Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"The Talk." Seeking Motherly Advice

This one is for all the moms out there (especially the ones with girls.)

So, I was writing away the other day at my desk while my daughter and her friend were playing in her room across from my office. I could sort of hear the conversation taking place, but I was pretty much lost in what I was working on until I heard the word, "period." Okay. Period. No big deal. A period is something I use all the time. See? ... Right there. Just did a whole bunch. Did it again. And again. But, no. Unfortunately that was not the period the girls were talking about. It was the one that... Oh God.

I am cringing just writing this. I should have waited until after five so I could justify a cocktail.

Anyway, my daughter (who is eight) comes into my office with her friend and says, "An eighth grader got her period today."

I sat there speechless for a moment. Then I said, "Really?"

"Yes. What is a period?" she asked.

I looked at her friend and said, "Do you know what one is?" She nodded. Her mom had told her about it. I proceeded with, "Well, we can talk about this later." Then I asked the friend to please let me explain it to my daughter. She agreed and they went back to playing Breyer horses and I sat there unable to write another word.

Okay, so call me uptight, but I am soooooo not ready to have this conversation with her. She still plays Breyer horses, and sneaks into our bed, and loves her stuffed animals and Polly Pockets. She is not ready for me to have this conversation with me. Trust me. What she doesn't know at this point won't hurt her.

But then I think, ah--other kids are being told about "it," and probably sex, too. I am so distrubed right now. My neck is tight and my shoulders ache. On top of that my friend Mary was telling me that her neices were 9 & 10 when they got their periods. One freaked out because she didn't know what it was. Someone else told me that it's because of all the hormones our kids eat. Guess who is going organic?

It just feels so young to me. Periods suck. They just do. It sucks to even write about it. I don't want her to know that there is going to be a part of the month where life basically sucks--every month for years and years. I want to let her live in her little bubble of happiness and innocence. Is that crazy?

So we still have not had "the talk." I thought maybe she'd forgotten about it until she brought it up last night, and Dad happened to be in the room and eyed me like, "What?" I told her we'd talk about it later. I know I'm postponing the inevitable, and I realize that kids at school will be telling her if I don't. Just like the little b***** told her there was no Santa last year. I told her that kid was a liar. I think I can get one more year out of Santa. (Now there's another talk I don't want to have.) Growing up stinks.

I have one solution. My mom gave me a book when I was around 11 (That seems like a reasonable age to tackle this issue, right?) and she told me to read it and if I had questions I could ask her. I din't have questions. I was mortified. So I'm thinking that I'm a writer. I like to support other writers. My mom might have been on to something. I may go this route.

My questions Moms and even Dads (if you're not completely disturbed at this point) are: Am I crazy or isn't 8 too young to talk about these issues? Since I realize I can't escape it, what do I do? How would you, or did you, handle "the talk?" What do you think of the book idea? I can read it with her. Anyone know any good books along these lines?

Thanks for the help in advance.



Karen said...

Oh Michele,
Yikes!! Let her know about periods so she won't be scared if it happens sooner rather then later. You could still tell her about the changes her body will go thru with out getting into sex. Listen to your inner mom voice. It doesn't steer you wronge.

Michele Scott said...

Good advice. Thank You, Karen! Why do they have to grow up so fast.

Julie Hyzy said...

I have three daughters, and periods were just part of regular conversation from the time the girls were old enough to ask why I needed certain products in the bathroom. I explained that this monthly event starts for girls at about 13 and that it's just something that is part of life. No awkwardness. Just straightforward, true answers telling them "what" it is. But there's no need to get into the "why" of the period until your child is ready for that.
All three girls hit 13 right on schedule, but we'd been talking about this from the time they were 4 years old. No biggie. We left it so matter-of-fact that to them it was just something normal, like breathing. Later, when they were older -- fifth grade -- I explained the rest of it.

They're 17, 20, and 23 now and I'm happy to report that we have always had a great and open relationship, and that -- so far -- we can talk about anything, easily.

Just my two cents.

Michele Scott said...

I took your advice, Julie and you're right--no biggie. Thanks. I guess I am used to raising boys--whole 'nother ball game.