The Period Blog

Like me, Sheri from the super-fabulous blog A Novel Menagerie has two preteen daughters.  Inspired by My Little Red Book, we recently chatted about periods: 

Lisa:  I got mine when I was 11, the summer before 6th grade.  How old were you? 

Sheri:  You know, since my brain fell out of my va-jay-jay after I had the twins, I can’t really recall.  I think I was 13, close to 14. 

Lisa:   So 8th or 9th grade, something like that?  Being a bit younger, I guess I was pretty stupid about things.  I know we saw a movie in 5th grade, but it was more about all the wonderful things you can do when you become a woman- you can go horseback riding!  You can ride a bike!  

I was at summer camp and didn’t connect the rusty streak in my undies to the movie at all.  I thought I was dying.  I hid my messy underwear in my duffle bag (gross!)  My mom discovered what happened when she did my laundry after I came home, and she handed me a book called Growing Up and a box of pads.  There was no discussion, no Q & A, and lots of embarrassment.  What about you? 

Sheri:  In our school, we had the sex-ed classes, so I knew it was coming.  Also, most of my friends had theirs before me.. again, I knew it would arrive.  My mom gave me some mini-pads, told me a bit about them, and set me loose.  It wasn’t at all that big of a deal for me.  I think developing my breasts were a much bigger memory for me.  I really had some difficult cramping in high school and took a lot of Motrin during those years.  Did you know that I’m so old that Motrin was by prescription only back then?  Yes… yes it was! 

Lisa:  Breasts- that was a sad subject for me.  I was skinny and flat as a board.  I had nothing going on upstairs, which caused me great embarrassment in junior high. 

How are you preparing your own daughters for their first period? 

Sheri:  I am the world’s biggest embarrassment to the twins.  Whenever I talk about it, they say, “MOM!  We know! We know!”  They never want to talk about it.  They each have some panty-liners and are prepared to let me know when it happens. (Oh, and our school has had some really great classes over the past couple of years). 

Lisa:  Ours too.  My kids know how their bodies work from me, from the classes at school, and from books.  American Girl has a great book called “The Care and Keeping of You.”  It even has a diagram showing how to insert a tampon.  And I’ll be sharing My Little Red Book with them too.

We’ve discussed everything openly although my youngest would rather not talk about it.  The other day I took them to the drugstore and we purchased some “supplies” and cute little zip-up bags to carry them in so they can take them in their backpacks to school.  I want them to be secure in the knowledge that they will know what to do when the time comes.   

Sheri:  One of my twins does and the other doesn’t.  I guess we’re heading to the drug store before school starts.  Thanks for the head’s up! 

Lisa:  Your girls are a little bit older than mine.  Mine are 10 and 11, and as you know my 11 year old is really tiny.  She’ll probably be carrying pads around in her backpack for the next 3 years before she needs to use them.  Although she is very moody, and her skin is starting to break out a little, so you never know.. 

Sheri:  After her recent physical, the doctor told one of my girls that she will start very soon.  In my best estimation, the other one is probably 2-6 months behind her.  Seeing that they are both in women’s sizes now, have acne problems up the wazoo, have body odor issues, and greasy scalps… it’s just a matter of time.  It’s a challenge to get them to focus on their self-care and proper hygiene.  I actually asked the doctor to talk to them a bit about it.  She did and the twins seemed to take it more seriously coming from her than from me.  In fact, they were much better about the acne care after the doctor’s visit. 

Lisa:  That’s a good idea.  I should have the doctor talk with them about it.  It was almost funny last year, trying to get my 4th grader to start wearing deodorant, and her defensively asking, “Why?”  Um, honey?  I hate to say it, but.. you smell.  

Sheri:  Dude!  It’s bad enough with their hormones now… I can only imagine that cramps are going to turn my world upside down!  EEK!  What I’m really concerned about is having the 3 of us starting to all cycle together at the same time.  It will be total mayhem and grouchiness for 10 days straight.  And that’s like a third of the month!  OMG!  

Lisa:  I know, same here!!  My poor husband!  He is SO outnumbered. 

In My Little Red Book, there are essays about how families mark the occasion of ‘becoming a woman’.  Some celebrate with a special dinner, a cake, or a slap in the face.  One mom gave her daughter a dozen roses in a pretty vase, and the daughter kept the dried rose petals in the vase on her dresser for years- I really liked that idea.  I don’t have any family traditions but I think I may start one with my girls.  How do you plan to handle it with the twins? 

Sheri:  I hadn’t really thought about it until the book.  I think flowers is a lovely idea.  It is the beginning of an entirely new phase of their lives. 

Lisa:  Thanks, Sheri, for talking with me today!  This was fun. 

Sheri:  I appreciate you bringing up some great little reminders and tips.  And, you totally know that I’m going to secretly tell you/my other girlfriends when it happens!  It’s almost like a small rite of passage for us moms, too!  Don’t you think?  THANK YOU, for including me in your amazingly wonderful, always fun blog: BOOKS ON THE BRAIN! 

