This is a post for mom’s of girls. It might get gross, I will try to refrain from gross pictures, but it can also be for those single dads out there of little girls (btw, total props to you for being a single dad!!)
We all know, I have a beautiful daughter, Charity.
Anyways, before I get into the nitty gritty, I am going to give a little background.
I grew up, until I was 12 or 13 with just my dad and older brother. 5 to 6 years, really. It was awesome. Sort of. We always hung out with my uncle and male cousin, also. My aunt would also be around, but she worked 4(?) nights a week so it was just me and a bunch of dudes for the most part. Yes, I am sometimes more like a guy, but I do have a girly side.
What does this have to do with my daughter? Good question. My mom, during this time and throughout my teenage years wasn’t really around and was, kinda sucky. So, my grandma (with dad’s permission) bought me my first bra. I was in need of it. I didn’t have someone around all the time to ask how to use a curling iron, what make up was best for my skin tone/eyes/etc., and I sure as hell didn’t get the talk. Sure, we had Human Growth and Development, but there really wasn’t a mom around to tell me what to do or what was going on. After all, my dad was a guy. I am ok with all this, my dad was a wonderful father and he tried the best he could. He got married when I was 14.
So, now I have a little girl, on the verge of turning 11. She has been wearing a bra since her baby fat decided it was going to start sticking on her chest, much to the protest of my amazing husband. I also remember going bra shopping with my aunt L (different aunt from mentioned above) so I at least know how to take her shopping for bras.
Here was the kicker: Charity got her period when she was 8. Your eyes are not deceiving you, 8 years old. So, I was stumped. I needed to explain to my daughter what was going on with her. She was young and scared. So was I.
When I started my period, I was 14. A late bloomer in my house of 3 step sisters. I started on Christmas Eve. Everyone from my extended family was over. I knew the gist of what to do, after all, I learned at school. Nobody explained to me that my period would be different from everyone in my house. Since we weren’t blood relatives, nobody knew I would get cramps that would shoot down both my legs. Even the school didn’t prepare me for that. Nobody talked to me.
Except when Charity started so early and had to get the quick run down of you are not dying, this is normal she didn’t have the benefit of the school having taught her something. She was clueless and I was helpless to explain, since nobody explained it to me.
I did what anyone would do: Google & call on my BFF who had a mom around and could help me. BFF and I have known each other almost 16 years now, and she was an honorary aunt. She was familiar and comfortable. We sat Charity down and explained cramps, showed her pictures of her innards (nicely drawn ones that look like drawn shark’s brains). She got the gist of it and has asked many questions. She was still young to understand things on her own, but I had to figure out a way to explain these changes, besides telling her she needed to wear a bra every single day.
We still have moments. Her cramps are just as bad as mine. She just got a jump start. She laughs when they have the girls separated from the boys to be shown videos and handed a panty liner. She thinks they are funny and wonders what the heck kind of use it is going to bring to her. She acts like its old hat, because her mom explained it all to her a few years ago.
Open and honest communication are key. I knew that I was unprepared for the barrage of questions getting ready to be rapid fired at me by an 8 year old, so I called out for help. I was never given the same open talks I have with her. Besides running to the store to buy small enough pads for a small body, they do make tween sizes, and some chocolate, I was almost clueless on how to have that conversation with my daughter.
I am thankful for my dad doing the best he could, but I am truly grateful for having a best friend who understood I was clueless on how to go about explaining this difficult time to my daughter. There is one thing I will not be doing: handing her a tampon and hoping she figures it out (it happened to me when I was 14, by my mom). Despite the fact that my daughter is completely independent and this age, she still needs her mom to explain some things. I am just glad I am here to help her navigate.