Health Humor Parenting

Dear Puberty, How Do I Explain You to My Daughter?

Dear Puberty, How Do I Explain You to My Daughter?

By Nicole Hardy of She Emerges

Three females dominate our house, which can be overwhelming for my husband at times. Our neighbor, who is also suffering consequences for procreating only girls, feels the need to offer up parenting wisdom every time he stops by for a beer. His favorite piece of advice: “Wait ‘til they all have their period at the same time.”

I took for granted real menses would one day arrive. I feel like my 3-year-old already has her period 24/7. She is constantly tired, thirsty, has a belly ache, gets pissed off at the drop of a hat, cries for no reason, and loves chocolate — it makes everything in her world better. 

I thought I had the emotional madness under control until puberty started sneaking up on my 10-year-old daughter. Body hair sprouted up in places that will one day require shaving. Moodiness raised its ugly head. Icky boys were somewhat appealing. Dance clothes smelled like a sweaty gym, and deodorant became mandatory.

Her body began working its way toward womanhood, but my brain was holding on to visions of chubby little rolls, saggy diapers and tiny feet sliding around in my heels while she played dress up. She’ll always be my baby, but my baby was growing up. Fast.

Yesterday after school, she handed me a piece of paper with a solemn look on her face. “You need to sign this,” she said while staring down at the floor. I was confused. It was out of character for her to get in trouble. Then I read the title: “The Maturity Video” (AKA Boobs, Bras, Bellyaches, and Boys). Uh-oh. 

The next three days leading up to this mortifying menstruation movie resulted in her sticking her finger down her throat, gagging, and saying “Barf!” every 30 seconds. My cool mom persona came out to alleviate all the hype and jitters: “Chillax, Kiddo. I’ll prepare you for this.”

But I wasn’t quite sure I could.

I reflected back on the morning I tried to shake her clinging 2-year-old body off my leg while warning her not to come potty with Mommy today. “Mommy has a boo-boo,” I said.” I’ll be out in a minute.” Of course, “No” means “Absolutely yes!” to a toddler, so she rushed into the bathroom like a firefighter busting the door down to tend to my emergency.

Both of our eyes widened when she saw my unexpected crime scene. In some ways I hoped it might frighten her enough to let me start peeing alone. Instead, her curiosity went through the roof, and she asked me 20 questions about how the water magically changed colors, why I was doing crafts on the toilet, and then she reminded me we aren’t supposed to bring paint into the other rooms. 

More questions came over the years.

Why do you have speckles of dirt on your private parts? Why do you put a heating pad on your tummy when it is 100 degrees outside? Why do you drink wine five days straight around the same date each month? And why do you (try to) hide in the freezer with your spoon in the Ben & Jerry’s? Why, why, WHY?

Because women get punished each month for having a vagina. That’s why.

I hated to break the news to her, but either I would do it first or her period would. She forgot our conversation, and I forgot we’d eventually have to have “the talk.” Her school, on the other hand, was happy to remind me.  So I did what all good mothers do. I winged it.

Me: Here’s the down-low on the flow:

Your body will change like Mommy’s (hopefully you’ll get bigger boobs).

Your belly might hurt, but we have Advil for that.

Your boobs will be sore, but they’ll be bigger, and that will make you happy.

Pads feel like you’re wearing a saggy diaper (again), but tampons have an annoying string that plays hide and seek when you need to find it.

You’ll call people you love mean names, but they’ll see you walking back and forth to the bathroom with your purse and forgive you.

You’ll have intense cravings for anything salty or sweet (or both combined); it’s called comfort food for a reason, so let it comfort you.

You’ll feel exhausted, but you can caffeinate the crap out of yourself for a week of survival.

Exercise is extremely helpful in providing you energy; you just may need someone to help you exercise.

Always tie a sweater around your waist; it will save you if your clothes realize you have your period before you do.

Yes, the pill can minimize cramps and heavy bleeding, but DON’T YOU DARE have sex, EVER.

Yes, you can get pregnant (so DON’T YOU DARE have sex, EVER).

Don’t worry, it all goes away in about five days.

Do keep track of it so you’re not surprised when it comes back again.

Call Mom if you need anything. I’ve been to this rodeo a time or two before.

Any questions?

Her: Nope, I’m good.

(I think that went well.)


About the Author

My name is Nicole Hardy and I am a 40ish-year-old mom of two, obsessed with coffee, my children and my hair. After 14 years in Corporate America, I’ve ditched my cubicle for my calling, and launched my blog: She Emerges. I’m finding myself, feeding my soul, and baby I’m emerging! Follow Nicole on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram