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Big Girl is eight. She looks it. Tall, yes, but skinny and straight and flat as a board. Not a curve in sight. Some of her friends, however, may be eight, but they are eight going on 17. When I look at them I see little girls with hair under their arms (they make fun of each other about this — that’s how I know) who also need to wear bras. I will not take time here to rant or complain about this sad fact. (You can read previous posts where I rage on about BPA and hormones from cow’s milk causing premature puberty. Not to mention obesity.) I will say this, though: The entire situation makes me extremely sad.

Last night my husband and I spent some time discussing when I needed to have “the talk” with Big Girl. My husband pointed out that, since her friends and classmates are developing, the talk should probably come sooner rather than later. I am completely torn. I want to provide her with good information, but I also want to avoid scaring her. And I want her to be a kid for as long as she can be. My kid is a worrier. As soon as I tell her that someday she will bleed once a month…well, she won’t just take the information in and file it for future use. She’ll ruminate and worry about it. Then again one of my best friends was nine when she got her period. Still, I was two months shy of 13. She could have a similar experience. Heck, I would be thrilled if she could postpone it until she was 14 or 15. (It could happen. One of my friends was almost 16 when she got hers.)

After weighing all the pros and cons we decided to wait until she is in fifth grade, the doctor says she’s going into puberty, or she starts asking questions — whichever comes first. Some people will disagree with me. I know that, but in this case I hope my delay is really a gift of time — time to be a kid for just a little while longer.

5 Responses to “I Don’t Want to Have “The Talk””

  1. susan delg says:

    Oh my, “The Talk!” I was put on the spot one day around 18 months ago when while looking through one of my magazines J asked me “What does this mean Mommy? Have a happy period?” After a deep inhale and the internal “oh shit!” I decided it was as good a time as any to drop the “P” bomb. J was grossed out, but accepted it. Now that she’s getting a little closer to the time when it will be happening, and changes are starting to happen with her body, she’s more worried about it than she was when we first talked. But, yes, now is the time, 4th graders will be going through all kinds of changes, and there’s probably more than a handful of them that will get their periods in 4th grade, and yes, the girls will be talking about it. It’s better that K hears it from you than from one of her friends, so don’t wait too long. Or, leave your Self/Rachel Ray/Women’s Day open to the appropriate page, and wait for the question.

  2. Rochelle says:

    My family tends to hit puberty early and I struggled with how to have this discussion with a very young girl, when all the info out there is geared to teens. I discovered a book called “Hair in Funny Places” by Babette Cole, it’s geared to younger girls and my daughter and I read it together, then I encouraged her to re-read it on her own and come to me with any questions. It was a terrific and easy way to deal with a potentially difficult subject, and entirely age-appropriate for a younger girl (she was then barely 9 and hit puberty just a year later).

  3. Jessica Lane says:

    Thank you so much for this post, helps me know I’m not alone. My daughter turned 8 this past May. She is like your daughter – slender, tall, healthy. She loves horses and puppies and is innocent, loves to go berry picking with her Mom and help with dinner and play with her sister. The thought of “the talk” scares me so much. It’s too early but yes, I realize so many others are drinking from BPA filled containers and non organic dairy products (along with whatever else we are giving them in the environment!) SOB. I’m waiting – but I know I won’t be able to wait too long and also, I don’t want her to hear it from friends. I was mortified when the 2nd graders in our little New England school were decorating their snowman cookies last Winter and one shouted “this one has it’s period!” All the girls giggled, my daughter – nervously giggled along. I was dying inside. This other girl has older sisters but please, where are the parents to remind them to have a “filter!”? Ugh. Thank you though – your thoughts have helped me!

  4. Shannon says:

    Oh, I feel your pain. My husband and I have have this exact same discussion, and fear the same things you do. My daughter is a worrier as well, and some of the information will just eat her alive for a long time. I have talked to a few people about it, and they said just spill it now, because you know she will hear about it from her friends. But she is still my little girl. I know she is 9, but I want to keep her small and innocent for as long as possible.

    She mentioned one time to me in passing that she knew what sex was. OMG, my husband and I almost died, how does she know. So after the little ones went upstairs, I asked her what she thought sex was. She told me it was when a boy and girl kissed with their tongues. I was bad, said yep, and told her to go play. Thinking back , that was wrong. I can see her going to school and saying, I saw my mommy and daddy having sex on the couch, or while making dinner last night. So I know that I need to at least correct that problem, but I just wasn’t ready for it at that time.
    Glad I’m not alone. :)

  5. dev says:

    My kids are 8 years old. They were coming up with some very strange usage possiblities for the funny long things (tampons) and diaper things (pads) in the cabinet. This had been going on for about a year. When you get 3 kids all the same age in a room together, who are way more comfortable with each other than they would be with a friend or other relative, it is amazing what they will discuss! I finally decided to have the “P” talk with my girls because they have already begun to grow pubic hair. One of them specifically. I didn’t expect this to happen so soon. We have always been an all natural and organic family. All organic dairy. We use glassware and Kleen Kanteens, so I can’t say it’s overexposure, because I have always been “that nutty mom” who takes her pyrex glassware for leftovers and is so strict about what food her kids can have. I thought I was protecting them from this early puberty trend. The big day still has yet to come for my girls, but some of the mood swings that this particular little girl has been getting, along with her hairy developments, I thought it better safe than sorry to have the talk. My kids were not a bit uncomfortable with the topic, and have since let it go, but boy did they have a lot of questions when it came to that discussion. I feel good about it. We discussed why it happens.. the basic concept of sperm and egg. Thank goodness mommy ended up having IVF treatment because I could defer to that as one way babies are made. They mentioned that they wanted to go to the doctor to have babies when they were 30 years old. I slipped in, that there were other ways to have babies, but that we would discuss those another time.

    When it came down to it, I didn’t want it to come as a surprise and be shocked. I ended the discussion with telling them that the reason I was telling them, was because some Mom’s don’t, and then their kids think something horrible is happening to them when it comes suddenly. I told them that I wanted them to be prepared. We even got out a pad, and put some water on it, so they could see how they worked. I told them I would explain the other items to them when they were old enough to use them. They felt like they were let in on some big secret at that point, so it took the ‘scary’ out of the topic.

    Just my story.

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