Well, it has happened.
My little girl, my first born daughter is officially growing up.
And I am officially not prepared.
No, she has not gone boy crazy.
No she is not insisting on wearing cleavage bearing, butt sharing "clothing."
No, she has not begged to wear make-up, own a cell phone, have co-ed parties, drink beer or smoke pot.
No, my sweet, innocent 8 1/2 year old daughter is getting her period.
I'll give you a minute to let that sink in...
(Do you really need to ask how I know?)
You bet your sweet potato that I freaked out. I cried. I laughed like a crazed monkey. Then, I got on line and checked every source that I could think of.
Here's what I learned: most girls are getting their first period between the ages of 10 and 12 years old, and some as early as 7 years old or as late as 14 or 15 years old. Most sources think that the earlier onset of menses is due to the stress that more and more little girls are under today. When I asked Via's 3rd grade teacher if she was seeing this in school, she said that by the time the year ended last year, 5 girls had gotten their periods. That means five 8 and 9 year old girls had seriously started to become women.
Well, after the initial shock wore off, Via and I had a long talk - I explained as much as I thought an 8 year old would understand. I showed her the pictures from the human anatomy books so that she could get an idea of what her insides look like, and begin to understand why she had cramps. We went to the drugstore and bought pads. We bought some Jr. Motrin (She's not old enough for regular Motrin, but she is old enough to get her period. Huh.)
Then, we planned a date to get together with all of her special women and celebrate this right of passage.
So, now I need some help/thoughts/advice.
(As a girl, I remember getting my period and asking my mom what to do. She basically said, "figure it out." and walked the other way. I don't have the experience to know the best way to handle this, so I hope that you all have some ideas.)
When did you start your period? Do you remember-emotionally-how you felt? Did your mom step up the the plate and help you figure everything out? Did you help your own daughters? How much advice is to much to give to your daughter? A 8 year old? Anyone have thoughts on how to celebrate this milestone? I have heard that American Girl publishes a great book on the subject - anyone read it? Anyone know of any other good resources to help me? Via? our family?
I didn't think that this was a road that we would go down for several more years, but here we go. I just want to make the trip a good one. I don't want Via to feel embarrassed or ashamed in any way. This is such a wonderful change in her life - and I do mean 'wonderful.' She is on her way to becoming a woman, and I want to her to value her body and her self as much as she can.