Periods. Uncomfortable, embarrassing and lasting for what can feel like a decade. And that’s just “the talk” you have to have with your daughter.
Awkward expressions burst out of your mouth like machine gun fire—phrases like, “you’re growing up now”, “soon you’ll be a woman” and “it’s a natural and beautiful part of adulthood”. Seemingly unable to stop them, the clichés keep coming at an alarming frequency, no matter how low your daughter slides down in her chair, or how red her face is growing by the minute.
But now, fear not, because help is at hand. From the makers of the “normal Barbie”, Lammily bring you a “Period Party” accessory kit for your doll to help be part of that often-tricky conversation. The kit includes one pair of panties to fit a Lammily doll, 18 tiny reusable coloured pads and liners to fit into her underwear and a booklet and calendar that explains all your kid needs to know about menstruation.
Predictably, the reaction to the kit has been mixed, with many claiming that it is too early for girls to be learning about periods and that any child playing with a doll is too young to have to worry about menstruation. But if we wait until the eve of puberty, aren’t we risking letting our daughters find out for themselves, too late, what its all about and why it’s happening, in a toilet at school?
There’s probably no one perfect time to tell your daughter about it. And to avoid having painfully squirmy moments teaching them about the birds and the bees we should just answer their questions when and as they come, no matter what age that might be at, as honestly as we can. If we try to value their inquisitive natures and not treat the whole issue as if it’s taboo or shameful, then maybe we wouldn’t have to have these sit down talks in the first place.
It seems that everyone has an opinion on it, with Sharon Osbourne asking on The Talk why we don’t just have a doll for boys that masturbate, if that’s what everyone is doing too! However Aisha Tyler, star of CSI and Friends, disagreed noting that with girls getting their periods as young as eight, they are never too young to learn about them and that this is not a topic that lacks relevance. She also argued that Barbie has a boyfriend and drives around in a car, both of which are activities that are usually observed well above the average doll-playing age.
Lammily have even made a hilarious video, showing two parents with their hearts in the right place, desperately trying to make learning about periods cool by dropping a beat and rapping, but mortifying their daughter in the process.
The advantage of the “Period party” kit may even be three-fold. Not only does it give your daughter hands on experience learning about puberty and negate the need for you and your partner to spit rhymes about “surfing the crimson wave”, but it could also help to educate boys about the mysteries behind menstruation.
Though our sons are spared from the monthly cycle, it’s still important that they understand what’s going on, in some capacity. And if I occasionally played with an Action Man to diversify my playtimes, then don’t think I didn’t notice when my older brother scoured furtively through my teen magazines when he thought I wasn’t looking. An open attitude all round can help everyone to feel more at ease about difficult topics, dimish a sense of icky-ness and make something unmentionable, mentionable again.