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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Puberty Talk Fail


As I was packing up some unmentionables and toiletries, Zoe, who has been dangling from my neck like cheap costume jewelry lately, spied my tampons. There were roughly a skadillion other things in the bag, but naturally the tampons were what caught her fancy.

"What are those?" she asked sweetly.

"They're just tampons," I said in the most casual, dismissive tone possible, so as to discourage any further conversation. But apparently that tone is the conversational equivalent of sugar-coated candy ponies to a 7-year-old girl; she took hold of the topic and wouldn't let it go.

"What are they for?"

"They're for women to use. You don't have to worry about that yet." A tousle of the hair, and... done.
No? Not done?
"But what are they for?"

Sigh. "I'm telling you, honey, you don't want to know. You'll find out when you're older, and then you'll still wish you didn't know."

She was undeterred.

Now, I'm no prude - I have no problem talking to my kids about sex or hoohoos or thingamajigs or whatever - but I just felt like 7 was a little young to burden the child with the horrors that would one day visit her via internal organs she doesn't even know she has yet. Plus I was packing for vacation, which wasn't going as smoothly or as quickly as one might hope, so I didn't have time for a full-blown birds and the bees discussion. Not to mention, I hadn't envisioned The Talk with my eldest daughter transpiring as we sat on the floor in the hallway in front of the linen closet, with the contents of my toiletries bag splayed out between us on the carpet. It's difficult to have a Magical Bonding Moment under those conditions. Trust me.

So in the interest of time and her innocence, I opted for the Cliff's Notes version and hoped that would satisfy her curiosity. In a nutshell, I explained that boys and girls go through changes as they get older, and for girls, part of that means their bodies start to get ready to be able to carry babies.

"For a month, your body stores up all the nutrients and stuff a baby would need. But at the end of the month, when there's no baby in there, your body cleans itself out so it can start over. That's where the tampon comes in - it..." (thinking, thinking...), "...it keeps all that stuff from getting on your clothes."

Zoe looked puzzled. "You have to use a tampon for that?"

At this point I tried to explain that pads were another option, but the way I described them as long, soft, absorbent stickers that you put in your underwear made her laugh uncontrollably for a solid five minutes. Pretty soon we were both giggling, and I was congratulating myself for successfully defusing her questions without scarring her for life.
I can be so naive sometimes.
As our gales of laughter subsided, she asked, "But what about the tampon? Do you wipe your privates with it, like toilet paper?"
Don't laugh, don't laugh, don't laugh, I thought to myself, even though I knew I was going to laugh anyway, because I'm immature and because she dramatically pantomimed the question as she asked it.
Oh boy, I was hoping to avoid an anatomical discussion. At 7 years old I'm pretty sure most girls still think babies come out of your butt, and I was in no mood to set her straight right then. So I said simply, "No, you put it inside your body."

Her smile instantly faded and was replaced by a look of pure shock and horror.

Aghast, she blurted out, "YOU EAT  IT????"


If you need more advice on how to screw your kids up while trying to teach them about private junk, check out my decision tree on NickMom: Is It Time For The Sex Talk With Your Son? - because CLEARLY I'm an expert.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing - and so I don't get all lonely.


84 comments:

  1. Oh good lord. That's why I'm glad my cat's fixed-and a cat. We never had to have that discussion. Good luck with that ;)

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    1. I was GOING to say that it's a trade-off, because kids need the sex talk but cats throw up on the stairs, but then I realized kids throw up on the stairs, too. But kids at least usually tell you what they did before you step in it in your bare feet, so I guess that's one plus. :)

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  2. Hilarious (as usual)!

    My daughter was a little older when she asked and I explained it in simple words.

    My son, on the other hand just NEEDED to know as well and he was about 8 years old. That was fun.
    Even more so for my husband, because when he took my son to the grocery store one time and picked up some tampons for me, my son excitedly told him (and the cashier) what they were for.

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    1. Bwahaha! And husbands are already so fond of getting us our products, aren't they? Oh, to be a fly on the wall during that transaction! :)

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  3. Hahahaha! I just pictured your daughter coming in and saying, "I ate the tampon and there's still blood all over my clothes! I think I got a defective box!" Too funny.

