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November 5, 2010

When I was 10, the year was 1988. I was in Grade 4. I was a gypsy for Halloween and I remember clearly doing a project on figure skating during the Calgary Winter Olympics. I got in trouble for the first (and only) time in school forging my mom’s signature in my daily journal (funny how when you’re a kid you think you can get away with such things).

Growing Pains was my favourite show.

The summer I was 10 we rented a motor home and drove to BC and back. I listened to Tiffany and Belinda Carlisle the entire trip. We were home for a week or so when my parents shipped my sister and I off to Newfoundland to stay with my grandparents while they moved us into a new house. I remember coming home to that new house in a brand new station wagon (the kind with the seat in the back facing the wrong way) and that Fall I started Grade 5 at a new school.

Playing was the ultimate, and at the top of my list of favourite pastimes when I was 10 were Barbies, Lego and riding my bike (but not past the green electrical box).

The thing that wasn’t on my mind was sex and babies, unless you counted the one second ‘touching’ Ken had with Barbie (poor Barbie, Ken was selfish) to make their baby (which Ken looked after while Barbie was off being a lawyer).

You’ve probably all heard in the news by now about the 10 year old in Spain (she’s of Romanian descent) who gave birth this week. If you haven’t, Google it. It’s quite the disturbing story. I try very, very hard to respect other peoples cultures and traditions, but this is ridiculous.

Never mind the fact that physically she was a woman because she hit puberty (which is also sad at the age of 10, but that’s another issue altogether). Puberty doesn’t make you ready to be a mom, and physically having a baby that young is dangerous. Emotionally and mentally this is a 10 year old child and there’s a level of selflessness that comes with being a mom that a 10 year old just doesn’t have. How can she take care of a baby when she’s a baby herself?

And don’t even get me started on the idea of  how a 10 year old is having sex! I knew about where babies came from, but there is no way that I understood exactly what that meant at that age. Why wasn’t she playing?  What happened to her childhood? How did she get to that point? It makes me sad. Very, very sad.

I held onto my childhood for as long as I could, because as the saying goes, “Innocence is bliss”. No one should have to grow up that quickly and regardless of your culture, children are universal. They should all be protected. I hope people take this as an opportunity to tune into what their own kids are doing and the kinds of activities they’re into.

I might go home tonight, pull out my barbies and play a little. Just like I was 10 again.

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