Cycling

Oh hello Thursday, welcome. Perhaps you should put on a flak jacket before coming too close though.

 

BC-085

Urgh I tell you what, the PMT I get right after having kids is some of the very worst kind I ever get. I know because I searched it on the blog and every time it seems to be worse in the 12 or so months after a baby. Hormones and all that? Β Shut up and pass me the mint twirl and no one will get hurt. WHY DIDN’T I BUY THE MINT TWIRL IN WOOLIES EARLIER TODAY?

The hormones are flying thick and fast around here and Rob is reduced to a Bruce Jenner type hide out in his office waiting till all of the girls: biggest, medium, small and extra small sort their shit out. He’s even escaped overnight to the big smoke the lucky bastard. The return to School and how very DARE WE rules and routines and not being able to do all of the things whenever you want seem to be taking their toll. The dog wee’d on the rug overnight again because apparently when it’s raining outside you get your paws wet when you wee and the front rug is nice and dry and soft and now stained. Again. Get a puppy they said…and on top of all of this I daresay my period is sure to arrive any minute, because what’s a crank fest WITHOUT a period?

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been getting my period for over 25 years now. 25 YEARS. I remember I was 14 when I got it and amazingly away for the weekend with just my Mum in Adelaide when it happened. I obviously had been waiting its arrival since the bad sex education videos we endured in year 6 whereby I was never able to look at Gymnastics equipment quite in the same way without seeing an illustration of a male erection and illustrations of vas defers and the like. I had an older sister and lots of friends who had their periods but I was still kind of left to my own devices, handed some pads and then further down the track a packet of Tampex (never was able to cope with those applicators even the word makes my skin crawl APPLICATOR) looking at those illustrations again of women with their foot up on the bath and thinking WHAT ON EARTH IS SHE DOING HOW DOES THIS WORK?

Knowing I have all of this ahead of me and knowing that development in girls seems to be happening earlier and earlier I’d love to know how you started the education process for your daughter/s?

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How good is this cover from a Modex 1954 brochure?

Last year I was invited to a thing called a Celebration Day for Girls which I declined as I didn’t think we were quite there, but maybe we are getting closer? Who knows. I want to get this stuff right, let my girls know about the power and amazingness of female bodies and what they are capable of doing. Give them an understanding of hormones and reproductions and all of the changes that will happen to them during puberty. I just want to try my best to offer more than just an illustration in a tampon packet you know?

I’m sure there’s heaps of stuff out there and I’d love to hear from those that know so that those that don’t know have somewhere to start. I have lots of girlfriends who want to start this conversation with their daughters, but really just don’t know where to start. I don’t know where to start! Or when! From what I hear from friends periods and boobs and ALL OF THE THINGS are something that seem to be starting a whole lot sooner than when we were girls – maybe 10-12 is now the norm rather than that later time like me at 14? Maybe I am completely off the mark and in any case let’s blame the chicken hormones!

I’d love to hear from you guys, in the trenches, for those of us ready to embark on a whole new kind of parenting whether it’s close by or still a little while off yet some of the ways you tackled this topic. Β Do you have any good resources to start off with? Books? Apps? Anything!

And what was YOUR experience like when you got your first period?
Are you still surprised like me EVERY time it arrives? It’s like, oh right. Yeah. DER.
And if someone is passing through Woolies grab me a Mint twirl would you? Ta x

Comments

  1. Ah Beth as always you raise so many important and interesting questions.

    10. That’s when I got my period and I can tell that completely sucked. Not part of my plan at all. My sister is 4 years older so already had hers. My parents, god love them, decided the best approach was CELEBRATION. So we went out to dinner (as a family of five my older brother included) and we were presented with a silver bracelet. Mortifying back then. But I have to say now I can sort of see the sense. My mum’s approach was all about celebrating our bodies. Not ever ever complaining about them. Being proud of them and not hiding. Which meant she was never on diet. She and my dad were not afraid to go nude. She never complained about weight, flabby arms or the like. And 29 years later my sister and I both have a very healthy relationship with our bodies. Go figure.

