You ask, I shall Answer!

It was a quiet evening. I was sitting on the floor playing with my niece, Jason was at his computer, and Bailey at the laptop reading. The TV was on, more as back ground noise than anything. I wasn’t paying any attention to it. Obviously my son was at the very moment that I wish he wasn’t!

“What are tampons mom?” is the question that rang loudly in my ear! I first laughed hysterically, trying to find the words that made sense to a 10-year-old!

For a brief second I contemplate on what to say. Do I tell him, it’s nothing he needs to worry about? Do I tell him they are for plugging drains, ahem, sink drains?! Or do I tell him the truth?! I tend to always lean towards the truth, age appropriately that is!

I start out by explaining why tampons are needed. Not the discussion I thought I’d have with my son, but he asked and I shall answer! I told him when girls get to a certain age they start to menstruate, they get what you call a “period”. Usually between the ages of 12 and 13, but sometimes sooner. I told him that they bleed from their private area. He looked mortified when I said that! He asked if it hurt, he obviously associates blood with pain. I told him girls do get cramps when they get their period but it only last for few days once a month. I proceeded to tell him hormones are released to different parts of the body to help prepare the body for pregnancy. Girls have eggs, boys have sperm. (Yes, he knows what sex is and how babies are made, he’s 10!) We’ve already had that talk, to an extent. Further discussion will come later down the road. Simply put, I said when the girls eggs aren’t fertilized by a male’s sperm then the eggs fall apart and that is what comes out to be her period. The tampon acts as a plug. Blah blah blah…Again a tad mortified! I am fairly confident he is very happy he is a boy! Too much information? He was curious, I told him the truth! How else do you explain why a women would bleed from her private parts? Any other explanation would have been a lie and far worse than the truth! I can only imagine what a kid would think up trying to figure out why?

Although it was a very interesting and funny conversation we had, I’m glad he is not embarrassed to ask us these personal questions. Truth and education are the best tools we can give our children. They need to know they can talk to us, about anything. And they need to know we will be truthful with them. As much as we all think our own children won’t make mistakes, and they will always make the right decision, they may not. It’s our job to educate them on the facts of life, and allow them to make their decisions and hope they make the best one.

So, how do you handle situations like this? How do you plan on handling them? The sex & protection talk, the period talk, the hormone talk! I know some people avoid it, and to each their own! I didn’t have anyone to talk to when I was young so it’s very important for me, and Jason that Bailey always comes to us with those questions. With all these dang commercials about tampons, and condoms, erectile dysfunction and women who need a little “help down there!” We as parents need to get to them before the TV does! I for one could do without these types of commercials, but they will always be there. I’d rather educate him than have the TV do it! I won’t leave it up to the Trojan man or the Tampax girl pouring blue liquid on a pad to do it!

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18 Responses to You ask, I shall Answer!

  1. Joy says:

    I can NOT believe he and Trin are getting this old. I’m going to go crawl into a hole!!

    PS. I was always honest too.

  2. Very honest answer. I commend you. We haven’t had the talk with our daughters yet, but I hope to be as honest.

  3. Laura says:

    Well… Josh isn’t there yet… ok, yes he is.

    We’ve already had the “where do babies come from” discussion. When he was four. Maybe five. We were sitting together in his room, reading I don’t know what, and all of a sudden he asks, “did I grow in your tummy? Like Houdini?” (Houdini is a miniature horse, born to Cookie, who lives in our pasture most of the time. He was born across the street, but Josh watched Cookie get fatter and fatter)

    I said, yes, you grew in my tummy for a while, until you were born. He looked at my tummy, kind of sized me up and down, and I swear, I could hear the *click*, and then he asked… “Did I come out of your wee?” (because as hard as we try to get the kid to use the correct names for some body parts, he won’t. it’s a wee)

    I figured, simpler is better. “Well, normally, you would have. But you got all tangled up in there, and I had to have surgery to get you out. Sort of like the appendix that Dad just had out. The doctor cut me open, untangled you, and took you out.”

    “Oh.”

    I’m thinking it’s easier to bite it and tell the truth than spin stories and try to continue to cover.

    ***

    That said, I did NOT explain the use of a tampon when I walked in on him when he was about three years old, and I found him in the bathroom SHOOTING my tampons across the room!!! “Look mommy! TARGETS!!!”

