Are You There Judy? It’s Me, Ally.


This is the cover of the copy I checked out to read as a sixth grader. The covers have been updated, but this is my favorite.

Are you there Judy? It’s me, Ally. And I read your popular book about the girl who talked to God. It helped me because my mom wasn’t the type who talked about what to expect in my changing body. Nana certainly didn’t help either. I got bad information from friends and embarrassing information from films at school. How I imagined a perfect puberty through your book didn’t quite happen the way you described. Hell, even Meggie from The Thorn Birds (Mom’s favorite mini-series) got advice from Father de Bricassart.

Me? Nothing. No one helped me. I had to figure stuff out on my own and this one, one of the most concrete and visible manifestations of puberty was all mine to figure out. As I muddled my way through, learning the ins and outs, I helped my two younger sisters. They didn’t read your book, but they had me to help as much as an older sister would help.

It hit again, on a much larger scale. This, with the advent of technology where information was at my fingertips, but way before the blogosphere was a thing, I became a mother. Round two, here we go again. There were books I didn’t have time to read, A Baby Story on TLC (or was it Discovery?) was the closest thing I had to pregnancy, childbirth, and the fourth trimester. My lamaze class helped a little, but it was NOTHING like going through it.

No one warned me my pre-pregnancy clothes would. Not. Fit. At. All. No one said I’d rip, or there would be stitches. Or adult diapers. No one mentioned having to take a squirt bottle full of warm water to every bathroom visit only to wish U.S. toilets were equipped with bidets. No one mentioned nursing was a whole new level of hell (shoutout to the mammas that make it work), how my body felt like mush, and how I felt that I floated outside of my body in a zombified daze for three weeks.

There were no mommy IRL Instagram accounts, no FB support groups, and my mom wasn’t up to speed on new child rearing trends like nursing in public, co-sleeping, and putting babies to sleep on their backs only because they can freakin’ die if they sleep on their stomachs. Which is exactly the only way my son would sleep. Period. Because he came out hollering at me and he rarely slept. When he did sleep, I panicked because I thought he was dead. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” was the stupidest first time mom advice I ever received.

After my daughter was born, it was a little easier because I knew what to expect and immediately decided nursing wasn’t a good fit for my personality. Dehydrated DH3 enriched powdered cow’s milk all the way, baby! This kid slept. On her stomach, because to hell with those motherhood trends. Do what works.

We parent our kids the best we can. There are milestones, family trips, and birthdays.

The birthday.

The 40th one.

Hey, Judy, I’m in ‘tweenhood again. How did Margaret handle puberty 2.0, the sequel, the second part? I know about menopause, but there’s this ‘tween stage to prep the body for it and it’s called perimenopause. God forbid women be strong enough to hit it head-on. Weight gain that does. Not. Come. Off. No matter how little you eat or how hard you exercise, it won’t budge. The kids sleep now, too much, but insomnia is the wicked little step-sibling that likes to wail at 3:00 a.m. Smothering it with a pillow doesn’t work. After those films in middle school, the teachers nonchalantly told us we’d outgrow the acne. They lied. Popping a puberty zit isn’t the same as trying to deal with that nasty hormonal stress acne that likes to hang out on my jawline.

Judy, you didn’t warn me about this one. Did Margaret stop talking to God?

16 thoughts on “Are You There Judy? It’s Me, Ally.

  1. Haha, I’m laughing at how close home you hit with every word of yours! I still check my kids (and they’re 22, 16, and 8 years old) to see if they’re breathing when they sleep. Been doing it forever! Perimenopause? Let me not even go there! LOVED your slice!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness–I can totally relate to the new motherhood part of your slice. I had NO idea about ripping/stitches, the squirt bottle of warm water, and how nursing would feel like a whole new level of hell! You’re right, round two was easier. I felt more prepared and knew what to expect. Thanks for slicing! 

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was so well written! Thank you for being so honest about the realities of every stage a woman goes through in her life and how little control we have over what happens. And somehow, we are supposed to be able to mentally pull it together makes it even more overwhelming. But, it so important to talk about these changes and to present them. Make it the norm to discuss these changes, so it isn’t a surprise and you don’t feel alone. You and Judy Blume have go it going!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thank you! I agree, this should be shared more often. I thin with social media, it’s getting out there, but sheesh, where was it when I needed it?


  4. I love how you share about such important topics with such humor and honesty. –Just like Judy Blume, in fact. 🙂 There are so many lines I particularly enjoyed. The ending, especially. It feels like there are so many layers packed into that last sentence.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow. The voice in this slice is stunning. The way you’ve structured this piece, like a conversation with Judy Blume is so clever. I laughed (and cringed) my way through it, as I’m sure you intended.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my goodness! I love every bit of this! This would be such a great mentor text for voice…if only I didn’t teach 6th graders!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My goodness, you did have to do it tough. My mum didn’t tell me anything either, but I had a few friends who kind of helped out. I’m sorry you found pregnancy and feeding so difficult, but I’m glad you’ve got through it! Don’t worry about the menopause, it comes and goes too!

    Liked by 1 person

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