    As for me now. I called it Hangry. Once a month I want to kill everyone and eat everything. I have found vitamin B and evening primrose oil every day helps. That and wine and coffee and chocolate and bad TV.

  2. My girls are in their 20’s now and it’s all a bit of a blur but like most of my parenting I think I just muddled through without much of a plan. It seemed to work out because they’ve turned out pretty well.

    I was 15 when I started my period and wasn’t prepared by my mother at all ( you can see I come from a long line of people who fail to prepare). It was in the middle of the school day and so I went to matron and told her, and she just thought I meant I had started my period for that month, not that it was my first period ever. When I managed to explain she loudly told me that I was very very late starting, as if it was my fault. This was in a sick bay full of teenage girls, one of whom had a history of not being very empathic. 35 years on, I still remember the humiliation.

  3. http://blogs.abc.net.au/nsw/2015/07/where-do-babies-come-from-in-2015-.html K

    http://www.fem21.com.au/

    Hi Beth
    2 links to offer help. Other than that I’m dreading It all too! 10 year old son & 8 year old daughter here! Denial!
    The first link is for a great book from Big W and more stores – first intro to where do babies come from – puberty & hair growth & sex stuff with cool pics and then baby stuff pregnant etc , not girls monthlies specifically though but I and others recommend this book.
    Secondly for YOU – poor thing / a hormone balancing powder made by a Gold Coast naturopath available from her online store – amazing results for many- balancing oestrogen – take for 3 months daily and see it help your moods & cravings & pain – you shouldn’t suffer PMS so badly. Good luck, Theresa

  4. Lisa Mckenzie says

    Mine period came at 12 but my daughters was 11,my niece 10 idk why they all vary or why some girls get them so early but I’d start talking about your period now,let the girls know that if you want to have babies,you need to have pmt,bleeding and boobies.I just talked about it naturally as a part of everyday life.The girls will then know what is going to happen to their bodies in the future…a book might be a good idea too,good luck Beth Xx

  5. Phillipa Palmer says

    Hi Beth, As one girl among five boys it was a little difficult for me and for my Mother, but we muddled through. I always said when I had girls that I would treat it the best I could and I think I did in that I involved their Father in the whole process. By doing this they were quite comfortable in telling their Dad when they had their periods if there was a problem, they used it well to ring him from school (he was closer than I) and say can you come and get me I have my periods!!! He handled it all well considering he didn’t have sisters. I suffered badly with periods my whole life and now my eldest daughter has a similar problem unfortunately. Just handle it as it comes along. Good luck; will prick up a twirl for when I see you!!!!

  6. I am always very surprised when a period decides to happen. My body decided I had big enough health issues to deal with so wouldn’t really bother. I had my first period at 15. I was staying at my great aunts house & the best she could rustle up was an old tea towel while she rang my mum to deliver supplies πŸ™‚ I can then count on one hand the amount of times I had very light, brief spotting until I was in my late 30’s & a new medication slightly increased my oxygen saturation & made me put on 5kg ( very much needed) & my body decide it was all systems go. It was a rude shock I can tell you. It has always been unpredictable but now in my late 40’s it has gone totally wild. It swings from nothing happening to a need to hand out flotation devices to those nearby. As for PMT my poor husband doesn’t know what’s happened after so many years of nothing. I either want to strangle everyone or burst into tears over nothing, it is dangerous to rattle my cage πŸ˜‰
    I can’t exactly remember how I started discussions with my now 13 year old but whatever it was it must have been ok because she talks very openly with me. She hasn’t started yet but is showing signs

  7. I was 12. Being the youngest and having 3 older brothers I think I found out on the day, although I can recall the humiliating sex ed class at school where we all hid behind our books snickering till the time passed. Mum sent me off with the ‘barbie mattresses’ in a brown paper bag and that was it really. I must admit having only boys in our house seems to be a lot less complicated in that department, although they’re not 16 yet…. Come see me in a few years !
    PS: I agree those tampax applicators scared the bejeezus out of me too … eeek!