    Half a box, thank you very much, unwrapped, and catapulted at the far wall.

  4. SKL says:

    I don’t remember ever talking about menstruation to a boy. When I was in the 4th or 5th grade, the girls were taken separtely for a film about that stuff. So I knew it by the time I was 10. My brothers probably learned it from “the street” which is frankly OK with me. It’s not like they had to actually do anything about it. (We all learned about the eggs and sperm at a younger age; and nobody came out and said how the sperm gets to the egg, but somehow we figured that out too – in plenty of time.)

    When my kid brother was about 7 or 8, he asked me how the sperm gets to the egg. My style is to first figure out where the kid is, then meet him at his level. So I said, what’s the difference between a boy and a girl? He demonstrated a boy’s part with his right hand, a girl’s part with his left. So I said something like, use your imagination. He put one and one together (literally) and his eyes got all big and that was that. I still get a chuckle out of that memory. I know they taught about birth control by 9th grade if not sooner in his school.

    My kid sister learned about pregnancy from the neighbor girl’s mom. Her best friend’s 17yo sister was pregnant out of wedlock, so the two little girls (age 5 & 6) asked the mom how that could be. My sister came home and told me very clearly all about it. I’m not sure how she learned about tampons; but I think she figured it out long before she “needed” to know. When she was 10, I had a few chats with her about how boys are and self-respect and what married women can do if they want to wait before they have babies (birth control methods). She was a quick study and wasn’t yet being stupidized by hormones, so I think the timing was pretty good.

    For my kids, my style is to give information in bits as they are old enough to understand it. I’d rather tell them before they ask. That way I’m not at a loss for words, which would make the subject awkward. I also note that my kids watch very little TV, so I don’t have that worry. However, I have had a few awkward moments already.

    Last week I bought the girls the DVD “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” which someone had recommended to me as a great musical for preschoolers. Well, yeah, except for the scene with Potiphar’s wife! Yikes! “Mommy, why is she taking Joseph’s clothes off? Mommy, why is Joseph half naked? Why? Why?” I was caught off guard and I don’t even remember what I answered, but it probably wasn’t very educational.

    My kids know how babies are born but they don’t know the male’s role in the process. They don’t have a “dad,” so that’s pretty remote for them. Eventually it will come up, and with it, the whole business of their biological fathers who never accepted the role of “dad.” And the thoughts about what their conception meant to their birth moms. It’s a lot of baggage, but I know my kids will be strong enough to deal with it when the time comes . . . you know, when they’re about 30 or so . . . .

    • Joy says:

      We never really talked about it much either SKL. AND NEVER with our dad’s. Unheard of. We also all had “movie” day at school in 5th grade and the mother’s that could come, did. We got little sample boxes of kotex. It was all kind of embarrassing. My mom did tell me before that anyhow so seeing that stupid movie with the sperm “floating upstream” was embarrassing to me.

      • SKL says:

        Actually my dad was very honest with me. It’s not a subject I “wanted” to discuss with anyone. Nor did he initiate it. But once or twice when I had a question (or made an “I think” statement that invited him to agree or disagree), he would have a simple but mature and respectful answer – one that made me think at a higher level.

        It’s things like that that make me wonder how much of a hole there might be in my kids’ lives due to not having a dad. Of course I will try to fill the gap as best I can (and I’m more experienced than either of my parents were in those days), but I still wonder.

      • Nikki says:

        I think it depends on who you are with when these subjects come up also. In a classroom full of other kids, what’s less likely to be embarrassing is unbearable suddenly. I never ever had any kind of talk about anything from anyone! I learned on my own and from what I learned in 6th grade sex ed. Which was nothing of importance when it came down to it. I do hope that schools are more up to date with this specific issue. We’ll see!

        I had never even thought of having such a conversation with my SON. No you normally don’t talk about menstruation with a boy. But he asked, and I felt it necessary to be honest. In all reality I am in trying to raise him with some kind of understanding of a female. Most men don’t understand, therefor can’t handle certain situations. You can’t deal with something if you don’t understand it. Hopefully he’ll keep this information in the back of his mind when he does have a wife. Having a period is NOT fun, and men don’t understand that and can’t sympathize. Hopefully he will!

