Introducing the subject of menstruation to little girls - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 03-03-2002, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd, alnost 4, recently saw a pad and a tampon and asked about it. They were my old "gear" from pre-pregnancies with dds. For the few periods I have had while tandem-nursing, I simply used prefold diapers. That works for a SAHM! Will look into finessing it later.

ANyway, I have not hidden blooded diapers and dh makes sweet fun of me wearing a diaper, we are all laid back about that.

So when she asked about a tampon, I said "This is something older girls and women like mommy use sometimes." She probed further, I said -- women have a special time every month, ya know like me putting your baby's old diaper in my underwear on some days. That was it.

I wanted to start early, be very matter-of-fact and easy about it. Not to make this "God forbid you mention" or a super-duper (sp!) issue it was in the household where I grew up. Am I overdoing it, too young? DO not think so.

Eager to hear about how others are being creative about this issue.
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#2 of 16 Old 03-03-2002, 10:36 AM
 
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dd is 4 and has asked about the pads and my soaking pot (I use hemp pads). I told her it's mommys moon cycle. Every month mommy's body makes an egg and if it does not grow into a baby, then the blood gently flushes it away. I told her it dosn't hurt mommy and its very normal, like when my body made milky for her. She asked a lot of questions and I've always beleived in ansering ALL questions simply. I don't offer any more information than what is asked for.

When ds (now 7) was 5 his questions finally evolved to asking how the egg get's fertalized with daddy's sperm. I was then able to share this story with him and it was so wonderful! He learned the facts straight and honest from his parents. He was able to aske questions and now 2 yrs. later he barely mentions it, but carries the knowledge with him.

I know it can be hard sometimes to know what to say. Just listen to your heart and answer them with honesty and gentleness.

Thank you for starting this thread. This is a great topic and I look forward to hearing what others have to say.
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#3 of 16 Old 03-03-2002, 06:48 PM
 
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I've posted this in the past, so bear with me , those of tyou who have heard it already...
I got my period bak very early considering how exclusively breastfed DD was (darn!) and privacy in the bathroom is not accepted by my Velcro child. As long as I can remember, we've talked about mommy's mesnes and moontime, and I have told her that someday she too will have a moontime... (which she thinks is cool because she's got this "thing" about the moon. I think she thinks she's Artemis, the moon goddess)
At first, there were no questions about this. But in the past year she has asked for more specific info, like why does it look like blood and does it hurt, etc. She loves her birth story and knows babies grow inside their mommas in the womb. Well, I tell her that every month I lay an egg (like a chicken, which makes her laugh) and like a chicken, I like to lay my egg in a soft nest. So God (we're a pretty God-talking family, but one could substitute nature) has made my body so that every month I "build" a nest. But since it's inside my body and not up in a tree, my body uses the materials on hand: blood and tissues, whatever... Then, if the egg isn't going to grow into a baby, the nest falls apart and comes out through my vagina, just like the baby would if it DID become a baby.
God, I wish my mom had told me this so I wouldn't have been convinced I was dying the day I got my first period!
Of course, one of these months, she's gonna ask about the daddy's role. I'm still working on that talk
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#4 of 16 Old 03-03-2002, 09:17 PM
 
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Darlindeliasmom, that nest analogy is great! Dd1 knows all about it - privacy in our house just doesn't happen when you answer to "Mom"! We were in the car one day, on our way home from skating when she said "but Mom, how does the seed get to the egg?". Totally out of the blue! I told her that the daddy puts his penis in the mommy's vagina and the seed comes out and goes to the uterus where it meets the egg which then grows into a baby. Her reaction was basically "yuck, you do that?!?!?" I guess I need to work a little on explaining the love aspect of sex!
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#5 of 16 Old 03-03-2002, 11:41 PM
 
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darlindeliasmom, that is such a cool way to explain it! I love the nest and will probubly use that next time the topic comes up.

Irishmommy, you maked me laugh! When ds started asking I explained the egg. When he asked how it started to grow, I told him about sperm from dad. It was actually a year before he asked how the sperm got to the egg I guess they only ask what they want to know when they're ready.

One evening we were out driving and he asked the question. How did dad get his sperm into me. We pulled into the parking lot of a park and I told him it was a very special story and asked if he was reallly ready to hear it. He said yes, so I told him. He looked me in the eye and said "no mom, really". I told him that was it and he threw back his head and started laughing.

Then we talked about it. He said it sounded gross and that he'd only do that with me (actually, very sweet). So I explained why we only do that with our partner, not our children. We had such a wonderful talk and we grew even closer in our relationship.

Since then our communication has been very open. He feels very comfortable comming to me and his father with questions. I have to admit it was strange telling him the facts, but it all seemed so natural and it flowed beautifully.
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#6 of 16 Old 03-04-2002, 04:26 AM
 
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I started talking to my daughter about sex when she was six months old. IT WAS SO AWKWARD! But, I figured, it is better than I feel wierd about it then, than that I wait until she is 13 and turn red in the face.

I started so early because my best friend called me in tears and asked if she could come over to see me. I said of course, and asked why, and she told her her teenage daughter was pregnant. So, for the whole 30 minutes that my friend took to get to my house, my leeetle baby heard it all.

We now talk very matter of factly about everything. She is now 4. We have alot of children's books-you'll be surprised how many there are in print. All kinds of slants on how to talk to kids about sex. Some are really cute.

