Yes, I've written fic. Tremble, world! This is a direct sequel to How Willow Discovered Online Porn, which I wrote back in 2009; and it starts immediately after that fic finished. Believe it or not from the title, this fic is not porn itself, although it does mention the subject in passing.
Title: How Willow Acquired Her First Vibrator
Character: Sheila Rosenberg
Setting: Before Season 1
Genre: humour/parental angst
Warnings: References to teenage sexual experimentation.
Summary: Sheila has just discovered the reason why her daughter is spending so much time locked away in her bedroom lately - or at least she thinks she has (Those who've read the prequel to this fic will know she's actually mistaken; but she doesn't know that.) Now she's trying to decide how to react to that revelation.
Sheila Rosenberg loves her daughter very much.
She isn't sentimental about it, like some of the other mothers she met at that parenting group she attended once. She doesn't see the need for dramatic, overblown effusions of feeling. No. Her job as a parent is to raise a daughter who is intelligent, confident, self-aware, self-disciplined, considerate of others, comfortable with her body and sexuality, politically aware, assertive about her rights, honest and hard-working, It's a long list, but Sheila has supreme confidence in Willow. It's why she loves her so much: she has a daughter she can be proud of.
Well, recently she's been a little worried about Willow's assertiveness, it's true. She seems to be falling behind the curve somewhat. She's spoken to Willow's teachers, and they've assured her that there's nothing to worry about. Willow contributes actively in all her classes - she's always the first to put her hand up - and if she's more diffident in her relations with the other children, well, it's probably only a phase she's going through.
That's been happening a lot lately, truth be told, Ever since Willow hit puberty she's been going through more phases than her mother can rightly keep track of. She tries, of course. After all, Dr S Rosenberg is a published author, whose past research projects have included a paper on the psychosocial development of adolescent girls into women. She's a professional at this; so how hard can it be to understand her own offspring?
As she clears away the plates from dinner and stacks them in the dishwasher, she sighs to herself. Harder than you'd think.
This last conversation, with its revelations about how Willow has been using her new Internet connection, was awkward for her. It isn't that she's angry at Willow, not at all. If anything, she's pleased with her. It's her husband's reaction that concerns her more. Sometimes Ira's opinions are old-fashioned, to say the least. Sheila worries that his evident disapproval will stunt Willow's progress towards understanding and expressing her sexuality in a healthy way. She's still only young, and harmful intervention at this stage could warp her natural development towards adulthood. Sheila is determined that the next generation of women will not feel the shame and ignorance towards their own bodies that was so depressingly prevalent among those of her own age: not if she can do anything about it.
She's still lost in thought as she finishes up in the kitchen. She needs space to clear her head, so she tells Ira she's going to her study to work. It's a little white lie, but after seventeen years of mostly happy marriage the two of them understand each other pretty well. She's sure he'll find things to amuse himself with while she's gone.
At the top of the stairs Sheila hesitates before turning down the corridor to where her study is located. Instead she looks the other way, at Willow's bedroom door. It's firmly shut, as it so often is these days.
Sheila feels an odd mixture of awkwardness, pride, and melancholy that she can't really explain. For a moment she's tempted to go over that way, open Willow's bedroom door, go in and chat to her daughter. A few years ago, she would have done just that. But now Willow is at the awkward age, too old to indulge as a child but too young to engage with as an adult and colleague. Sheila doesn’t really know how to relate to her anymore.
Besides, there might be a very good reason not to go in there right now, as their recent dinner table conversation proved. Sheila is far from stupid; she knows that adolescents of Willow's age are reaching the stage where they discover masturbation. She knows that her daughter often disappears for hours on end into her bedroom, and guards her privacy there fiercely. And Sheila can put two and two together. But suspecting is not the same as knowing for sure, which now she does.
She realises that this is where a lot of her feeling of awkwardness is coming from, and chides herself for being irrational. She's Willow's mother, for goodness' sake. She gave birth to her; she used to bathe her; she used to change her diapers. This is just another stage in the steady development of Willow's body from child to adult, and nothing to cause any embarrassment. Sheila draws comfort from that thought.
Still, she knows that it's likely Willow herself would not have the same balanced perspective on things. She would get embarrassed, and perhaps even hostile if Sheila tried to discuss the matter with her now. Empathy is a faculty that only develops late in adolescence; at her age Willow is unlikely to be able to appreciate how the matter looks from her mother's viewpoint. Not her fault, and nothing to be guilty about: her brain is still developing, after all.