  8. 10….my sister who is two years older got hers the week before. My poor father!!!!
    Mine was dreadful from day dot with pain beyond words. I went nowhere without a emergency supply of naprogesic and a hot pack. My dad was wonderful and had tablets stashed in his wallet in case mum or I forgot. At 17 my mum took me to a GP who fobbed me off then onto a gynacologist which was terrifying but he promptly diagnosed and started to treat Endometriosis and Polycystic ovaries. If I have children i’d like a boy just so I don’t pass on that experience to a daughter.
    Get in early and be prepared I think…oh and how useless are ‘applicators’!

  9. Ah Beth, my daughter is the same age as your Daisy (I think). I was a late starter – 14. My sisters both got their periods a bit earlier. My darling Dad had 3 girls and Mum to deal with, we used to have an enormous box of tampons in the upstairs bathroom at all times! My little 9 year old seems to be a long way off boobs and pubes but I gave her a copy of Kaz Cookes “The Girl Book” for her birthday. Last year the year 6 girls at her school were mainly well and truly littlw women, so I thought she may be interested to have a read. Firstly she said “This is for older girls” but she seems to dip into it. We had “What’s Happening to me?” the companion book to “Where Did I Come From?’ as kids – they seemed to work. I remember getting my period and being relieved really that it was happening at long last.
    As for periods – it seems that menopause won’t be happening here for some time. Still going strong, and still a surprise each month – go figure? 34 years here it seems.

  10. Larissa Peters says

    My daughter is still 5 so I have no advice but love reading all of the comments here.

    However when it comes to PMT I could win a gold medal. I hear that one teaspoon of magnesium powder mixed in water every day and up it to two teaspoons for the week of PMT works wonders. I’m going to try it out after my next health food store visit.

  11. Being a on a farm, my kids all have the basics of reproduction down fairly well. I have filled in the blanks as they come up. When asked a question, I answer it. A few weeks ago while driving home from swimming (20km away) my 5 year old son was asking about castrating bulls. I explained that it was cutting off the testicles of the bull so he can’t mate. He asked if they did that to people, and I assured him we didn’t. His response: “good, because otherwise I won’t be able to mate when I’m a grown up”. I agreed that this was a good thing. His next sentence: “You and Dad have mated! Three times!” My eleven year old and I just cracked up.
    In the same vein, explaining pig cycles for conception, is how our girls first understood about menstrual cycles..

  12. Mint twirl?! Is that really a thing?! Must go investigate…

    I was 11 when I got my first period and so were many of my classmates, I living in England and didn’t move to Oz until I was 14. Then my new Australian friends started getting their periods at around 14/15 so it was much later than my peer group in the UK.

  13. I have an 11 year old and a 9 year old. Last year my 11 year old missed out on the ‘talk ‘ at her local catholic school but I was supplied with information, she was sick in hospital….. I myself have found a great little book called Secret Girls Business, I find its very informative but not too much info on the sex side of things, its more about body changes etc …. Its write by Rose Stewart and it has been a great little book for my daughter to start with. I believe there is a boys one and an older one called More secret girls business.

  14. I got my period when I was 12. On one of my first days of high school. Enough said.
    I had ever since then until last year (34ish years!) suffered with period pain AND pms. My period stopped at some point in the middle of last year…hello menopause! BUT do you want to know the cruellest joke of all?? The period pain has gone but I still get pms! And don’t get me started on the hot flushes. I can’t even.
    Being a girl sux balls sometimes but you’ve just got to roll with it and try and avoid eating ALL of the chocolate.
    I feel you. I really do.

