When I asked Youngest if I could talk publicly about her first menstruation, this was her response:
“Hey Youngest! Can I tell Twitter you got your period?”
“Uhh…yeah sure, whatevs!”
My little menstruator everybody.
— 🎃Bloody Mary Q.🎃 (@MaryQConfesses) October 12, 2017
She’s not shy about her first period, and we made sure she wouldn’t be. Some people menstruate. It’s a fact of life. My daughter is now one of them.
She just turned 11 two weeks ago and we knew this was going to happen soon. She’s been wearing bras for quite a while now. She’s almost as tall as me. She once proudly boasted to a family friend when she was 9, “I’m going to get my period on my birthday!” We tried to explain that was unlikely, but she was still disappointed when it didn’t happen.
She was so excited about getting her period, I started planning 2 years ago. I didn’t want to do a big “period party” for her. For one thing, that’s just…not us. For another, she’s home schooled, so she wouldn’t have many friends to invite, and family live far away. Still, I wanted to do something, so I got her a gift basket of period-friendly items.
I love gift baskets. I also have a somewhat unhealthy fixation on wicker baskets in general. So when I had a spare basket lying around, I imagined filling it with lots of useful items for Youngest. I picked things up here and there over the course of 18 months or so, to minimize the hit to our budget. Here’s what I included, in case you’re curious:
Reusable and Disposable Pads
Youngest and I have already talked about what she’d want to use for her first flow, including menstrual cups and tampons. She said she definitely wanted to start with pads. She’s still uneasy about the idea of inserting things into her vagina, especially since she’s clumsy: “What if I drop it in the toilet?”
For disposable pads, I chose a variety of absorbancies of thin pads in the brands I’m most familiar with, including grocery-store branded panty liners.
For reusable pads, I chose Lunapads. I got her a pair of MAIA period panties when they were on sale. They work fine on their own for lighter flow, but has straps for cloth inserts for heavier flow. During another sale, I picked up an intro kit, a variety pack of various sizes of liners, pads, and panty liners.
Since my sex toy party days, I’ve been friends with a lot of direct sales folks. One direct sales company sells jewelry sets for $5. This allowed me to get “grown-up” jewelry for cheap when a friend hosted a party, and included both earrings and a necklace.
Someone at some point gave me a bracelet that I never even opened. I don’t wear bracelets, so I tossed it in the basket. Luckily, it matched the $5 necklace and earring set.
One day I stumbled upon this site which has prize-inside bath bombs in various shapes. Youngest has always wanted to try bath bombs, and I want to encourage her to bathe while on her period (children try to get out of bathing as a general rule), so I picked a few up.
Bath & Body Gift Set
I think one year around Christmastime, the grocery store had a bin of bath & body gift sets, full of sample-sized goodies. I picked up this Burt’s Bees Set that included lip balm, hand salve, face wash, foot cream, and body lotion.
When her grandma heard I was putting this gift basket together, she graciously sent us a heating pad for cramps.
I had planned to take all the individual pieces and arrange them, wrapping the whole thing in cellophane, but I never quite got around to it. It sat in my office and in the back of my mind.
So last week, when Carrie was traveling, and Youngest took a bathroom break during school, I was completely unprepared for her to come out of the bathroom with a serious look on her face.
I knew what it was that moment. Sheepishly, I grabbed the basket full of items still in their shipping packages, and presented it to her. She was excited about it, but she was more focused on getting a pad in her underwear at that moment. We hugged, and she chose a disposable pad. She fumbled with the wings and asked me to help her in the bathroom. Then she was ready to go through her goodies and open them. She was so excited, and a bit scared.
We needed to go to the grocery store after school anyway, so I took her with and let her pick out her favorite salty and spicy snacks. At the checkout, we were asked if we wanted to buy a little bag of mini doughnuts for a dollar. I said yes and let her pick between powdered and chocolate. She chose chocolate.
She spent the afternoon watching cartoons and eating her snacks, with all the cuddles she could ask for.
And as luck would have it, she didn’t need the heating pad after all. Lucky kid.