Child? What child?

Children – and childhood – seem to be disappearing.

I almost… almost feel like an old, whinging madwoman saying this. But I’m not, so here goes:

When I was a kid, I dressed in jeans and t-shirts, flat sandals or shoes, fleeces, party dresses that came down below my knees, those little-girl white socks with the foldy-over bit of lace at the top.

But now, all I seem to see are little girls of seven, eight, nine… all dressing like teenagers, like adults. It’s like being back in the Victorian age, for goodness’ sake! What’s happened to childhood, to having those things that you’ll remember for childhood?
I know kids try to dress older, act older, but really, it just doesn’t feel right for them to be dressed in little miniskirts, high heels, knee-high boots, those little jackety things that are there just to cover your breasts — except that they don’t have any, because they’re eight!

I can remember just one girl in my year at primary school who dressed like that, out of probably fifty-odd girls. And she was the weird one.

And actually, I know I’m not wrong on this, and I know it’s not right, because recently a man was given a fairly light sentence for “statutory rape” of a ten year old.
His defence? She dressed like she was sixteen, acted like she was sixteen, told him she was sixteen. Therefore it was consensual and he didn’t know any better, so he can’t have been to blame.

This should never have happened.
And I am so, so sad for that child, who seems to think that trying to be a sixteen year old, way before her time, is an appropriate thing to do.
Poor girl. When I was her age, I was playing make-believe stories where sixteen was an impossibly big age to be, grown up and unattainable.
And I thought that sex happened like it does in James Bond films, where they take their tops off in bed and kiss and roll around lots, and in the morning she wakes up with underwear on.
And it was always really embarressing to watch those things with your parents there, because you were always really interested and never wanted to seem like you were.

If I have children, I want them to think exactly the same thing, until they can screw up their courage to ask myself or their father about it.
And I won’t just give them a “Facts of Life” book, either. Not the one I got, anyway!
It took me ages to work out where all the legs went, after looking at the anatomical diagram. The man and the woman – helpfully colour coded in blue and pink respectively – seemed to only have half a leg each, and using Barbie and Ken to try to figure it out didn’t really work!
I’m not saying for a moment that I’d give them a copy of the Kama Sutra, but seriously, from a real explanation point of view, that book was crap.
You know, in a kind of, “when a man and a woman love each other very much….” kind of a way, that tells you fuck all.
I thought you had to kiss on a sofa, sitting mostly properly – that is, facing forwards – with just the very top part of your bodies turning towards each other, and one of his hands on your breast, because of my book.
And I thought you had to move your hips and nothing else, once you were actually having sex. I thought there was nothing between the two – that you’d automatically go from kissing on a sofa to sex in a bed. I could never quite equate the James Bond films with this, either.
Oh, yeah – and I thought that you’d get pregnant every time you had sex, so you’d only be able to do it once every nine months.

Oh, for those years of innocence…..


One Comment on “Child? What child?”

  1. Kirsten says:

    Well, I thought periods meant women had to go to hospital once a month to have an operation.

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