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    1. Now THERE'S something to look forward to! Funniest. 911 call. Ever. :)

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  4. It must be depressing to be a uterus; to paint the baby's room in hope every month only to have to wipe it all down in disappointment when the sperm doesn't show up.

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    1. "It must be depressing to be a uterus" is now my favorite collection of words. Strangely, I always picture the uterus being sort of pissed off and snarky (hmm, I wonder why) as she mumbles angrily about the sperm never coming to visit her, and then when they do show up, berating them for stupidly bumping around and missing the egg entirely.

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    2. I always imagined the uterus being a crazy, emotionally-unstable, and baby-hungry. Hmm, that actually sounds like some of my friends.
      It spends about 3 weeks doing nothing but preparing a room for a baby that it is convinced will come even though there's no reason to think that. And then when the baby doesn't come in so short an amount of time it tears everything up, throws it all out the window, and punches me in the gut. Only to start the whole process over again.
      Thankfully my baby-hungry friends aren't quite that crazy...

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    3. Yeah, but that's a spot-on analogy! Aside from friends punching me in the gut - that job's just for my uterus. :)

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  5. Too funny. I'm confident I will not handle this conversation well when the time comes, so I appreciate learning from those who attempt before me. Note to self - be clear that tampons are not for eating.

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    1. It's not something you'd think you'd ever need to clarify, but parenting is just one surprise after another. :)

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  6. Oh man...I'm glad I birthed boys...hopefully I can deflect all those questions to their father! However, that could totally backfire.

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    1. What's awful is that every time I start to address any of this with my youngest son, I'm faced with the realization that I know less than I should about boy puberty. I guess I was so busy giggling and averting my eyes during Sex Ed, I must've missed most of it. :)

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    2. Oh, I have one of each. Boys can be just as troublesome. Because you REALLY don't want to tell them what these contraptions are for. Of course, at 12, he finally knows the score.

      "Mom, if they go inside, shouldn't they be called tampINs?"
      "Yes, they should, son. Yes, they should."

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    3. ODNT, please tell me we'll go into business together one day selling "TampINs - The Honest Product For Your Monthly Curse," and instead of girls giggling and playing volleyball in our ads we'll show women with hot water bottles on their abdomens bitching at their husbands for no reason. It's my new lifelong dream!

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  7. Replies
    1. True, but I think I'd have this conversation with my daughter 100 times rather than just once have to discuss "nighttime accident clean-up" with my boy. ::shudder:: ;)

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    2. Boys are way easier - a season of South Park, a season of Family Guy and a prescription to ask me to explain any jokes you did not understand. Done, son, you're welcome

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    3. Nice! I'm sold; I'm trading my girls in for more sons.

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  8. So that's how all that works. Thanks for the explanation!

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    1. You're welcome - anything I can do to make something even more awkward and disgusting than it already was!

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  9. Interesting timing as I just posted "Girl Parts, Boy Parts" about you know what. Must be something in the water I guess. Hmmmm, you should revisit that one before too long as you really don't want an ER visit involving tampon removal from a non-hoo hoo area. Just sayin.

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  10. Um, hey you Mommas of boys...You really think you are in the clear? Oh, wait, do you have those kinds of boys who DON'T walk in on you in the bathroom? You do? Then you can pass this story over...the rest of you, gather round, because this is a true telling-your-boy-about-girl-bits-story:

    My 4 Yo (yes, FOUR) son walked in on me changing a, well, heavy tampon (I swear, that's as gross as this gets-I hope. I may have a different frame of reference in regards to gross). He stopped. He looked. He pointed. Then he looked up at me with a visage of sheer horror. Now, in his few years, he equates copious amounts of blood with a major boo boo. He probably thought I was going to die. (Sorry, I guess it did get a little more gross).

    So, I had to very quickly explain that it didn't hurt, I was OK, this was totally normal for adult girls, and it was a cushion for a baby if I decided to have another one. Then we got into the "How Does a Baby Get in There" conversation. Mind you, I was sitting on the Loo the whole time.

    Sigh...I don't know who is scarred more deeply, me or him...or my 2 YO who was looking on and listening in rapt attention to this whole conversation.

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    1. Er, the blood was a cushion. Not the tampon. Oh, and they both think panty liners (a staple in my wardrobe, thanks to the two of them blowing out my vagina) are Mommy diapers. Um, they sort of are, I guess...

