Oh Hello Flo - Period



Oh Hello Flo Period Box



Oh Hello Flo

It caught me off guard.  It caught my mom off guard.  I was 10 years old.  
Long long long ago, when I was 10 years old and it was December holidays in South Africa, my family and I took a roadtrip to Jeffreysbay.  I remember the cramps I had the last night of our holiday and our parents went out to dinner and us kids stayed at home with a nanny.  I doubled over, saw stars and the pain was excruciating.  Somehow I fell asleep and the following day I was ok.  Two days later back at home in Johannesburg, I was almost on my way to go visit my bestie for a playdate when I went to use the ladies... mmm... my pantie is brown.  "that's weird" I thought... It does not feel like my tummy is running.  I changed the panty and threw the soiled one into the washing basket and off to bestie I went!
Thirty minutes later my mom phoned on the landline (because there were no cellphones when this mamma was in primary school).. she was histerical!  "why did you not tell me?"  she cried.  "tell you about what mom?"  I said when I heard her distress.  "your period.  I'm doing washing and I found your underwear".  "my what?"  I answered honestly.  I had no clue what she was talking about...
And so my mom came to fetch me.  Now you must understand, I have the best mom in the world, but I did not hear about the birds and the bees and all I remember about my new found period, is that I am a grown woman now (at 10) and bravo, here we go!  I was so shy when it came to buying pads, I would stand on the side of the shopping isle with my head perked around the corner and whisper to my mom pretty loudly, who is standing in front of the huge array of sanitary wear... "the pink one... no no no the other pink one... yes".  Then hide it under the rest of the groceries.
I was very young when I started and I was totally unprepared, but so was my mom.
I knew that when the time arrived for our own daughter, that I would want to prepare her for it.  It will soften the blow and she will know what it is and what she needs to do... first point being... don't panic!
When our daughter almost turned 10, I thought the time was right to start talking about menstruation and what to do etc.  She has caught me off guard a few times at the toilet busy swopping sanitary wear (why do kids and dogs always arrive when I am on the toilet?) so she has seen some blood before and I just said it is my period which is a grown woman thing and one day we will talk about hers.  That woud usually frighten the daylights out of her and off she went.
I have always let her lead the conversation when it comes to questions as I do not want to overwhelm her or overshare.  Luckily she will quickly say, "thanx mom, that's enough now" while closing her ears.  I have realised it is an ongoing conversation.  Something we need to take step by step.  Even compartimentalize.
We spoke about the moment it might happen and what her options are in that moment.  I had to show her how to put a pad in her panty because how must she know?  She was also excited to see that a pad has wings and she walked around like a cowboy when she pulled up the panty!  Hahaha!  It was a funny and special moment to share and we have to remember what we are doing in this moment.  We are sharing, we are caring, we are teaching, we are preparing, we are building foundations with our girls and a sacred space to feel safe in. We immediately got out a small bag and placed two pads inside as well as a clean panty and a ziplock bag for the soiled one.  This she keeps in her schoolbag. She felt so confident afterwards and was so excited to start her period.  "So mom, when is it going to happen?" she asked.  Now that is a question we do not have an answer to because our bodies are so different.  It might happen for some at 9 and others at 15 years... who knows.  What is important is that she is prepared and when her period finally comes, we will further the topic because it will be an ongoing conversation that will lead to some things we have touched on before like sex, babies, marriage.  Phew... it's hectic hey!  Parenting is not for sissies!
But not to worry... we thought about you.  With our Oh Hello Flo period box, we not only had the tween in mind, but the parent as well because we realised that it can be a daunting conversation to have.  The information booklet is so cute and basic and explains exactly what is happening to their bodies, how to take care of it, and so much more.  It is something you can read before hand and share with her, or you can read it together.  The entire book is 16 pages, so it's easy reading with the cutest illustrations.
Menstruation is not an enjoyable event, but it is something to celebrate because it means your body is working!  Our Oh Hello Flo box is filled with products and information that can help with pain relief and everything they need to know about their bodies. What I always remember is that moment I threw the soiled panty in the washing and expected someone else to wash it.  Oh no, in the box you will find a bar of boerseep that is famous for taking out stains, and our girls need to learn how to wash out their own undies and take responsibility for their bodies.  They need to learn how to eat healthier meals because their bodies are given to them beautifully and they need to take care of it.
Lasty, on a sad note...
What I also realised, is the necessity to talk about abuse, and sexual abuse in particular.  It is so heart-breaking for me to tell my daughter about these things, but when one hears the statistics, I realise how important it is.  Arming them with information could keep them out of trouble  Kids this age usually don't know what is happening when it is happening, so once again, teaching her to look out for signs, knowing that her body is HER body alone and no one gets to touch it.  
We are all different and what we want to share as parents with our children is up to us alone.  I hope that you, our dear reader, will have a very special time in conversation with your tween, when the time is right.
Now our daughter is 12 years old and she's still waiting for her period!
Bless you,
Tween mom
Visit www.patchhelderberg.co.za/prevention/ for more information about sexual abuse prevention.