  15. Do you know what? I am actually relieved every time I see my periods these days because guess what? Im not pregnant!!! Even though my husband had the snip when baby no.4 was 10 days old I’m still worried I’ll be that woman you see on the front cover on Woman’s Day telling how surprised we were to be pregnant at 40 with TWINS 5 years after my husband had a vasectomy!!

    And mine are in the way too. I can feel it in my stabby mood.

  16. I was 13 and daughter was 13 too. Gave her both pads and tampons that were in her school bag for a good couple of years before needing (minis – remember those? Now a super struggles to contain the flow!!) and Kaz Cooke’s Women’s Stuff book. I HATED my mum talking to me about this stuff and didn’t want to repeat the awkies. She read the book – it’s funny – just like the Up the Duff one. I was and am always open to questions from her but I didn’t want to be that mum asking all the questions and have her clam up on me.

  17. My advice would be to get in early and talk about it before it gets to the embarrassing reality stage. If you talk about things in a matter of fact way kids don’t pick up on the awkward factor. The more you talk about it before it happens the more comfortable they will be when it actually does happen.

  18. Jenny McMahon says

    Look up “Secret Girls’ Business” (by Fay Angelo) website – or can sometimes get books in shelves, great little series of picture books by Aust. educator, done in friendly and funny way, warts and all but reassuring and simple. Different stages in the books, i think. Another pretty good one is “What’s Happening to Me? (Usborne)Then can move on to Kaz Cook’s girls’ stuff, etc. I would toss my eldest a book sometimes, to her disgust, “Eww, I’m not reading that stuff!!!” (umm..it’s going to happen, no use ignoring it…), and I would address things as she asked, or casually mention things, pop supplies in her drawer, etc, approach bit by bit… pads are the go first! Has been a few years’ process, simple at first then adding along the way as she has notice/heard about things. Resistance at certain points (teens get all ‘thingy’ about it all). Made up a little “period kit” zip pouch (pad, spare undies, little wipes…)for her in later primary/early secondary with a few ‘essentials” (“I’m not having THAT in my bag ” me: “better that than having nothing and having to ask a teacher for something, don’t you think?” She quietly popped it in her bag the next day…
    She is 16 now, been ‘cycling” for 2 years. Knows tampons are available (I said “no hurry for those”, “later on if you want), but her and her friends not keen yet and happy with pads, which is better at their age (safer, less stress, and, boy, are they much improved from when I was a teen- they were bulky, furry, SCENTED sometimes- fantastic (not) on those hot days when Everyone could then Smell when someone was wearing one! So take it casually and easy, and supplement with those little books, (whilst you have a drink) and it will all happen…
    Happy cycling to you and your girls! (it is said that all the females in a house will end up on same cycle, which I have found trueish over the years), so all over in one nasty week! πŸ™‚
    Jen

  19. Rowena / Vintagenobility says

    I was 11 – and still sit here scarred at the memory; it was a Saturday, my mother had gone out for the day: so I was stuck with my father and brother(14) who needed dad to drive him to the city to the footy (he was a FirstAid cadet – got to go each week and see the games for free!)- somewhere on the journey towards the MCG I had cramping and by the time me n dad got home a little gush of Flo as I hopped out of car confirmed my fear and so I embarassedly rushed inside to my room where I hid out curled into a cramped up ball till my mother arrived home! I do remember my mother telling me I’d probably go through Menopause by the age of about 40 because I started at 11! I think that was why I dreaded turning 40!?! Lol πŸ™‚
    I usually suffer cramps on the first day of my clockwork 25day cycle!
    Fast forward to my eldest and I was worried, like you, she’d start early or earlier than me…but after fearing the worst – she didn’t start till 15! So with my 11yr old I’m far more relaxed about it!
    They had the Sex Ed class at the end of grade 5 last year; and with older siblings I think it makes it easier to discuss things! I remind her that friends, cousins, aunts and even teachers, Katy Perry and all the pop starlets and actresses all go through exactly the same stuff as every other girl/woman!
    We are already having those car ride convos – where she mentions who in her class has confessed that they’ve already got theirs or whose wearing a bra now! Just joke n laugh and share your moods and feelings; and have a cheeky giggle with your girls about the ‘moods’ of others; keep the convos easygoing!