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    2. Bwahahahahaha!!!! Oh, Cat, I'm so sorry - but I don't know if I'm sorrier about your story or the fact that I'm laughing at it so hard! ;) Then the idea that the tampon was the baby cushion (hang on, still laughing...). That was priceless.

      Ah, the vagina blowout. I know it well. I wish I'd been wiser in my youth so I would've bought stock in Always. ;)

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    3. I'm a Carefree Gal. Yet, remarkably, I don't feel all that free. Especially when the kids coax me to jump in their splash pool fully clothed (not that I needed much encouragement on a 95+ degree day), completely forgetting to take my "diaper" off. Um, EW!!

      But THAT is another story for another time. I'm pretty sure I have grossed out your reading audience enough for one evening!

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    4. "In the event of an emergency, your underwear may be used as a floatation device." :)

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  11. Oh my gosh, so funny! And the comments are a hoot too! Dear Lord, the things we have to tell our children. When my daughter was 12 and got her first period (we'd already discussed it all), she bemoaned, "how am I ever going to work this into my life?!?!" :-)

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    1. Ha! Poor girl, that's something we all wonder. Please have her get in touch with me if she ever figures that one out!

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  12. Oh my gosh!!! Too funny! Those conversations are so awkward, and funny and sweet and inevitable all rolled into one!

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    1. Well said! They sure are, especially that "inevitable" part (sigh).

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  13. You were right, as I still wish I didn't know. Is it too early to give her, "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret"????

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    1. I've often wished Judy Blume lived in my linen closet for just these types of emergencies.

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  14. Oh, this made me laugh so hard...and made me thankful I have a boy.

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    1. Just wait - boys aren't that much easier. ;)

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  15. I so relate to this. Of all the things in my purse, why do we have to discuss my tampon???? oy.

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    1. Right? How do they know? With the crinkly wrapper and odd shape, they probably assume it's some delicious treat that we never let them have - which might explain the assumption that we eat them...

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  16. OMG you eat it???? I was on the phone and exploded with laughter. Poor customer service lady on the phone. That is so hysterical!!!

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    1. Hahaha!! I hope you didn't have to explain why you were laughing. :)

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  17. Umm...I was with you in sex ed... and we were a little preoccupied with flirting with the teacher (Bobo) as I recall. Ahh...the memories. This post makes me dread the upcoming talks with my three daughters that are sure to come. For now I can still get by with saying those "things" are Mommy's diapers. :)

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    1. I'm literally laughing out loud - Bobo!!! How could I forget that??? I guess that explains why I'm so unprepared to explain it to anyone else. :) And around here, half the time some of those things *are* Mommy's diapers, so it's really not even a lie. :)

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  18. Love, Love, LOVE this!!! HILARIOUS!! You were one of the most clicked link at last week's #findingthefunny! We're featuring you tomorrow, and I'm pinning this. Thanks for linking up!

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    1. THANK YOU, Anna! That's such great news, and a pretty big honor to be among the most clicked on the funniest link-up EVAH! :)

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  19. Good job, Robyn. I'd say you aced this. Can't wait for the update in a few years when eating the tampon may prove to be ineffective?? ;)

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    1. If it DOES work I'm going to be so mad I haven't been eating them all along!

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  20. My husband had 'the talk' with our oldest, a boy. Next in line is my 8 year old daughter, and I know that one will be up to me. Yikes! I cringe thinking about it!

    I found you on Finding the Funny, and now am a new follower in GFC. Great stuff!

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    1. Ack, good luck with that chat - I hate to say it, but you're right to cringe. ;)

      Thank you so much for following - I'm happy you're here!

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  21. Too funny! My girls have seen my tampons lots of times, but fortunately haven't been that curious about them (yet)!

    Visiting from Mama Kat's!

    Lemon Drop Pie

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    1. Good luck! Here's hoping you're more prepared than I was. :)

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  22. I am lucky...my boys 10 and 6 leave me alone when I go to the bathroom,always have. I have no idea how I trained them that way. My 10yr old got the sex talk from his dad, my 5yr old girl had this fun tampon talk with her momma (when she sees mine she always feels the need to tell me that it is called a tampon but leaves it at that) But...I do have a 2yr old daughter that I get to look forward to this conversation with! One out of four not bad odds though!!

