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Don't steal my thunder: things that only MAMA should do

My children are fortunate frequent recipients of little knick and knacks from their family members - maybe a package of socks, maybe a bundle of those silly bandz (which are so "out", by the way), maybe a new kids' magazine, maybe a bag of their favorite dried fruit, maybe a new notebook, maybe a bunch of stickers.

In a recent care package, they received a stack of new camisoles and frilly underthings, among the items for my older [11.5yo] daughter were a couple of bras, full out cupped with double-hook closures in the back.  A couple of years back, when my daughter was bra curious, we picked out a couple of short cami numbers, pullover type of sports-bra looking things.  "Trainers" perhaps one would call them, but I really thought of them as half-camisoles.  (wondering where to get your daughter fit for a bra?  here are a few suggestions.)

Anyway, I have to admit: when I saw that someone else had given my first-born, my eldest daughter, her "first bra", I felt miffed.  I mean, should *I* be the one to go pick one out for her, buy it for her?  Isn't it a right of passage, stepping from childhood to teenagehood, from girlhood to womanhood?  Or a small step?

I am reminded of an episode of Parenthood, when a boy's mom's new boyfriend offers to take the boy to a football game.  His dad, however, wasn't keen on the idea of someone else - especially his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend - taking his son to his first football game.

There are "firsts" and there are special moments that ought to be shared between parent and child, or perhaps I am just nostalgic about it.  Among the things I feel that only mama should do: buy a girl her first bra, have a first alcoholic beverage with their child (whether it be at 21 or before), give baby his first bath, teach the tyke how to ride a bike, take him for her first hair cut ...  what other "firsts"?  I am sure there are more.  What are yours?  Is it a big deal or no?


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My FIL has sent Christmas presents labeled Santa. My kids are still too young to read so it hasn't been a problem, but I had my husband talk to him about it. I want us to be Santa. And I want Santa to bring one big, special thing like he did when I was a kid. Not a bunch of junk from Wallmart.

You are definitely right. Some "firsts" should be left to the parents. I am fortunate enough to have inlaws who are sensitive to this and typically ask if it is ok to give or do anything other than the usual with my kids. Bra will be one of those special "firsts".Haircut is one of those, but not even the first harcut. All haircuts. Until my daughter is old enough to have an opinion on her haircut, I want it to be what I like.

My MIL (who I see now meant well) clipped my week old first born daughter's fingernails without asking and cut her little finger and made it bleed in the process. That was my first experience of that righteous indignation "That's MY job!" feeling. Needless to say we were all very upset by the experience. Some people just don't have a good sense of where the boundaries are naturally and you have to be more explicit with them. It seems that in general most people in my life have a pretty good sense of what types of things are important for my husband and I to do with (or for) our children whether for first-time experiences or ongoing decisions (like haircuts).

My mother was visiting us when our firstborn turned 4 months old. My husband and I were surprised to find when we came home from work that day that my mother had taken our son to the grocery store, purchased rice cereal, baby spoons and a small bowl, and fed him his first non-breastmilk food. All without letting us know. On the plus side we've learned to protect the firsts that are important to us.

as an adoptive mom who brought home 1 child at 1-year-old and the other as a pre-schooler, i'm a paradox of extremes here. i've let go of the importance of many firsts that others cherish. i can't spend time thinking about milestones i wasn't there for. don't know if it's because of this dynamic, or just who i am, but i'm super relaxed about some milestones yet-to-come, and really inflexible about others.

i have to say, i would be so SO sad (and probably pissed) if i didn't get to take my daughters to buy their first bras. that one feels incredibly significant to me. my girls are years away from bras still, but already see wearing a bra as THE mark of growing up. maybe because it's on the cusp of a time when mothers and daughters often feel more distance or tension, i just want to be there for that one. and i know that if my daughter opened a package and found a bra meant for her, there would be no unringing that bell.

Take a deep breath and realize how lucky you and your daughter are that someone loves her enough to send wonderful presents. Sometimes our desire to take control makes us forget what's really important. We can't complain that we don't have a village if we make the village too scared to do anything because mama might get offended.

I have heard of people bringing little girls to get their ears pierced. I think that is a big no-no. Haircuts, I think, need permission first. Talking to my kid about "fact of life" type things...this mostly happens at school with other kids, but I would be furious if some adult, even a well trusted one, did this without my consent, unless it was an answering a question type of thing. It all depends on your own values of what is important or personal. I might be ok with the bra thing, since I never wanted to wear a bra, or grow up for that matter, when I was a teen, and found the whole thing embarassing. I am very open with my daughter, and we talk about things more openly than my family did when I was a kid, but if she finds it special to go shop for a bra with her older cousins, or a family friend, I'm ok with that. But I do get what you all are talking about!

My kids are being raised by a village and I don't feel protective of the firsts at all. Maybe because they are pretty respectful of boundaries? I can definitely see sending my daughter off with her aunt or grandma for bra shopping. That doesn't appeal to me at all. I also am not controlling by nature, so it's easy for me to go with the flow. And though I'm not a Buddhist, I practice non-attachment as much I can. From my experience, control and too much attachment make for an unhappy family.

Very well said, cc (above)!

I made the mistake of picking out my wedding dress with my future MIL instead of my mom. 9 years later and I am still not sure she's forgiven me.

In my defense, I had gone shopping with my mom before that, it was a happened-to-be-in-another-city opportunity, not a planned excursion, she had given me permission to buy a dress without her when I was traveling before either of the above trips, and she knew I was (and continue) to struggle to develop a relationship with my MIL and this was a failed attempt at bonding.

