It finally happened. My baby girl got her period. Aunt Flo came to visit. It was no real surprise, because over the past few months, many words that most people would think of as harmless enough turned my beautiful sweet baby girl into this:
I am in no way criticizing, because I can relate. I seem to look and feel like that on most days, and My own Aunt Flo no longer visits regularly anymore. She tends to appear at the worst times, and her unpredictability leaves me with some mixed feelings. I don’t really enjoy your visits Flo, but I would hate to never see you again.
Anyway, my no longer to be called baby girl, dear daughter, DD hit me with a curve ball. iPhone in hand, she states that as a dancer, the pads make her feel awkward. She wants to go tampon shopping.
Insert thoughts here:
….OK, Auntie Flow, I changed my mind…. you can go now, good riddance….
…..Tampons… does that mean I have to instruct on insertion….
…..There must be a reason to deny this request….
…… I need a plan…..
So, I tell her that I will call the pediatrician. I kind of expected his answer. There is no reason why she cannot use a tampon at 12, especially as a dancer. So, if I am willing to teach her and tell her about care, etc, there is nothing wrong with it.
Wow, OK, not the answer I hoped for.
Now, I don’t know why the idea of tampons for a 12 year old seems troublesome to me, but it does. Is it the symbolic images of her inserting something in her vagina, cootie, vag, twat… name the colloquialism. They all sound odd to me when referring to my own daughter. How do these things happen so quickly?
I already had to deal with the vagina photo incident; I am not sure if I can deal with this. Should her getting her menstrual period ( there I said it) cause me so much stress? Single parenting is tough stuff.
Am I stressing over my own loss of youth? Maybe I am. My middle child is sending out college applications at the same time she wants to go tampon shopping. She feels comfortable enough to tell me that she feels icky and dirty with pads. I get that. I am, was, the same way. Only my mom thought that tampons meant that I was not a virgin any longer. I was not allowed to use them until I was old enough to go get them myself. I don’t want to be “that mom”.
Back to the plan; I cannot seem to get my thoughts together. She has clearly been discussing this with her BFF. They are the only two so far who have gotten their periods. I guess I am lucky; she could have gotten it in 5th grade like I did!
So we talk.
Please don’t tell my brothers.
Don’t tell daddy. He does NOT need to know.
Ok, Sweetie. I promise. ( Quickly deleting the text message I had started, begging them to be extra easy on her with her hormone induced moods)
So as I continue thinking on my feet, the connection between what is bothering me seems to come into focus. The discussion has happened. She has seen videos at school. She is chatting with her friends, but she is also on the internet. She manipulates the phone and knows exactly where to find what she is looking for. Like most kids today, the phone is an extension of her hand. So while I have always created an open arena for talking with her, as well as the boys, I am competing with other voices that may have an impact on her thought processes. I want her to have a healthy body image. As I work on this, however, we are also living in a culture, where women are surgically manipulating their lady parts in order to look better in yoga pants. WHAT?
My little town has its own surgical group that seems to be dedicated to the process. When did this become a thing?
Lady Grantham would be appalled. I am appalled. I laugh, thinking back to the parents who thought that the biggest thing that they needed to worry about was the Beatles haircuts.
I’m sorry if I offend, but this is not progress for women’s rights. This is not the “burn the bra” of the 21st century. As I plan to sneak out the see the new movie about the Suffragettes, I laugh to myself. Are we really moving forward as a gender? Altering one’s vagina to wear yoga pants and put camel toe on display just isn’t the kind of “progress” that I want my daughter to see as “progress”.
As we move to potentially the first female President, I hope I have instilled different values and a certain sense of pride and modesty in her. I hope she values her talents and her accomplishments. I hope that if she must find these stories on the internet, that she can laugh them off as I do. I hope she expects better of herself and what she presents to the world. I want her to know that her vagina is not the part of her that is to be presented to the world… time and place, sweetie, time and place.
OK, and in all honesty, maybe it does bother me just a little that I am getting older, and am past the stage of youth. OK, maybe not. No more tampons, no more birth control…. no more fear of the white pants and no collection of special panties to be worn “at that time of the month”.
End of story… I am off to find the tiniest tampons I can find for the teeny tiny little tush that fits in the size 2 pants.