading theory for early onset of puberty). Another theory is the prevalence of hormones in children's diets these days... But since moving to Russia, she's been on a pretty much organic diet, with almost no artificial foods!

I kind of hoped that an early start to puberty would mean an earlier end to it, but nowhere have I read that... I do hope it doesn't happen too fast; her growth (height) could be stunted as a result and she simply isn't ready to handle this.

I'm trying to make it into a positive thing for her, though, and tomorrow we're going to have special "Katya/Mommy" time to go pick out a really pretty deodorant.

Have any of your kids gone through similar changes this young??!! It's crazy!

I must confess, though, that realizing just what she's going through biologically makes it a whole lot easier to deal with her difficult outbursts lately. I know I put you through hell, Mom, when I hit puberty... But you got to wait until I was in fifth/sixth grade!


Tina in CT said...

Holy S___!

Anonymous said...

precocious puberty...I was 10...not much older then she. I am sorry that it is happening to is not a thing you wish on any mom with this age child. Research research research..,,,I will let you know what I have when I can get my hands on it...

hugs to you both.


garnet said...

Oh my . . . poor Katya, and poor you. Though I'd agree that it would make it easier to deal with behavior issues if I had a sense why -- and certainly something like this to which I can relate.

Not too long ago I read a discussion between some women discussing their young daughters (7 or 8) needing to start with deodorant. It came as a bit of a shocker to the woman who started the conversation but if I'm recalling correctly, there were several others who chimed in that they had experienced it with their girls. So hoping this won't rush on too quickly for her.

I met a woman who'd adopted a girl from Romania when she was five and by about this age she was already hitting puberty. In their situation they were feeling there were enough other issues to work through that it would be disasterous to add that on top of everything else so were using shots to stay the onset for a bit but to me that would seem almost as bad itself. That was my first ever encounter with the idea that this could happen so young.

Actually, when I start thinking about this even if my daughter is standard age I've only got about five more years. Scary!

garnet said...

Oh, forgot to add on the previous post how great the massages are. I just finished giving one to Larissa and she loves it. I'd found some baby oil and massage lotion I received when Xander was born and had never used so in an effort to start using up stuff I began giving them massages after their baths. It's been a great hit.

Anonymous said...

hey, tamara, this won't make you feel any better, but we seem to have opposite problem with em. she is 5 1/2 and still only weights 36 lbs and still hasn't lost any teeth at all - everyone in her class as lost at least 1 - some 5 already. i was worring that moscow had stunted her growth a bit, even. prayers for all of you!

Annie said...

Well, that is interesting. would you say that her emotionality is sudden and new? Or is this just an ongoing trait?

Girls are more likely to reach puberty about the time their moms did...were you an early bloomer? I am just wondering, honestly, if she is just emotionally mature. You yourself have given us some little snapshots of a child who was emotionally mature (and - perhaps more to the point - expressive) from the cradle, practically. She does seem unique in that way (though a chip of the old block, so to speak).

The deodorant is interesting...

Though, you might be "smelling things". Sergei had been telling me about how "stinky" Zhen is. I thought he was just being mean; I didn't smell it. But then, I really don't have much sense of smell. But one night YUCK! "Zhen! You ARE as stinky as they come! You go up and take a bath right now!" Then the next day - "Zhen! Did you change your socks! Underwear? Then go take a bath!" Finally, one night I smelled that dreadful smell - but Zhen was nowhere in sight! What? I looked all over? Then I realized - I was opening the bottle of Valerian tablets that I bought for Ilya to (in theory, anyway) help him sleep. It was those pills! They smell as bad as anything you can imagine. And just coincidentally, Zhen had been somewhere nearby when I opened the bottle, and because Sergei had planted that little idea of Zhen smelling bad, I KNEW that stink was Zhen! I felt so bad about it, but I also laugh to myself whenever I open that bottle.

Rachael said...

I wouldn't be too worried about the deodarant issue. But if she starts developing breasts or other secondary characteristics before 8 that is definitely precocious and you should have her checked by your pediatrician when you come home this summer. Periods at 9 and 10 happens not unfrequently and the other stuff starts about 2 years before that. So, that's what you could be headed for. Call me or email me if I can help you or if you just want to vent!

Annie said...

I forgot that Rachael is a true expert on this subject.

Lori said...

Maybe she just doesn't shower very well. Just because kids take a bath they don't always come out smelling clean. When we were little my mom always used to ask us (my sisblings and I) after we took a bath if we used soap. It was so embarassing.
Just a thought.

Nataliya said...

My daughter is 10, and she's already developing. The very first purchase I made for her in America was the training bra. And now that you mentioned deodorant, I think I need to buy one for Rachel. I noticed the smell when I was giving her a good night kiss immediately after shower. I thought maybe it was a different smell, but now I think I was in denial :)

7 is early of course, but the kids are developing earlier these days. Whether it's true or not, the fact that it makes it easier for you to deal with her outbursts is very important.

I'm telling you, it's much easier to raise the boys :)

Tami said...

I agree with Rachel. I do know from my limited research that if she starts to show other signs there are things your doctor can do to help delay the puberty, and to help her continue to grow and develop at an age appropriate level. You may want to get Rachel's advice on this one.

kate said...

One of my second graders has just started to need deodorant. It's definitely a different smell from the usual sweaty seven-year-old.

You haven't been eating Russian beef, have you?