    For me, it takes about 18months before AuntFlo returns after having a baby! It’s a nice reprieve at the moment!
    Also in light of our precious ‘surprise’ of young Ruby – I now have old ladies stopping me in the supermarket cooing over Rubes and then leaning in to tell me she is the sign of my ‘Change of Life!’ Grrrrr! πŸ™
    For me; Ruby is a bit of proof that Life begins at 40!
    xxx Row.

  20. My period started just before I turned 12. I remember getting changed for swimming at primary school and having ‘dirty’ undies. I don’t recall mum talking to me or me to her about it. I think it must have been on my birthday, aunty rang to wish me a happy birthday and mum must have seen blood on the floor. (Awesome!) I don’t think she was prepared for it. I remember being embarrassed / ashamed about getting my period and lying to my friends about having gotten my period. I’ve always suffered from painful, heavy periods and used to be in fetal position, throwing up etc, missing school or work whenever they hit. I was 19 when I’d had enough and got mum to take me to the doctor to go on the pill (which was a lifesaver!). Mum said she went on the pill at 14 for the same reason. Well thanks for not suggesting it mum!!! Please don’t be like that with your daughters!

  21. I was 10. 10! Which means I’ve been getting them for nearly 23 years. Where did the years go!?

    I don’t remember Mum talking to me about it. On the day it came, I said I had cramps, she made me take my undies off, checked them and said “yep, you’ve got your period”. Still don’t feel great about that experience.

    Luckily she actually had the talk with my younger sister.

    I like the idea of the books. Avoids any awkwardness between you, and they can always ask you questions if they have any.

  22. I’m one of six girls and can remember my poor father throwing his hands in the air and saying “oh my God have you all got your period at the same time!” (poor man), my two girls come after three boys, so there has always been pretty open discussions in our house! I think that is the key, not a big “sit down and talk”, but just a general awareness and answering of questions when those things come up. My youngest has just started hers a few months after turning 14yo, I work full time, and she has always been a very private/embarrassed wee things, so our conversations over pads/tampons were via text! (and tampons the day after because she does pretty full on gymnastics and pads + leotards are just never going to work!).
    I’m (and hopefully my daughters) from a long line of easy periods/good breeders, very lucky, and so far my daughters seem to have inherited those genes, lucky them (and me!).

  23. There is a great website for all things girl related called amightygirl.com It has lots of books on lots of topics relevant to girls, including changing bodies, and it divided by ages, making it easy to find the right book for your child. My girls aren’t quite at the age yet, although having said that, from what others have said, it may only be a couple of years away. There are also now “period undies”, which are absorbent undies that you can use instead of using a pad. I think when the time comes, this may be a much easier option for my girls than having to worry about changing pads when at school. I might go and start looking at books now!

  24. Beth – I love it. Although when I was 40 I went threw the big M with no symptoms. Yes very lucky. But I do remember when I was 13 my mum gave me a book called Enjoy Being Girl. Yes and that was that…

  25. Just recently participated in a research study about talking to your kids about sexuality. Take away message? Talk early, talk often, talk about everything, the sooner the better. Positive messages about bodies, relationships, consent, sex, puberty, forming part of day to day parenting lead to kids being more empowered and confident about their bodies, relationships, consent, sex… the whole shebang.

    There’s a lovely book called “How babies are made”, and your local family planning organisation will have some great resources that you should be able to look at/purchase online if you want books or pamphlets.

    I got “Where did I come from” and a very cursory “talk” from my mother when I was in late primary school, and a session from the Family Planning clinic at school. Needless to say I was pretty clueless when my period arrived. I think that has probably made me more determined to ensure both my kids know *everything*.