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    1. That is a pretty good percentage. Just make sure the 2yo goes to public school - if your school system is anything like ours, she'll know more about it than we do by second grade and you can skip the talk completely! ;)

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  23. I am laughing SOOOOOOOOOOOO very hard right now. I talked to my oldest at around 7 when I noticed breast development (and instantly said KILL ME NOW!). Her period started at 10 (THE HELL?) so we've been down this road. My middle girl, at 9, I still haven't spoken to (though she knows her sister uses the pads for something mysterious). I don't want it to be a mystery, and I know she knows more than what I've told her thanks to The Care and Keeping of You so it's more on me just sitting down and getting it all out.

    I wish all we had to do with the tampon was eat it. I would gladly opt for that route.

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    1. Wouldn't that be so much easier???

      It terrifies me how young this starts for some girls - your poor girl starting at 10?!? Ugh. Luckily I was a late bloomer, which was horrible at the time when I was so eager to "bloom," but serves me well now knowing that it means my daughters probably will be, too.

      (And if that's just an old wives tale, please let me live in my comfortable state of ignorant bliss!)

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    1. Thank you! Glad you got a giggle. ;)

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  25. So funny!

    I was all ready to say that I am happy to be the mother of boys... But then after reading the comments I realized that these conversations are inevitable.

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    1. It's true - unfortunately, none of us are safe!

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  26. "You eat it?" Bahahahah! That is so brilliant! I can't wait to have this talk just to see what my daughter comes up with. Congrats. You made me look forward to talking about tampons with my kid.

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    1. Just be sure to put your game face on - it's a situation ripe for inappropriate laughing. :)

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  27. OMG this is hysterical!!! I have a 21 year old and went through the whole diagram, this is what you do, the angle at which....blah, blah, blah but that was all at 13 and then finally 15 when the time actually came. I can't believe she said "You eat it" but that's 7 for ya!!! Fantastic tale that she will tell once she's a mom...maybe!

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    1. Argggg, I forgot I'll have to explain the angle! You know, it's all sort of automatic at this point, sort of like long division, which is another thing I can't explain because I've known how to do it for too long.

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  28. Oh, God, I think I must still be so immature...at that point, I would've said, "Yes. You eat it. Next topic." Too funny.

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    1. I wanted to say that you eat it, just so I didn't have to say what you REALLY do, and also because I wish we did just have to eat them. ;)

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  29. This literally made me laugh so hard! I can't stop even as I'm typing! I never knew I'd been using tampons the wrong way all along!

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    1. It's a little bit of a relief, isn't it? I've gotten to where I even snack on the "lites" between periods. ;)

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  30. I had that talk about 11 years ago with my daughter, but we had to go through the whole anatomical process. Shocked and horrified I thought the whole ordeal was over; until, later that night,she threw open the shower door and yelled at the top of her lungs, "Mama, I found my baby hole." My husband was standing at the sink at the time brushing his teeth. He survived the heart attack, but just barely

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    1. The laugh I'm having right now - tears streaming down my face and everything - makes the trauma of the conversation I had with my daughter totally worth it. THANK YOU!

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  31. Ow ow ow! My lips are chapped and are now in complete pain from all the laughter at reading this post and the subsequent comments! The "baby hole" comment took the cake!

    As for me, I've got 3 year old twins. One boy, one girl. Double whammy! And so far they still bathe together. We've already had quite a few interesting conversations in the bathtub. "Mommy, why my penis get bigger?" Or how about when my son was washing himself and his sister offered to help? My favorite though, is "Boys pee out their penis, girls pee out their butt." Tame, I know, in comparison to what is to come... *sigh*

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    1. Hahaha! Girls have such a hard time figuring out the whole butt versus baby hole thing. :) I'm not sure which one of the twins you'll have a tougher time with, though - good luck!

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  32. Haha! I love it. My 7-year old daughter has known about "the monthly" for awhile now as she is old beyond her years and always has to know EVERYTHING. we have talked about the period and where babies come from and HOW they come out. Whew! But the most uncomfortable, yet mildly hilarious conversation we had recently was when she asked me how two ladies who are married or are girlfriends could have a baby. I'm probably a bit more open with her than I should have been but she caught me off guard so we talked about adoption and surrogate parents and HOW THE GUYS GET SPERM OUT FOR THE DOCTOR!!!! Not vividly mind you, but still....I think I'm still traumatized from that conversation.

