An Unexpected Conversation With My Six Year Old

Last night.  The family gathers around the dining room table for dinner.  TC and M talk.  Z stands on her chair, singing.  D butters a slice of bread.   

D:  (Casually) Mum, do you still get your period?

M:  My what?

D:  Your period.

M:  (Pause)  What do you mean by period?

D:  You know, it’s when a little blood comes out of the vagina.

M and TC exchange a subtle glance.   

M:  (Perplexed)  Yes… well, no… actually, I don’t get it while I’m pregnant, but after the babies are born it’ll come back.  Why?

D:  Just wondering.

M:  How do you know about periods?  You must have been talking with somebody.

D:  K, at school.

M:  She has her period?

D:  No, but she has an older sister.

M:  Oooooh.  The older sister recently get her period? 

D:  Yeah.  K said that all girls get it.  

M:  As far as I know, yes.

D:  How old do you have to be?

M:  I got it when I was eleven, but A just got it and she’s thirteen.  It’s different for everyone. 

D:  How old will I be?

M:  We’ll have to wait and see.  We can ask H how old she was when she got it.  Maybe you’ll be the same age as her.  

D:  Does it hurt?  The blood?  

M:  No.  It doesn’t hurt.  It’s perfectly natural, absolutely nothing to be afraid of, I promise. 

D:  More salad, please.   

The next morn.  M in shower.  D brushes her teeth.

D:  (Calling out) I have a question, Mum.

M:  Go ahead.

D:  Can you feel the period coming out? 

M:  Sometimes you don’t even know you have it until you go to the bathroom and wipe.

D:  (Doubtful)  And the blood doesn’t hurt?

M:  The only thing that happens is sometimes the belly gets cramps, like sore muscles.  But not like a cut or a scrape.

D:  How long does it last? 

M:  Oh, a few days maybe. 

D:  Where does all the blood go after it comes out?

M:  I use tampons.  You put it just inside the vagina, when you’re much, much older, and it soaks up the blood.  It doesn’t hurt at all. 

D:  What do tampons look like? 

M:  Like a little white cotton thing with a little string attached to it–

D:  Yeah, yeah, yeah!  I know what that is! 

M:  They’re right in the drawer if you want to look at one. 

D:  No, thanks.  I’ve seen them before.  (Pause)  Mum? 

M:  Yes?

D:  I’m gonna be thirteen when I get my period.  

M:  That’ll be very exciting, won’t it? 

D:  Yup.

M:  In the meantime, I reeeeally like six.

D:  Me too.  (Pause)  Can I wear my clogs to school?

M:  No.       

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4 responses to “An Unexpected Conversation With My Six Year Old

  1. the best part is that you were at the dinner table. i hope you were eating something squishy like pasta with tomato sauce. mmm.

    i feel surprised that d doesnt already know all about it. hasnt she shadowed you all these years?! 6 is reeeeeallly old.

  2. Shadowed indeed. Believe it or not, MS, exhibitionist that I am, I still insert tampons the old fashioned way – in private. But you are right, 6 is really old! That’s why tonight after story-time I plan to discuss Abstinence vs. Birth Control and the many benefits of vibrators. xo

  3. I think D is way ahead of her time. But this coming from the mother whose daughter started her period, had it for two months before I even knew.
    She said there was no reason to tell me, she knew what to do. ( I did have the talk somewhere around 9 or 10 I think). That bonding moment mother and daughter are “supposed” to have when child becomes a woman…. never happened.
    I do remember the first condom question however. Both kids came running into the house after school saying they needed to talk to me. “what is a condom? one of them asked, right before hiding their head into the couch cushions in fits of laughter. They were about 8 and 10. That was a fun conversation. They were both hysterical with laughter over the whole thing.
    I just love how it all ended with D wanting to wear her clogs to school. Good for you for saying no. Clogs should never be worn to school. (?)
    jb

  4. he he he. When I was a child I used to play with the tampon applicators that floated a shore from the Deer Island Waste Plant on the Winthrop Beach. I would quietly make them the feature in my sand castles. They would always be stuck a top each and every tower as if the pink applicator was a flag signifying ownership of the castle. Maybe it was?…..My mom would always freak and tell me not to touch them but never explain why. They honestly do make great castle decorators!

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