  26. Hi Beth, I’ve got a girl who’s 11..so we’re getting closer. On the advice of other friends who had girls a few years older (i have a son who is almost 14) I puchased secret girls business (& also secret boys business for the 14yr old & in readiness for the 7yr old). They are great! Simple, easy & enough info without there being an overload. I had a bit of a chat, gave them the books to look through & then when they were ready, had a follow up chat. My favorite comment was when my daughter said “i didn’t realise periods only lasted 5-7 days”. She’d thought it was something once you started, it never stopped!!! Think i was around 13/14 when i got my period, so am hoping i still have a little bit of time before my daughter gets hers!

  27. Jose Mcbride says

    We are a family of four. Mum dad and two girls 7&8. We have not had “the talk” however we talk openly and about our bodies and the amazing things that they are capable of whenever it comes up. We tell our kids (much to their disgust) that sex is way to not just for making babies but wait for it….done for enjoyment between two people that love each other. We always started out using correct terminology for body parts not just penis and vaginas but also Fallopian tubes, testicals, birth canal, labia etc.
    I never want my girls to feel ashamed about getting their periods. It’s a normal part of life for us all….often really shitty but normal.
    While I have never read Secret Women’s Business – I can’t help but feel a bit awkward with the title. It shouldn’t be a secret – we shouldn’t have to hide these details from our brothers, partners or male friends. It’s just a fact of life.

    • I agree with the title too – we have always used the correct names for body parts and are very open (and a nude family) so hopefully that puts us in a good place. Thanks Jose.

  28. My eldest girl is 10 and I think things are just starting to happen. Nothing major but I sense some changes and some questions. I have a book for her called The Care and Keeping of You #1 (the body book for younger girls) from the American Girl series. It is gentle but practical in the explanation of things. She’s read some parts and we are about to move on to other things. It talks about the physical stuff but also nutrition, health, happiness….’the whole you’ etc which I quite like. There is a sequel for older girls which is more in depth. Look on book depository to order. Sheesh, the period talk is looming next!!

    • My daughter loves these books. She got the younger one when she was 8/9 and the older girl one when she turned 10. She (and I) love that they are about the care of all of you so they put periods etc in the context of lots of changes that start happening. They even cover dome of the emotional stuff. I have just bought her some panty liners as she’s just starting to get a bit of discharge. She goes back to the book from time to time and it has led to many discussions between us. She feels very happy asking me questions (regularly). It also meant that when they had the puberty talk (last year) at school she was already completely comfortable with it all. Apparently this year (year 6) they’re having the “sex” talk ( we’ve already chatted at home). We’ve now had many chats about many things because she is curious and it’s very relaxed and easy.

      I think I was around 11/12 when I got my period. I’ve been on the pill a great deal of my adult life so I’ve never had any issues! Just finally stopping now so it will be interesting to see whether I turn to a screaming pms banshee!

    • Thanks so much for the tip – have just got it online.

  29. Oh shit, this went right off my parenting radar! I’m going to get my girls copies from the series recommend by the above reader (great suggestion!!). I now have 11 & 5 yr old girls and I assumed (quite incorrectly) that I had plenty of time up my sleeve, drawing from my own experience as I was near 14 when I first noticed development. They’re both skinny minnies too, but they should know about what they’re in for I suppose. I had lots of older girl cousins growing up and was up with what was going to happen. I recall Mum declaring upon finding out -(embarrassingly I might add) “Oh my baby girl is a WOMAN!! We should celebrate!!” Oh god, that is the last thing a teenager wants her Mum to rabbit on about to her friends and relatives! Ah good times…

  30. I got mine at 12 and promptly spent the afternoon playing with my dolls house in rebellion.
    I suffered from bad cramps and fainting until I went on the pill. Plus I had an aversion to school toilets so would wear three pads to school! I heard in later years that once my mum told my auntie that if she saw me sitting three feet above the couch she would know I had my period. ?

