The Puberty Video’s at the End of the Year

Puberty is coming to my house.  

I have a fifth grader and the puberty video’s at the end of the year. But already things are happening.  

I’m going to have to go to the training bra section of the neighborhood Macys. I should probably invest in the Kotex First Time Period Kit. I remember when I got my First Time Period Kit circa 1976…

Oh, Puberty you cruel mistress!

My kit sat on the uppermost shelf in my bedroom closet like a debutante waiting for her coming-out ball.  

Sometimes, I locked my bedroom door, climbed up on my desk chair and took the kit down, placing it on the center of my Holly Hobbie bedspread.  

Inside were objects that looked like relics from the Spanish Inquisition. 

  • Sharp clips, pins and pulleys.  
  • One Kotex Maxi pad the size of a Cuban life raft for those heavier flow days.  
  • An assortment of tampons for those girls who would grow up to be Women of Loose Morals.

It was the summer of my twelfth year when I succumbed to womanhood. It happened ingloriously during my annual camping trip to Lake Cachuma with my grandparents.  

I sat poolside with a pad the size of a Boeing 747 strapped between my thighs as my male cousins frolicked winsomely in the Lake Cachuma 58 degree un-chlorinated pool.  

If only they’d contracted tuberculosis!

I frequently snuck off with my feminine protection supplies to the public bathroom in front of the entire San Juan Boy’s Detention Facility camped just opposite our site.

 One of the boys looked like Matt Dillon in Little Darlings.

Cramps paralyzed me as my trail horse Champion broke into a jouncing trot down the Rancho Oso wash. Sweet Mother of God, the indignities!

Then the unimaginable happened. The very next month I got my period. Again!

I cornered my mother in the laundry room. “What’s happening? Why am I having another period? This is madness!”

“Honey,” she said, in the resigned tone reserved for women during the Great Depression, “You’ll get your period. Every month. For the rest of your life. Well, at least until menopause.”

“What? Nooooooo!” I shrieked. “Why do women have to menstruate? It’s not fair! What do men get?”

“Well,” said my thrice married mother, “hopefully prostate cancer.”

And now as I finally dash headlong toward menopause, I’ll have to hand off the furry, sweaty, mucky, achey, ripe-with-possibility baton of fertility to my firstborn.  

I’m sorry, sweet girl. Being a woman can be a bitch!

22 thoughts on “The Puberty Video’s at the End of the Year”

  1. Wow, did that bring back memories of those horrible pads with the garter belt thing to hold them in place. Invariably, they would slide around and wind up near my back. I always felt like everyone knew I was on my period. It was mortifying. I remember when my best friend finally used a tampon I was so shocked! It took about a year of begging before my mom would let me use them. Now, I’m going through menopause. Yes, it’s nice to not have periods but now I have the hot flashes, etc. Yes, it’s fun to be a woman!!!

    1. I will never forget an incident with a pad that crept under my white pants to the middle of my left buttock. I’m fairly certain my high school crush Ed Bushor saw it. I suffer PTSD from that event.

  2. In my family’s twisted Jewish traditions (I don’t know if this applies to every Jewish family or not) when a girl get’s her first period, her mother slaps her across the face. Imagine my surprise, that lovely May afternoon, when I came home from school and was greeted by that!

  3. I was in high school and thumbing through a magazine. There was an ad with a young girl turning to her mom and the caption read, “Does this mean I’m no longer a virgin?” This was for Kotex.

    I didn’t understand for a minute, thought about it, and then realized what it meant.

    I nearly fainted.

  4. I didn’t get my period until I was 15, so for a while I felt so lucky because all my friends got them 2-3 years before me and don’t hate me, but can’t complaint about my periods, i hardly notice them.

  5. Glad I have boys is all I have to say. I got mine on the last day of 4th grade. Yes, 4th grade and the conversation I had with my mother went like this “You’re not dying. Put this on and go to school.”

  6. I remember my first period all too well. I was playing in my living room about to be 13 when I felt a gush of something I had never felt before. Went to the bathroom and low and behold there it was. I called my Mom at work and told her I got “It.” She laughed and told me to put a pad on on… that was it…. a life of bloody doom. :/

  7. I’ve wracked my brain for a good way to sell the whole period experience for my girls. I don’t want it to just be negative. But the best I’ve come up with is some neutral mumbo jumbo. Some people go all new agey, but I just can’t bring myself to call it anything other than what it is–fairly inconvenient on a good month.

  8. Oh, this brought back memories.

    It was the summer between 7th and 8th grade … and I had two periods.


    I don’t know why I thought I would not get a second one.

    What was I thinking??

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