Hey Mom, whaddya think?

I glance over quickly before returning to my book. "Nice Dear".

Don't ignore me! Look at me! Does this look good on me?

I turn to give her my full attention, realizing this is no ordinary "How do I look?" query. "It" has hit. The "it" being the caring of how she appears to others. The "it" being wanting to look her best, very important esteem building stuff to one on the brink of teendom. "Nice dear" isn't going to cut it.

She is wearing her bright orange parachute pants (the ones she found in the boys department and had to have immediately) and a bright rainbow tank top. She has on blue zip up sneakers. Her hair is plaited in two braids that hang over her shoulders. She looks "fun".

I love that outfit on you honey, you look sunny.

She grins as she skips off to the bathroom. Ten minutes later she returns.

How 'bout this?

She is wearing loose flowing black faux silk pants with a matching black top. She has a floral purple tank dress over the top of this. Her hair is loose with a matching purple handband holding her slightly too long bangs out of her eyes. She looks airy, comfortable.

That suits you very well dear. I like it.

She smiles and runs back to the bathroom. Ten minutes later she returns.

How 'bout now?

She is wearing one of those long red japanese-like silk numbers. Deep red with vibrant flowers sprinkled through out, short sleeved, modest neckline, flowing down to her ankles. It covers everything yet accentuates everything. It clings to her form which is more than any twelve year old should have. EVERY curve stands out and says "look at me". She has her cream heels on that add three inches to her height. She is as tall as me in those. Her hair is now pulled back from her face in a reverse french braid. She looks crisp and untouchable. Modest, yet not. She does not look twelve, but the look suits her very well. (I had not noticed that many curves before.)

You look beautiful, I tell her. (She looks breath taking)

She smiles as she turns to glide gracefully back to the bathroom. Ten minutes later she returns.

Last one Mom, whaddya think of THIS one?

I choke back my iced tea sneezing as it goes up my nose.

Somethin the matter Mom?

Nope, it just went down the wrong pipe.

The "child" has on a slightly too loose halter top gathered in front, bare at the back, no bra. Swells peak out the sides when she turns sideways. She has on tight short shorts accentuating budding hips (hips that weren't there last time I looked, when was that?). Cream trouser socks are pulled up past her knees, midway up her thighs as if waiting for garter straps and those cream chunky funky shoes. She has her hair mussed up wild, hanging over her eyes in peek a boo fashion. She is also wearing bright marmalade lipstick.

Well?, she asks as she holds up her arms pirouetting.

I think (not say), you look like no twelve year old should. It's too soon to give up your childhood to battle your hormones. You are not ready for this. I am not ready for this. As I am about to answer her, she catches herself in the mirror.

ACK! My boobs are hanging out too much! I can't let anyone see me like this!

Her brother walks in, " Hey! You've got a hootchie butt!"

She knocks him over, sits on him, and bounces up and down for good measure. "Do not!" She gives him a wet willy, then runs off to the bathroom with him chasing after. SLAM!

She comes back shortly in her orange outfit with braids and sneakers again. She sticks her tongue out at her smirking brother.

I'm putting THAT outfit away till I'm older. I'm going out to play. Later!

Relief floods through me. I can't help but think that this was her way of telling me that she's growing up and to be prepared.

I am so not prepared...

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