        • SKL says:

          I definitely agree that it’s right that you told your son. At the same time, I’m glad I (probably) won’t have to have that conversation with a boy!

  5. Karen Joy says:

    You done good girl!!!!I thankfully will never have to have that discussion..phew!

  6. Sue says:

    LOL!!!! That is too funny and I’m sure once you started your answer he wished he’d never asked! We’ve had the where babies come from talk with Trin and Christopher hasn’t gone there yet so…I was honest with Trin too b/c I think it’s important, there’s nothing to be ashamed of and for gosh sake’s I’m a health care worker so I should be able to talk about it! I can’t believe they’re that old either, but 5th grade is when I remember having those school classes. Ugh, hope they get better stuff than we did!

  7. That’s great the way you approached it, through truth and language that they can understand. I was never the recipient of “the talk” and my parents figured if there was anything I needed to learn, it would be through school, peers and on my own. Nevertheless, I certainly did learn through my own methods, i.e school and library. Having grown up in a conservative Asian family, these topics were definitely “not up for discussion” and were more or less “unsaid rules” that were followed. Certainly, I was the lucky one who did not try to learn these things through “practical” experiences lest I end up getting some girl pregnant.

    When I was young, my mom would often take me the washroom with her. Inevitably, the topic of periods would come up and I became fascinated with it. Perhaps it was just kiddy-curiosity at the time. Over time though, the information flow (lol) came to an end, probably because she felt that as I got older, it became a more embarrassing topic to touch on.

    In time, I began to do my own learning about both male and female bodies at the library. Rather than going into the lower level where they had the children book, I cautiously took some anatomy books into a secluded corner where I would read for hours, study the diagrams and educate myself in matters that my parents were perhaps too shy to talk about with me. Menstruation was perhaps one of the “subject matters” that I spent studying the most – not because I would ever experience it, but because it was such a beautiful process – along with the female body. Of course being a heterosexual male, there’s alternate things running through my head when I think of the “beauty” of the female body nowadays, ACK!

    When it comes to my turn when I have my own children, I’ll be sure to answer frankly with any question they may have, whether it is about male or females. I believe honesty will get them into far less trouble than lies or misleading information. Seriously though, I think boys should be equally educated on the topic of menstruation because the misinformation and negativity towards it is alarming. The reason why I created my blog in the first place was aimed at trying to open up the topic of menstruation for guys and to give them some practical knowledge about menstruation. I would hardly consider myself an expert by any means, but perhaps someone who is keen to learn about it and feel that guys can benefit from such information – more so than the “average guy”.

  8. Ellen says:

    You did a great job, Nikki! This was the way. Make it a subject that is a part of life. I told my sons about it too, and luckily they were not as if they were shocked. They were and still are glad they are not girls, lol.

  9. lucy says:

    I definitely think you did a great job! I grew up as the youngest of 3 girls.. so tampons and periods were introduced to me at a very young age!! I don;t have kids.. but once I do I’m planning on being open and honest from very early on (in a developmentally appropriate way!!)

  10. starlaschat says:

    I think you handled it great Nikki. Age appropriate and honest, I think Is always a good thing. The other day when I was on the computer A loud Tampax commercial came on the computer screen and I thought this is a no Tampax commercial Zone. I guess everything is fair game to make into a commercial I actually think it’s a bit strange. Hemorrhoids, Viagra, depends, Summers Eve I could go on and on…….

  11. Just a Mom says:

    I am usually honest when talking to my kids about things like that. But I only give as much info as I have too!
    My youngest is in 5th grade and we have had the talk about what is starting to happen to her body. She is also having “classes” at school I believe next week.
    My oldest just came to me about birth control so now I get to deal with that. I told her we would go to the doctor and then I completely pissed her off with the fact that she would have to pay for the birth control herself. Oh I love being a mother!

  12. kweenmama says:

    My son is ten too, but he hasn’t yet asked that question, so we haven’t had the discussion. I had always hoped his father would be the one to have the discussion with him, but since he has now moved out of state, I guess it will have to be me. You did a great job of explaining it.

  13. sweetiegirlz says:

    Usually when boys ask, they’ve probably already heard from their friends! Great job on being open and honest. kudos.

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