Conversations with my Children - Puberty
The Facts of Life Theme Song
Helen Reddy - I am Woman
Whitney Houston - I am Every Woman
Cue the music! “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life.”
My triplets are about to reach their first big milestone. They are about to turn 10 years old. I am excited and a little sad as they continue to grow. Basically they are half way towards high school graduation and leaving the nest. Although they are still my little babies this is about the time when their bodies change and puberty hits. Well maybe not right now but very soon.
For me puberty was not a good time in my life, mainly because I hit puberty very young and was not mentally or physically prepared for the changes that would come for me. I wanted to make the transition for my daughters a little bit easier. For me talking to them would be the best thing to do. I just was not sure when or where that time would be; I just didn’t want to be too late.
That time would come really soon, sooner than I was prepared for. One day at soccer practice I heard a few of the girls snickering and telling jokes. I tried to listen without them noticing me and was able to overhear them joking about puberty. At first I was shocked but then I realized that two of the girls had older sisters and this made complete sense to me. I knew it was time to have a little talk with my daughters and that talk would have to happen quickly unless I wanted them to get their information off the street. I definitely did not want that.
So that very night I approached one of my girls (the shy one) and said, “I would like to talk to you two.” Her response caught me off guard, “Yeah mom I want to talk to you too!” Wow what did she have to say to me? I wondered to myself. I walked into their room where my other daughter (the outgoing one) was finishing putting on her Pajamas and practicing her violin. I sat down on her bed while she was plucking a little ditty on the strings. My shy daughter wanted me to start the conversation but I was truly dying to hear what she wanted to talk to me about so I let her go first.
“Mom some girls in my class are wearing bras and I was wondering...” There was a long pause mainly because she was very shy and scared to ask. She was just about to finish her thought when my outgoing daughter broke in and said, “Yeah I was wondering when are we going to get boobs?” I almost passed out right there from laughter but I held it together while I explained to her, “Well, you are already starting to get them now” “Really?” She responded. “That’s it? They are so small!” I tried not to react but I had to chuckle this conversation was getting way too comedic for me. “I know that they are small now but they have to start somewhere. They will grow.” I tried to reassure her. She seemed to want to trust me but she still wasn’t too sure. She was okay for now.
Here was a great opportunity to ask my girls about puberty. So I asked them what they knew about it. My outgoing daughter answered, “It’s when you get hair under your arms, boobs and something else.”
I asked them if they knew what that something else was. They both shook their heads and said no. Then I asked them if they had ever heard of a period. “Yes because these girls at summer camp were trying to tell me about them but I thought it was inappropriate, I just kept shaking my head no and saying I don’t want to hear this I don’t want to hear this” My outgoing daughter was talking so fast I could barely hear her. It was getting more and more difficult for me to hold back my laughter. After hearing this I told my girls that they could come to me or their father with any question that they had or to clarify anything that they heard. They agreed to do so.
There was still the need for me to explain to the girls what a period (menstrual cycle) was. When I was thinking of the best way to explain such a complicated subject I decided to get straight to the point. Being completely honest and forthcoming does have its drawbacks though. I let my girls know what happens during a period and then they asked why it happens. I told them that it was a way for the body to get ready to have babies. All of a sudden my outgoing daughter got the strangest look on her face. She grabbed her stomach with her hand and let out a groan. I asked her what was wrong. She looked at me with fear in her eyes and groaned, “Am I pregnant right now?!” I couldn’t hold it any longer. I had to laugh. I was trying to reassure her while I was laughing. I wanted to stop laughing but the look on her face, the fear she must have had just was too much for me. I assured her that she was not pregnant right now and told her that she wouldn’t be pregnant until she was at least 25 (come on now I don’t want to be a grandma too early). After my daughter was sure she wasn’t pregnant, she looked me in the eye and said, “I think daddy should come in now.” Uh oh I was definitely being fired from my position.
I had to drag my husband into the room. My boy wanted to come into the room too but the girls didn’t want him in so we told him next time. Although I am pretty sure that he was listening in at the door. That is just the type of boy he is. My husband and I talked to our girls for a bit more before we all decided that we would be going bra shopping sometime soon. My girls were so excited they wanted to know exactly which day and at what time we would be going.
Personally I think I did pretty well for someone who was negatively scarred by having my puberty at a very young age. At first I thought laughing would backfire on me but since our talk my daughters have come to me several times individually and together to ask questions. I think that our talk has helped me to be prepared for when my daughters hit puberty. What a relief. I was really scared there for a moment.