Tampon logic

tamponHere’s something they don’t tell you how to deal with in parenting books – what do you say to your 5-year old son when he goes rummaging through your purse and pulls out a tampon, then holds it up inquisitively and looks at you and asks, “Mommy, what is this for?”

This happened to me the other day. When it did, I literally froze for an instant while I digested the moment. It was like when you fall off a bike and it only takes a few seconds but while it’s happening it feels like slow motion and forever. I thought to myself, “Hmmm, this here is a bit of a doozy. How the heck do you explain to a kindergartener what menstruation is?”

I could have lied, of course. That is a God given right of any parent. It would have been easier. For a few brief seconds, I pondered the possible answers: “Oh, it’s a new kind of extra long chapstick that comes wrapped in paper” or “It’s an early Christmas present that I haven’t opened yet.”

But I didn’t. For one, that would have immediately triggered Kaiden’s curiosity and he would have wanted to open the thing. I decided, instead, that I was up for the challenge of trying to explain periods and tampons and vaginas in the simplest terms possible. Simple enough for a 5-year old boy.

It was a lot harder that I thought.

This is how I started: “Well Kaiden. You see, you know that Mommies grow babies in their tummies, but when there is no baby in there, then they bleed out their putter.” (Yup, that’s what we call it in our family, courtesy of a British nanny growing up. Rhymes with “cooter.”)

Kaiden looked at me like I had been smoking crack. I thought a clarification was in order.

“Well,” I continued, “Mommies bleed because the  blood was meant to feed the baby, but if there’s no baby, then the blood just comes out. So that’s what the tampons are for – we put it up our putter so we don’t bleed everywhere.”

Kaiden then gave me a look that only a boy could give, a mixture of total disgust and “you gotta be crazy.” And then he said, “Wouldn’t it be better just to stick it up your nose?”

Don’t you just love boy logic? So I answered, “Yes, Kaiden, maybe it would be better to stick it up my nose.”

So next time if you see me walking around with a string hanging out of my nostril, don’t freak out. It’s just that time of the month.

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13 thoughts on “Tampon logic

  1. Hahaha oh my gosh, that’s awesome. It reminds me of a tampon story I have….an experience with a boyfriend of mine when that pesky string slipped out of my bikini and the dude YANKED IT, thinking it was a loose thread from my SPANDEX swimsuit. EMBARRASSING, yes, but let’s just say that the relationship didn’t last very long.

    I loved looking at photos of your kids this weekend!

  2. Classic! Explaining those sorts of things is so difficult sometimes, isn’t it? I exposed my oldest son to sex talk from a very young age and I think by now, he’s 14, he’s more of an expert than most kids. But he probably still doesn’t know much about tampons, I never thought to explain that!

  3. Oh my is that classic!!! I am rolling reading that. And thanks for the lesson on what periods are all about. I had no idea what the bleeding really meant.

    And wow, that Barbetti has quite the tampon story. Yikes!!!

    • Not sure if that’s the best explanaition of what the bleeding really is, but it’s the best one I could come up with for a 5 year old.
      As for Barbetti, if you read my previous post about “What I learned from 16 strangers,” go to the story about the strip club. That’s her story. Hillarious.

  4. I, too, am laughing my ass off right now reading this!!! That’s classic!!!! I do love the quick response on your part as to why women bleed–so funny!! Great post!!! It gives me great ideas in case I ever get asked that, which I am sure I will!

  5. Haha! I’m learning lately just how simply their little minds work. I was talking to a girlfriend about my husband’s kidney stone when her little girl overheard and questioned me. “What passed? What did he pass?” I looked quizzically at my friend (a nurse) who just said to her daughter, “a little stone. It’s like a little tiny rock inside of his body.” I had no idea how she was going to respond to that, when she says, “oh. I have one of those. See? right here in my finger. I had a little bump right there, but oh hey look! Now it’s gone.” End of story. Moving on. I guess the best way to explain these things is the quickest and most direct because their brains always take off in another direction anyway.

  6. Thanks again for making me feel queasy so early in the morning.

    Last time it was your post about stinky socks. I was eating a salad with pungent blue cheese…

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