Much happier now that she's sorted things out in her mind, Sheila turns and walks into her study. She sits in the chair; and as she does she remembers something that makes her smile fondly.
Most of the filing and shelf space in this room is linked to her work; research notes, textbooks, students' papers for marking. But the second drawer down on the left hand side of the desk is personal. She unlocks it, and carefully pulls out a manila folder.
The folder is a few years old, replacing the previous one that eventually became too tatty. But the sheaf of papers that Sheila takes out of it is much older. To be specific, it's eight and a half months older than Willow herself. The paper is slightly brittle and yellowed; the text was hand-typed on a mechanical typewriter and the ink is starting to fade.
There's a fat envelope pinned to the papers as well, and on a whim Sheila opens it and spreads the photographs it holds across the desk. The first one is of herself, fourteen years younger and with a most uncharacteristically excited grin on her face. She's holding up a home pregnancy test stick and pointing to the 'positive' symbol.
In the months before that picture was taken, Ira had complained - in the way Sheila knew not to take seriously, it was just his way - that she ought to purchase shares in the company that made those kits, she was buying so many of them. After they'd decided to start a family, then practically every time her period was more than a day late, she'd used one. As she said to him, she couldn’t stand the thought of uncertainty, of not knowing for sure. She needed to plan. When the test finally came up positive, Ira had taken the photograph to, as he put it in tones of deep irony, "Preserve this historic moment for posterity". Of course he'd been thrilled too, behind that gruff exterior.
The next few photographs are also of Sheila; naked, standing up straight at a three-quarter angle, each picture taken at a precise one-month interval. She'd been fascinated by the changes in her body as the pregnancy progressed, wanted to document them. She'd had thoughts of using the pictures to illustrate a book she might write, too, though in the end that came to nothing.
There's a picture of the foetus too. The obstetrician gave her a copy of the ultrasound, and she kept it with the rest of the pictures. There'd been another copy too once: she gave that to her daughter when, at the age of eight, she'd asked for a "baby picture" of herself for a school project. Willow had been utterly fascinated when Sheila gave her the scan and explained what it was, and she'd kept the image herself afterwards.
Now there is a picture of Sheila and Willow together, taken about an hour after the birth. Sheila had originally wanted her husband to take a picture of her during the actual birth, but the nursing staff had forbidden him from taking a camera into the birthing room. She'd been angry when she discovered that - which wasn't until afterwards, since she obviously had other things on her mind at the time - but Ira had managed to dissuade her from suing the hospital.
The remaining photos are all of Willow herself. Sheila decided to continue the photographic documentation of her daughter's development now that she was outside the womb. There are quite a few pictures of her aged nought to two, but after that they trail off to just one per year, then stop entirely. The most recent shows a ten-year old Willow at her birthday party, beaming at the camera, with the Harris boy play-acting in the background behind her, oblivious to Sheila's admonition to move out of the way.
Sheila blinks her eyes a couple of times as she looks at the photo, then wipes her hand impatiently across them and pushes the photos to one side. She smoothes out the crinkly sheaf of papers and reads what she wrote at the top all those years ago:
Willow Danielle R o s e n b e r g
Conceived July 2nd, 1980
Born March 24th, 1981 at 3.25 p.m.
The surname is typed, but the two first names are hand written. When she created this document, she didn’t yet know if she was carrying a boy or a girl. 'Willow' had been her own choice for a girl's name: strong yet supple, able to bend but not break; it was a good name for a woman. Ira had chosen 'Daniel' or 'Danielle' because, as he put it, a child born into their family would feel like they'd been thrown into the lion's den. Sheila indulged his sense of humour, but insisted that her name - meaningful and serious as it was - should be the primary one their daughter would be known by.
Under the name are written Willow's date of conception and date and time of birth. The first date is an estimate, calculated by counting backwards; the second is obviously much more precise. Sheila had been curious, beforehand, about how the doctors calculated the time of birth. Was it when the baby crowned, when she was fully free of her mother's body, or when the umbilical cord was cut and she drew her first breath? Ira had warned her that the truth was probably more like, "When the obstetrician or nurse finally gets a moment free to look over at the clock and check the time", and so she'd put him in charge of determining the exact time when Willow was born, according to the second criterion.
