There is no instruction book on how to be a parent. There are many reference tools, but every parent and every child is different, so I do not think we can ever be fully prepared. This past Christmas, I purchased a book for my nine year old daughter titled, ‘The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls’. This book is part of the American Girl series and handles all aspect of ‘growing up’ without using sexuality. I chose this book because it covers everything from hygiene to the changes that occur with puberty.
I must mention that she did NOT want this book. We had discussed it before and flipped through it at the bookstore, but she was not ready to talk about it. Unfortunately to me, that made me aware that she must have an inkling of what it was about because otherwise she would have no reason to be embarrassed. I decided to give it to her for Christmas, and when she opened it I explained that she could read it as she was ready and ask my any question that she needed to.
Let me first say, in my opinion, commercials give way too much information. That being said, while watching T. V. one night a maxi pad commercial comes on and my daughter takes off running toward her room. I knew then, ‘Here we go’. Sure enough she comes back in with the book open and says, “Mom, I have a question”. Now before I could let her ask her question, I see that she is on the tampon page and I told her that we had to go sit and talk, but we had to back up a few pages first. We started at the beginning and talked about body changes, why girls have menstrual cycles, and how to handle it when you finally start. Whew, I survived! She had no additional questions, so I just told her she could read the book further if she liked and if she had any questions, we would discuss them.
A couple of days later, while my husband was waiting on her at dance class, the instructor came out to speak with him. Of course, the day that it would come out would be the day that dad is there to get the brunt of it. The dance instructor is laughing and says that she needs to tell him what our daughter just did. Oh no, right?! Here is how the conversation seemed to go:
Instructor: “What’s going on with you girl? You are not your usual self. You okay?”
Daughter: “No, not really.”
Instructor: “What’s going on?”
Daughter: “You know.”
Instructor: “Know what? What’s going on?”
Daughter: “You know…I think I have PMR.”
Instructor: “PMR?? What’s that?”
Daughter: “You know what girls get.”
Instructor: “No, I don’t know what PMR is.”
Daughter: “Well, you know that girls ages 10-14 can get PMS, but I’m not old enough for that so I have PMR.”
You cannot fault her for the logic she put into that. The letter ‘R’ does come before ‘S’!!
Of course my husband’s response is, ‘That dang book!’
Hilarious! Needless to say that evening I had to sit down with her again and explain things that apparently she did not understand.
You just never know what kids are thinking and you sure cannot predict what they will say.
This is sure to be one of those stories that we will share and laugh with many about, much to my daughters utter embarrassment I’m sure.