Lisa:  Oh, you are so sweet.  Believe me, I’ll be calling you too when things start flowing in my house!!  I will need to have someone to commiserate with.  It is a rite of passage, a beginning but also an ending too.  It kind of makes me sad that my babies are growing up so quickly.  Ok, I may start crying now.  Pass the tissues, the Motrin and the chocolate.  

And for a good laugh, watch this!


13 Responses

  1. […] the rest here: The Period Blog Share and […]

  2. OMG. I was embarrassed just watching that video! OK, I’ll share! I was absolutely mortified when I got my period and my mom announces it to my dad (thank god my brother wasn’t home). SO my dad gives me some history lesson and how I should be all glad that I wasn’t to be banished to a tent for my ‘time of the moon’. I seriously contemplated running away from home and wouldn’t talk to my father for weeks. I applaud your efforts to make it a celebration.

  3. I’m off the hook on this one since I have one son and no daughters – phew!

    But I remember the first time I got my period … I was in 7th grade and got it at school while wearing white shorts. I stuffed tons of toilet paper in my underwear and went to the nurse and said I was sick. This was before cell phones and of course, the nurse couldn’t get ahold of my mom. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone what the problem was so the nurse sent me back to class and said she’d get me if my mom called. My mom finally got the message about an hour and a half before the end of the school day, but she figured I was probably feeling better by that point so she didn’t come get me. I was SO angry with her when I got home … I’d had to spend most of that day in and out of the bathroom and sitting with my legs tightly closed so no one would see the stain on my shorts. I was mortified. 😦

  4. I remember when I got my period for the first time. I was in 6th grade at the time. It was evening and I was getting changed with my sister (she’s 18 months younger than me) at the dance studio we both attended. I saw that rust colored streak and showed it to my sister. She promptly told me that it was probably my period. So, I put as much toilet paper in my underwear as I could and thanked god for black leotards! When my mom picked us up, I told her what had happened and she took me out to McD’s to celebrate and we bought a box of pads.

    If I ever have a little girl, I will make sure she is prepared for what happens. My mom made sure my sister and I knew what would happen to our bodies, even though it did embarrass us at first to talk about such things with our mom. But it made communicating about things later a little easier.

  5. I’m there too! My daughter just turned 10 and I can see the warning signs. She loves to read so I bought her several books on her period along with one about personal hygiene, since we’re dealing with those issues too.

    Great idea about using a cute, little bag for her backpack. I’ll be taking her to the store soon to pick one out.

    Thanks for the great discussion, ladies!!

  6. I got my period when I was 11 but didn’t grow any noticable boobs until I was 22.

    I’m just going to let that sink in for a while.

  7. I love the period dance, Lisa! Totally funny!

    I’m still scratching my head at how Raych’s boobs came at 22…


  8. OMG this is an awesome post! My daughter (13, started 2 yrs ago) would DIE if I wrote about this on my blog, so I’ll have to live vicariously thru you two and your California openess (you know, in contrast to my strict New England up-tightness 🙂 )

    Lisa, my experience was very similar to yours – not really getting what was going on although I had gone to the “evening for young women” at our local library (there were no health classes in school in the Dark Ages).

    I remember a friend got flowers from her mother when she got her period and I thought that was cool and would do that for my own daughters … hmm, missed the boat on that one. My daughter was very cool and calm about it, knew it all (thanks to conversations w/me and that great American Girl book). Maybe I’ll remember the flowers when the younger daughter gets hers ….

  9. I was 11. I fell on my roller skates and thought that was the cause for the pain. My mother did not prepare me to say the least.

    However, carrying my supplies at school never worked out for me as a boy in my math class went through my backpack that was hanging on the back of my chair, took out all of the supplies and proceeded to wear them. Stick this here, hang that there. You get the idea. I was mortified.

    I plan to talk to my daughter but since she is only 5 I still have some time to prepare.

    LOVE the conversation you and Sheri had but if I was one of your kids I would slip into a coma if I knew about it.

    Tampax dance? Just the name of it is funny.

  10. Yeah, The Girl would kill me if I wrote about this on my blog. I started mine when I was 9 and a half. One week after the video in school. My younger sister announced it to my dad, and I was mortified. The doctor told me The Girl will be starting soon, and I’m not sure I’m ready for it, and she said she’s not ready for it, but we’ve talked about it. I probably should get her some supplies, now that you mention it. 🙂

    Thanks for this post!


  11. Fun to relieve the memories! I got my period dancing to the song Mickey at a friend’s house. Her mom had to be the one to help me 🙂

  12. LOL. The period dance. Lol. That cracked me up!

    I got my period 3 days ago, and its stopping already… just spotting… is this normal?

    Thanks, Meg x

  13. i started a year and 1/2 ago. usually it last 3-5 days the 4 or 5 day are usually spotting but last month i started on june 10 and didnt end until the 17th none of which was spotting my cycle is usually about 27 days so what should i expect for this month? i should be starting any day but i haven’t been showing much symptoms- ex. i usually get alot of new acne the week before but this week i havent- my mother says she was always very irregular and i am somewhat but that may just be because i’m still relativly new, so what should i expect this month?

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