While we’re on the subject of teenage girls, let me tell you all about the Period Party I throw for each daughter, when, on cue at 100+ lbs in 8th grade, they get their periods.
Usually after a week of unexplained crying over Will Ferrell movies and empty cereal boxes and lunch room drama.
Keep reading. This is good.
My kids know all about periods. With 3 girls and a boy, this conversation is not the talk, but the never-ending – NEVER-EVER-ENDING conversation, about the biology, and about real-life applications of said science:
Don’t be a period baby. Tampons are your friends – your best friends. You can get pregnant when you have your period. Dogs love bathroom garbage. Say “girl stuff” to any teacher, coach or boss and pretty much do whatever you want. Flush and you pay the plumber. Hormones are a necessary evil. Crying is okay, dwelling is not. And so on.
It never ends.
So much so that after #1 got her period, she handed tampons to Boy to carry. Horrified husband freaked out, “What are you holding????”
“I dunno. They’re to catch her eggs or something.”
This is how we roll.
The same boy, after receiving his personal, five-on-one sex talk with subsequent 1980s movie for laughs, was pleased to learn about “nocturnal emissions.”
“OH! That’s when I get my period!”
We had a bit of do-over with that one.
The celebration started after I was forced kicking and screaming to read The Red Tent by a now defunct bookclub. We should so do this! I announced, and was scoffed and snickered at (why now defunct). I proceeded on my own path regardless.
When Kid1, college girl, got her period, I called Grandma and three generations went out to a fancy dinner: real nice, cloth napkins (pun intended), women only – and only women who have, or had, a menstruation cycle (OMG doncha hate that term? So 6th grade girl gym class!). We drank Shirley Temples and cappuccinos. Ate expensive steak and lava cake. It was a huge hit, and the sisters left home were jealous! Kid1 also got a second piercing in her … ear, and we hit the Forever
21 or pushing 46 and other teenagey previously off-limits mall stores.
When Kid2 got her period, we expanded. Now Grandma, Kid1, the guest of honor and I went to dinner. And I added a gift bag: filled with a variety pack tampons, KY jelly, Teen Vogue, zit cream, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered anything, Motrin, and a Soundtrack.
A soundtrack to bleed by: I give them music. Yeah, I said it.
And the tunes are GREAT. Here’s a partial list:
The Soundtrack to Growing Up: Music to Menstruate By
The Bitch of Living, Spring AwakeningWe’re Young And Beautiful, Carrie Underwood
A Natural Woman, Aretha Franklin
Underappreciated, Christina Aguilera
Soar, Christina Aguilera
Not Ready To Make Nice, Dixie Chicks
I Am Woman, Helen Reddy
American Woman, Lenny Kravitz
My Baby Don’t Tolerate, Lyle Lovett
You’re So Real, Matchbox Twenty
Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now, Hairspray
Emotional Rescue, The Rolling Stones
Fool To Cry, The Rolling Stones
She’s A Lady, Tom Jones
American Girl, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
I Don’t Know Why, Ben Kweller
This is my baby girl, the last one of my clan to have a period party (barring some weird evolution Darwin-esque effect on Boy). It’s bittersweet to watch our girl grow up, but we celebrate nevertheless.
And overstepping boundaries like I ALWAYS do, I give a Period Party bag to all the new Margarets in my life: complete with music and all the goodies: tampons, trashy magazines, choco, Motrin, and KY. If and when they’re ready, they get the “Don’t Be a Period Baby” lecture as well.
It’s always a few months (years for some) down the road, when the teenagers happily discover who else got bags, that they’re not the only ones, that I wasn’t picking on them. And hopefully they take comfort in the club they’ve just entered. Or at least I hope they do, and one day become “that mom” who celebrates a little bit with their own girls. Someday.
One mom suggested a new Period Party, for those of us wondering what the hell is going on with our cycles. We’d need a new gift bag with tweezers, Evening of Primrose, wine, calcium supplements, fist-sized tampons, Spanx, and a new soundtrack, starring Lily Allen. There’s nothing wrong with Cee Lo, except I’m pretty sure he never menstruated.