    My daughter is 19 and we got through it pretty easily. I was always open with her as to what goes on and her Dad has no problem with any of that stuff. We didn’t have a period party but think that Pandora should make a tampon charm to help mark the occasion…….

    The best piece of advice I got about all the puberty stuff was just to answer your kids’ questions as they came up. That way you only give tham as much info as they can handle. Also, be open and truthful, not embarrassed.

    They will always ask their friends and the Internet too. So there is a big element of trust and openness that needs to be there. But if you have built that from when they are little things should be fine.

    • We’ve always been very open about anything to do with bodies so hopefully if the question is asked we can tackle it then in the same way.

  31. Ha ha ha ha, so true Beth… I always think “gee I need some PMT tablets” then I think… shit maybe this is just me and there are no pills for “Bitch”… Sorry can’t help with preparing for period talk because THANKFULLY i have 3 boys… Yay! I was 14 too – that big surfboard that Mum gave me to cart around in my school bag – is there anything more disgusting. I was a fan of the Tampax – and you should give your girls one – so much easier to use when they start than the other little white mice. Since I had my tubes tied and eventually trusted said tying and went off the pill my period has been non existent, but think it is making a gradual comeback. Good luck and would someone get Beth the mint twirl please!

  32. I was 12 when I got mine. My mother had had the talk when I was about 9. She showed me where her pads were and how to use them. I had horrible cramping and fainting for years, and was saved by the Pill.

    I don’t have kids but that hasn’t stopped my friends’ daughters (and sons) asking me all kinds of things. I suppose I have come across fairly non-judgemental and try to answer every question coming my way. And if I don’t know then I tell them so and we try to figure it out together. I don’t mind them using the internet, but stress that some sources are going to give skewed picture of reality.

    One question I got recently was using a silicone menstrual cup instead of a pad or tampon during one’s period. I use one myself and would never go back to either a pad or tampon. These silicone cups are being distributed in India and Africa to all age groups and although they might be tricky to use at first, it’s not all that difficult. I figured when the girl starts thinking about using a tampon then a menstrual cup is a viable alternative (environment-friendly, too) and no applicator required. But otoh, starting earlier might be the way to go. Has anyone here used a silicone menstrual cup?

  33. I have a 12 year old girl and an 11 year old girl (and a 14 year old boy). We have always been fairly open about sex, periods, nudity etc and it seems to have worked to our advantage. We all shared the one bathroom for 12 years so tampax were seen and questions were asked, when they were younger I deflected, then they got sex education at school (google Interrelate) and so when asked about things like tampax i gave them the “I use them when I have my period, I’ll explain it to you one day”. I got wind of girls in school taking there periods around age 10 so I thought I’d better talk to Miss 12 (back then she was 10) we did the whole lets go out for a milkshake thing, found somewhere quiet to drink them (park) and we just chatted, do you know what periods are (yes) do you understand them (not quite) that led to the whole why women have them talk blah blah blah…. a few months later I noticed the mood swings starting so I pulled her aside (read locked us in the bedroom together) and we played with pads, we had undies and stuck them on etc, etc, it was all very silly and although she was a little embarrassed she got it without too much worry. We talked about tampons and how they were an option for her for later on down the track when she was more comfortable, we stuck them in a glass of water to see how it worked, we did look at the instructions on the pack and I got a lot of screwed up face and a ‘no way I’m never using them’ comment, which I told her was fine, she didn’t have to use them. Then when she was 11 the day arrived. I was in the bathroom getting ready to go to an appointment and she said to me “Mum I think I’ve took my period” I instantly said “How” (without thinking) and she stuck her undies right in front of my face and said “BECAUSE OF THIS”. You know what – she was fine, totally in control. I got her pads, I tucked her up in bed and i ran out the door to my appointment (with a million instructions for Dad to do until I got back). Meanwhile I’m in the car calling anyone in my family that will listen to me and hyperventilating about how my baby has taken her period and the poor soul and how am I going to cope blah blah blah… [drama queen]. I got home and she was fine, sore tummy (panandol) and a hug and she was fine, has been ever since. She gets annoyed if she has them and we plan to go to the beach but she just takes it in her stride. Sorry this is so long… Now Miss 11 anxiously asks me when she will get hers – she’s not as mature as the other one, so I don’t see such an easy road, but she has a very cool big sister to help her.

