By LEANNE ITALIE
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — My 9-year-old daughter looks older than she is. Always has. Kids and — worse — grown-ups who should know better comment on it all the time.
"Look how big her feet are," they observe, right in front of her.
It's all good, we tell her, humankind comes in many shapes and sizes. "Some kids just grow early."
Usually she smiles and goes back to hula-hooping, her stuffed animals, Mary Poppins, whatever 9-year-old kid thing she's happily doing. We never worried too much, until a few things recently set me fretting the toll of our skin-deep, sped up culture and discreetly searching my baby's body for nonexistent signs of puberty.
It began with a trip to the hair salon. She had grown her silky black hair down her back so she could donate a fat ponytail to an organization that makes wigs for sick kids. It had taken years to get her hair just right for a neat bob after the big snip, and I promised a trip to a fancy place to get the job done.
After her cascade of hair was gone, a pro with a blow dryer boofed her head to perfection and my 9-year-old went from looking 12-ish to looking 15-ish.
A few days later she got her ears pierced, adding another year. That's when panic took over, compounded by the first blogger in her fourth-grade class emerging to stress on a range of subjects, including a zit on her neck, getting into college — and having enough money to pay for it.
So if 13 is the new 18, then what's 9? And what can parents, especially those of girls, do to temper culture's pressure to grow up way too fast?
By LEANNE ITALIE
- Our Generation
How would a shootout work in zero gravity?
In a climactic scene in the new sci-fi actioner "Total Recall," our heroes Hauser (Colin Farrell) and Melina (Jessica Biel) find themselves caught in a zero-gravity shootout near the center of the Earth. Would guns really work in zero gravity?
Avoiding the back pain of back-to-school
A properly sized backpack with the right weight can be a very good way to carry school necessities. Unfortunately, many kids overload their backpacks and suffer back pain as a result.
Child's drowning spurs free Water Safety Days
In response to the weekend’s tragic drowning in French Creek, Meadville Area Recreation Complex will host a pair of free Community Water Safety Days for area parents and children.
Dear grads: None of you is special
The world loves a hostile or challenging graduation speech, one that eschews the warmth and supportiveness and grand inspirational sweep of the usual thing.
Study: Students benefit from personal financial education
Is financial literacy education worthwhile? There was always the assumption that it could be helpful and now, USA Funds, a non-profit financial education organization, says there's research that suggests just how powerful it can be.
- OUR HEALTH(Local): Small Moves Get Results
- Ten Ways to Add Summer Produce to Your Plate
- OUR HEALTH(Local): Healthy summer side dishes -Rosanne Rust
- OUR HEALTH(Local): Attention Overweight Child-Bearing Young Women: Lose weight Now With These Five Easy Tips
- GALLERY: Images of Jackson and Fawcett
- More Our Generation Headlines
- How would a shootout work in zero gravity?