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    1. You SEE? This is why the topic terrifies me! As if the standard Talk isn't bad enough, there are so many birds and the bees side topics that jump out at any moment without any possibility I'll be prepared.

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  33. Omg. Laughing so hard over my b_fast! and let me just say, in my experience, having that chat with my daughter (now 9) was WAY easier than having that chat with my oldest son (now 12)
    That chat was the stuff horror movies are made of (it was further complicated at the time because we had a gay neighbor-and he had questions) I'm breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking about it, and i have 2 more boys to get through!

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    1. I can't even imagine! And my problem is compounded by the fact that I babble when I'm nervous - who KNOWS what I might end up telling my kids when they start asking those kinds of questions?!?

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  34. Too funny! I just had my fifth baby, and my oldest is almost 7 (a boy). I dread these questions from my kids and have usually been able to avoid them, but I'm nursing the baby, and my 2 year old girl says the baby is getting fed by my armpits. I just can't correct her!

    And another good one--a couple of years ago when pregnant with my fourth and reading a story to my kindergarten class, one girl suddenly pipes up and says "My mom said babies come out of your peepee." Ummmm, awkwardness! Not about to go into the where babies come from talk with 22 kindergartners, I just said "We'll, not mine." And went on with the story. I have c-sections, so technically, I wasn't even lying! And the c-section scar is doing me well in putting off that whole talk with my own kids too!

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    1. I never thought to use my scar as emotional protection - genius!!!

      I love the armpit story! My daughter knows it's not my armpits, but she caught sight of me nursing one time, looked down at the front of her own shirt, and said, "I'm NEVER gonna be able to feed a baby!" Ack, there's that puberty stuff again... ;)

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  35. My (then) 5 year old daughter came into the laundry room as I was doing laundry one day with a tampon, asking what it was. Totally mortified that she was even asking the question, I panicked and told her it was something big people use. She asked how it worked, so I told her that when it gets wet, it gets bigger (and now that I'm typing that, that sounds totally vulgar). She was satisfied with the answer and left the room. A few minutes later I hear her telling her 8 year old sister "I know what it is!! You know those washcloths we got at Sea World? It's like that!" She was talking about the little dehydrated type washcloths that you put in water and they become a regular sized washcloth. I couldn't stop laughing!

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    1. Bwahaha! I love the way kids think! Except now I'm picturing those expanding sponges that're shaped like dinosaurs, and I might have to switch to pads. ;)

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  36. I was laughing my head off reading this post. As a 20 year old, I am still a tad young to be thinking of having a birds and bees talk with my non-existant children, but I do remember when I was given the talk. I think you should pat yourself on the back for doing a better job than my parents did! But I guess I turned out all right in the end. :)

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    1. Well, if you were able to overcome the trauma of getting the talk, I guess there's hope that the damage I've done can be undone! That's a relief. :)

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  37. I have a 8yr old and 6yr old, both girls. They are always following each other around. So where one is the other isn't far away. The oldest walked in on me on a heavy flow day and her eyes just about did the cartoon blow out. Then she proceeded to scream that I had lost a lot of blood and that "Daddy needed to come help". My Youngest then came running around the corner with tears welling up in her eyes asking if I was going to die. My husband now panicked, came running from the other room white as a ghost. When he saw me sitting on the toilet and the two girls looking terrified he started laughing. Laughing!! Now I have two very confused girls who seem to think that their Mom is dying and their Dad has gone crazy. Then he hug the girls, and says " Mommy is OK, this is normal and will happen to you when you get older too.". Then he takes them out of the room and lets me finish. When I came out he was waiting with the girls who were now horrified even more and tells me in a confused voice that they have more questions. OF COURSE THEY DO!!!
    First question was "is this how adults die". I spent a couple of hours calming them down and explaining every thing. Now they even try to take care of me during Aunt flows visit.

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    1. Hahahahaha! Good move, to tell them it's going to happen to them too! ;) This is hilarious - I would tell my kids I was on my period eeeevery day if they took care of me.

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    2. they seem OK now but it was an interesting experience. and my 6yr old's comment of surprise "that is where we come from!" as she point between my legs. And my oldest was excited and asked for a baby brother. The help is sweet but I have to say it creates more work from the mess they leave behind. Great memories to look back on though.

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