    • Sounds like you have it all sorted! Daisy is yet to even know it’s a thing I think?! Well she hasn’t asked…yet. Thanks for the tips!

  34. Oh My God! How good are the mint Twirls???? Agree with Nikki above, the Kaz Cooke book Girls Stuff answers all the questions they really want to ask but are too embarrassed to. With my girls (17, 15, 13) I just let them know they can ask me anything they want to, but mostly we just deal with the practical stuff – have you got enough pads etc. As a very excellent bonus, when they are being truly revolting, make sure you ask them if they need any in a very loud voice in front of their friends or in the middle of the supermarket. Doesn’t solve any problems, but it makes me feel better.

  35. When my niece was 9 I gave her a copy of Kaz Cookes Womens Stuff. Her mum started off reading page 1 and I dance/acted out the pictures, so all 3 of us girls were just about wetting our pants laughing. We said she was not able to read the sections on sex until she was 30 and definitely not able to share it with her friends at school unless their mums said it was ok (it stayed under her bed, but us 40+ year old girls kept pulling it out to read it). The section on boyfriends is awesome.

    I also gave her a wee talk about periods and gave her a toilet bag with some tampons and pads and also skin wash, acne cream, deodorant, lip gloss, nail polish and mascara. All good girl things We talked about her being able to come and talk to us anytime, and that if she had more questions about anything to come and see us.

    • Love this – just got the girls version of that book which I’m looking forward to. I can just see you and your sister doing this (well not really as I have never seen you) but it sounds like something we would do!

  36. I got mine when I was about 12 from memory and I wasn’t too happy about it. I don’t remember an especially warm reception from my mum either. Tampons were a no-no for a long while (though I read the instructions and tried to work out what on earth was happening). I got a Mirena IUD put in about 8 years ago and haven’t had a period since. Could. Not. Be. Happier. Never liked them, no cause for celebration, just painful in every way. However, does mean that I never have an excuse for being in a bad mood or eating everything in sight!

  37. 12 years, at the movies wearing yellow Esprit jeans! Thankfully Mum was with me &’walked behind me all the way to the car. That night was swimming club & I wasn’t allowed to miss it as “everyone has seen you looking healthy today, so you can’t be sick. ” It was an early and perhaps confronting way to start with tampons, but it means I’ve never had to miss out on anything due to periods since. My daughter is 10, and I think she will hit puberty at the same time as her older brother. I’m stocking up on wine now.

  38. Google “new moon magazine”. Think it’s right up your alley! I remember reading something like it when I was about 10 or 11 and loving it.
    My period started when we were at a Christening. I was so embarassed! I shoved basically a whole toilet roll of toilet paper in my undies and hoped for the best.

  39. Hi Beth, sorry I’m late coming in with my comment but I have an 11 year daughter who has been going through body changes and raging hormones. Because she is so young I wanted to keep information I gave to her age relevant and not overwhelm her as she is quite anxious. Anyhoo I found a brilliant Facebook page called “A Mighty Girl” which has so much information to help with raising our gorgeous girls. One of the books they recommend is called “The Care of Keeping You” which I purchased from The Book Depository. This book is brilliant, age related and my daughter thought it was great.

  40. Hi Beth. Read this blog post today. Was sitting with my kids this evening watching Operation Ouch and guess what? It was all about puberty and hormones. Very well done and age appropriate (i have a 6yo girl and 9yo boy). Might be worth checking out.

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