The rest of the document is a long list - which Sheila researched personally from an extensive study of the literature - of all the developmental stages a child goes through from birth to adulthood. They're coded by their categories - physical, mental, social, etc - and listed in the expected chronological order.
Over the years, Sheila would take out this sheaf of papers and carefully tick off each milestone as Willow reached it, making a note of the date as she did. She's neglected the task recently, which is something she ought to rectify.
She looks in the other drawers for something to write with. She uses a system of differently coloured pens for these notes: blue ink if Willow's development is more or less according to schedule, red ink when she's a late developer, and green ink if she's more advanced than her contemporaries. There's a lot of green ink, especially in the earlier years: Willow was an exceptionally bright and precocious child. A daughter any mother could be happy with, and Sheila had been filled with pride as she carefully made these notes.
Later on, though, the green ink diminishes; and even a few trickles of red have stained the page. Sheila wonders if that's what discouraged her from keeping up with this list, back in the day. The thought makes her angry at herself, and ashamed. She shouldn't judge her daughter like that; it's unfair and unjust.
Besides, it seems like Willow is back in form. According to the textbooks, she's at least six months in advance of her average contemporary when it comes to this particular aspect of physical development.
And so Sheila takes a green pen, and places a neat tick next to the line that says Begins masturbating regularly, and writes in today's date. Technically that's not correct, of course: Willow's had her internet connection for two months now. But today's when it was confirmed, so that's the date she puts down.
Sheila reflects that many parents switch from being enthusiastic at their children's development before puberty, to being anxious about it and hoping to delay it afterwards. At least, that's what she's read. Not her, though. She's feeling quite pleased with herself as she goes back through the previous lines, filling in the dates she's missed since she stopped updating this list. She has to guess at many of them, but she does know - from checking the receipts from the weekly shopping trips - the date of the second time she bought Willow a box of tampons. So that one's easy enough to calculate.
When she's finished, she puts the photos back in the envelope and starts to wonder if there's anything more she can do.
She wants her daughter to become a woman who's healthy and happy in herself, understands her sexuality and is familiar with how her body responds to pleasurable stimuli. That way, she can be assertive about her needs in the relationships she will form in the years to come. On the other hand, Sheila is still enough of a protective parent to worry about Willow getting involved inappropriately with some boy, before she's old enough to take care of herself, or understand the risks. Adolescents think they're immortal and invulnerable: that's something else all the textbooks make plain. Sheila wants to encourage Willow to explore her own body through masturbation, so she isn't tempted to let someone like that rather unsavoury friend of hers - Jesse, was it? - explore it for her.
Of course, even Sheila recognises that the direct approach isn't going to work here; she would only embarrass Willow if she raised the subject with her openly. But perhaps there is another way to indicate her parental approval and encouragement? Struck by an idea, she walks over to her filing cabinet and flips through the files for her notes on the paper she wrote last year. It discussed whether the design of typical women's sex toys was a challenge to the patriarchy or whether it bought into its assumptions. But in among her research documents should be - yes! There it was: a catalogue from a shop up in San Francisco that sold vibrators by mail order.
She'll get one for Willow. She can leave it in her bedroom for her to find, so they won't have to actually talk about it if her daughter gets too embarrassed by the subject. She'd better get her some books on the subject too. Maybe there's a pamphlet or something written for teenagers, although Sheila is confident that Willow would be just as happy with an academic text on the subject. She is Sheila's daughter, after all.
Maybe she should give Willow a copy of her own paper? No, that might only confuse things. Still, she'll feel happier if she buys her something that isn't so obviously a phallic substitute; something in a vivid and shiny colour. That one there, for instance; it's a cheerful bright purple. Yes, that will do nicely.
What about batteries? Sheila understands that these devices need quite a regular supply. Should she increase Willow's allowance to pay for them? No, it would probably be cheaper to buy economy packs of them as part of the family shopping. She could keep them in the kitchen cupboard, let Willow take them as she needed them, and keep an eye on when to stock up again. Or maybe you can get rechargeable batteries for a vibrator? Sheila isn't sure if they'd have the right voltage, or whatever you call it. Ira will know; technical things are more in his line of knowledge. She'll discuss it with him.
Sheila hums to herself as she clips out the coupon in the back of the catalogue and writes down her order details. She's doing her job as a proud and loving parent, and it makes her content.