So, it is never too early. The earlier you do it and the more often you do it (as long as they are asking questions or as it comes up in everyday life), the better your chances that your child will come to you for information or advice when it is needed. I didn't want to do what my mom did: one 20 minute conversation in my fist 18 years of life! Geez.

My dd doesn't think the subject is gross or wierd. It is just part of life.
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#7 of 16 Old 03-04-2002, 04:41 AM
 
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There isn't much privacy in our house when it comes to using the toilet, so my girls (4 and 6) have always seen me change pads, seen the blood in the toilet, etc. They go through phases with questions. They haven't asked anything for awhile. When they asked why initially, I told them about the egg and if it doesn't become a baby then it is washed out with the blood, etc. (in a bit more detail, though). They've never asked about dad's role and I haven't offered although I'm sure it won't be long until they ask more specific questions. My 4 yr old thinks about these things a lot and will come out with a question totally out of the blue. When we were on the bus the other day, she asked me why it was only mommies that had blood come of their bottoms and not daddies. I think it's fun to explain these things. Maybe because I was never told ANYTHING by my parents and it's really nice to just discuss it so matter of factly without any embarassment on either of our parts.
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#8 of 16 Old 03-04-2002, 11:13 PM
 
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Last year, when my daughters were 5 and 3, I got my first order of cloth pads. It was SO SWEET to watch them looking at the different patterns and deciding which *they* would use when "we get our moon time". They also see the little pot I use to soak the pads in out on the bathroom sink. It's nice to have it just be a part of our family's life, like it is in mine, and it will be in theirs!

Mama to four great girls: 14 , 12 , 7 and 4
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#9 of 16 Old 03-05-2002, 01:08 AM
 
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I forgot to add that my dd convinced me for the first time in my life to wear tampons. I couldn't swim with her when I was on my period and that disappointed her. So one day we were reading one of these books that explained sex and menstrual cycle, etc. and she said, "Mommy, this is how you can go swimming with me. Just use these."

I tried to get out of using them because I hadn't really liked tampons when I tried them as a teenager. But she pleaded until she made me buy them then she pleaded until she made me try one. It was OK and I explained how much better it is to use pads (cloth EVEN BETTER). She understands, but still she wanted mommy to swim with her so I did it.
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#10 of 16 Old 03-05-2002, 08:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the wondrous stories!

One thing that pops up out of this - by using cloth, you reinforce the positive aspect, because there is nothing going into the trash as a reslut of the menses. I think it's very positive, not just on a symbolic level, but practically, too -- part of life, like lovinglife said.
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#11 of 16 Old 03-06-2002, 11:39 AM
 
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Where can I get cloth pads? I don't get Mothering Mag, it's probably in there. Used to get LLL's mag, not anymore. Was it in there?
Concerning my DDs...my almost five year old is very developed and has already lost her first tooth, so I am mulling over how to prepare her for her "moontime" (I like that). When are little girls getting their first period these days? I actully know (unusual in a family that rarely spoke of such things) that my grandmother was 16 when she started, my mom was 13, and I was 11. So my kid might begin when she's nine? Only, with her development, maybe even earlier? And if so, my still nursing little angel is half way to her first menses? How is a momma supposed to keep up with this? My world is spinning....
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#12 of 16 Old 03-06-2002, 03:22 PM
 
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Just have to put in a vote of confidence for "The Keeper" over ANYTHING else I have ever used while menstruating. It's a reusable rubber cup worn internally. It took me about three cycles to perfect it's use (I think it also took the rubber a bit of time to get more flexible), but, even from the first cycle, I greatly decreased my use of backup pads, and can swim without worry. A truly great, environmentally friendly product! www.thekeeper.com

Lizasmom, I hear you!!!!! I am going to think about your post. and come back later to write more. At the least, know you're not the only one w. these feelings (my dh almost started to cry when our dd lost her first tooth last month. He looked at me and laughed while joking/wailing "I'm not reeeeeady")

Mama to four great girls: 14 , 12 , 7 and 4
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#13 of 16 Old 03-11-2002, 05:30 PM
 
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I don't think young girls are too young to learn about their bodies. My daughter is now nearly 8 and we've had several more "grown-up" talks about menstruation, but it's nothing foreign to her because I've always been somewhat of an open-door pee-er. She's known what tampons are since she was old enough to say it, and I think having seen that Mom does this monthly ritual, having had discussions about this happening to her, then hopefully she will not be frightened when it happens with her body (especially important since she has frequent visits with her birth father and may be away from home when her time hits).

Good luck and follow your heart!

Kiki
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#14 of 16 Old 03-12-2002, 01:21 AM
 
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Lizamom,

I have been very happy with the cloth pads I have gotten from Glad Rags (yep, it's in Mothering). www.gladrags.com. I just went to their website, and it looks like they are affiliated with The Keeper (recommended by lovinglife). You can even get organic cotton pads!
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#15 of 16 Old 03-14-2002, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so glad I started this thread and appreciate all the replies I have gotten. It's nice to see that my dd's girlfriends will be educated and at ease with their bodies.
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#16 of 16 Old 03-14-2002, 12:56 PM
 
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Nothing creative here. My daughter Jasmine has always known about periods. I am pretty open in the bathroom. It's rare that I close a door. When she saw me removing a bloody pad, she asked and I answered. As she gets older, if she wants more techical answers, I will give them to her.
I plan to be the same way with my son Jacob. He's only 1 now.
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