I don't think she realized how important it was to her until she wasn't there for it. Of course, I wish we had just eloped and foregone the whole dress thing avoiding this situation but that would have broken her heart.

The upside with the slightly-more-than-acquaintances relationship I have with my in-laws, they are exceedingly cautious and polite when it comes to doing things with our children, so I don't worry about them usurping my/our role at firsts though there are occasionally things that I wish were nevers... I can't say the same for my parents or siblings -- they ascribe to "the beg forgiveness rather than ask permission" philosophy. The first PG-13 movie, yeah the "fun" aunt took care of that, but that is more about the children's maturity than nostalgia.

My MIL was the first to allow my son to have a sleepover. I don't particularly see that as a rite of passage, but I was aggravated because the reason we hadn't been doing it was because he had a tenuous hold on the idea of getting enough sleep as it was. Sure enough, he and his friend slept only about 5 hours and he was a wreck the next day when we got to take him home and deal with his exhaustion, bad behavior, and general inability to cope with anything while handling a new baby in the process. It sucked.

I have learned to let go of a lot of firsts, since I've had to work outside of the home since my daughter was 8 weeks old. I do what I can do be there for most of them. But just last week, I was a little sad to NOT be the one taking her to her first swimming lesson. This is when smartphones and easily IMed photos and videos are a lifesaver!

Just a thought on the OP situation. I wonder if you could do something special to mark the wearing of the bra for the first time, since you aren't able to go get it?

Ditto! I try to talk myself out of being territorial - I know that my attitude about whatever didn't turn out the way I wanted is generally more devastating than the incident. But we invest so much of our time and hearts in this parenting thing, that our entitlement to certain rites are well earned....Right?

My daughters first nanny gave her her first haircut. It took me a couple hours to figure out what looked different. Then it hit me, she had bangs. When I questioned the nanny, she said that my DD looked so feral, she finally had to do something. So I sent her packing.

I had several times rehearsed the spirituality talk I would one day have with my kids. When they asked, I planned on covering all of the known dieties, letting them mull it over, and draw their own conclusions. But then, my sweet neighbor gave them the 'ONE TRUE GOD' talk. So now, whatever I say, they're gonna think that somebody is full of it. That one really ticked me off..

But the list of firsts that I do have, I wouldn't trade any for that haircut or that indoctrination.

A friend tells me that I got all flustered the first time she put my baby (who's 7 now) in a swing for the first time, because I felt I should be the one doing it. I have no memory of this! If you'd ever asked me if I'd be like that, I'd say for sure no. But like a lot of people have noted here, you often don't realize how important these firsts are until someone else takes them over, and then suddenly you feel robbed somehow. So, thanks for this topic, because it's helpful to think in advance about what firsts we want to be involved in, BEFORE they happen!

My husband and I are without family. Both of our parents have passed away and we each have one sibling that lives far away and neither has a family. We were transfered here for a job and know no one and have had a hard time finding a niche here. I would be more than willing to forgo a first to have anyone care about my children.

I guess because we're so close and do so much stuff together, I really don't feel territorial about this at all. I would probably be upset if someone had cut all her hair off when she was younger or pierced her ears before I felt it was appropriate, but otherwise, I tend to appreciate the help.

I suppose I also have it a bit easier because my mom is really respectful and always makes sure things are "okay" with me beforehand. And I respect her taste with these things. With everyone else, the gifts are never as exciting as what she gets from us---and if someone did give her something special, I think I'd be touched that they cared so much.

I wouldn't have cared if she had bought my daughter her first bra (though my daughter did make it quite the event). I suppose I wish she hadn't been stuck at school when she first got her period (so I could've helped her), but that's a bit different.

As for experiences, we're generally the ones who do the really fun stuff, so that isn't an issue, either.

If it is important to you, then it is a big deal. You as the mama should experience that "first." I value community living and having a village around me and my family but also value sharing special first moments with my children.

I have a clear and cherished memory of my mother taking me bra shopping for my first "trainer" bra. My mother is a rigid character and thus the event was planned. I could feel the anxiety she felt during the outing, But the stronger emotion was her pride in my coming of age and the honor she felt in being the one who ushered me through the process. That experience taught me so much about being a mother. It taught me that my role is sacred because the child deserves to have the world unveiled to them at a pace they can tolerate. And they deserve to have a support person there that reminds them that they can tolerate the experience and if the experience is overwhelming, that they are not alone with it.
This weekend we took our 18month old to a party with a belly dancer. I was excited to share this experience with her as I love dancing and she appears to enjoy it as well. I watched her face now and again and she moved between complete amazement and momentary overwhelm. I felt so honored to be providing that experience and being the supportive person she could touch when she needed to regroup. I agree with an earlier post that it isn't about the bra but about your relationship as she experiences that first.

Ich glaube nicht, dass sie erkannt, wie wichtig es ihr war, bis sie nicht da war für sie. Natürlich, ich wünschte, wir hatten gerade durchgebrannt und ausgemachte Sache, das ganze Kleid Vermeidung dieser Situation, aber das würde ihr das Herz gebrochen haben.

I would have much rather been sent my first bra, because the way I got mine was humiliating.
In Target, 12 years old, shopping with my Mom and neighbors (Mom, boy, girl). We pass through the bra isle: "Oh look, Fran, they have bras your size!" My Mom says. She then takes one off the rack and holds it up to me. In plain view. In front of a BOY. Talk about being mortified!

Planning their birthday parties (haven't even hit my baby's first and already having to fend off the MIL).

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