Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I get an email every Sunday night from my daughter's 4th grade teacher that covers anything important for the week. But this week's email said, "Please make sure your child is dressed for running outside, stretching and being active. This eliminates tight skirts, floppy or clunky shoes, and coming to school without a jacket. A supportive sports-bra if your girl is beginning to bud is a thoughtful gesture, and crystal/deodorant if they are beginning to perspire is especially appreciated by their pregnant teacher! : )"
My daughter is 9-years-old! I am NOT going to give her a complex about her teeny tiny boobs or a little bit of sweat. I don't think it is the teacher's place AT ALL to bring up bras and deodorant. In my opinion, it is a parenting issue. I know little girls are developing earlier and earlier these days, but I'm still going to let my newly 9-year-old go without a bra and deodorant. She's too young to worry about vanity. She goes to school in clean and appropriate clothing and has a bath or a shower everyday.
What do you think? Should she be told by her teacher to wear a bra? I know this wasn't directed at my girl personally, but I would hate for the teacher to ever say anything to the girls about this.
Mind Your Own Beeswax, Teacher
Dear Mind Your Own Beeswax,
Wow, where do I begin? B.O., sports bras, pregnant teachers and the phrase "if your girl is beginning to bud." I feel like I'm trapped in an ABC After School Special with Lance Kerwin all of a sudden. Should I put on a crocheted vest and try some of that groovy angel dust I've been hearing so much about? Maybe I'll do it right after I make-out with an older dude at the disco roller rink. Whee!
But back to your question. Right off the bat, I will agree that yes, the teacher is somewhat overstepping her bounds in regards to her students' personal hygiene and support garments. Those are most definitely matters best left to parents. However, there are two things that might be at play here.
First, she's pregnant, and therefore extremely sensitive to smell. I know that when I was pregnant, I couldn't stand the aroma of coffee and used to yell at my co-workers for having the nerve to use the office coffee pot in the morning. "Don't you idiot caffeine-freaks care about my unborn child?! Don't you? What is wrong with you selfish morons? I HATE YOU!" You know, I'm still not sure why I was laid off...
What I'm trying to say is maybe you can cut her a little slack with the deodorant issue. Your daughter may not need it, but others might. I know my 9-year-old son's armpits have started smelling like a New York city cab driver's lately, so we just had to buy him some deodorant. (Baby's first SpeedStick! So cute!)
Another thing to consider is that perhaps she's advising bras because the girls who are "budding" are being teased. Rather than singling them out and/or speaking to their parents privately, she opted for sending an email to everyone. Or maybe she's noticed that when the girls are being active at recess, like on the monkey bars, sometimes their tops flip up and there's nothing underneath. At any rate, if you don't think your daughter needs a bra, I wouldn't worry about it.
I do agree that a 9-year-old girl shouldn't have to worry about "vanity," however wearing a bra and smelling good are issues that are going to come up sooner than you think, so it never hurts to teach her about it while she's young. (Because you don't want her to be this person when she grows up.) And while your kid's teacher might be a little bit of a busybody, I have to say that it sounds like she really cares about the kids, too. Even the smelly ones.