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Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Trying Period

Snuggled cosy under her covers, M asked me last night, "Amma, what is a period? Not the kind that comes at the end of a sentence, but the kind that happens to girls?"
I launch into partial OB-GYNE mode, trying to explain with enough but not too explicit detail to prevent more inquisition. I was still unprepared for what came next.
"Do cows have periods?"
"Let's check on Google tomorrow. I don't know the answer to that one. Though I suppose that they might have something similar."
"Is that what the udders are for?"
"No, the udders are there to provide milk for calves, like breasts in humans."
And she went to sleep shortly later.
The next morning, as I sat at the computer, "Amma, can we check now whether cows have periods?"
Google to the rescue.
They sometimes have a discharge which is called a period, but for many animals, the endometrium is reabsorbed by the body, rather than being shed as it is in humans. Cows don't have real periods, period.
And that is how not to have a cow when your 8 year old asks you the 'big questions'.

5 comments:

Ruchira said...

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. That's what mothers are for. Better you than hushed gossip in the girls' bathroom with ill-informed peers.

I talked "birds & bees" with my children early just so they get the right facts. In our case, my husband too is very candid with the kids which I believe is a bit unusual. But I was happy to have the adult reinforcement. So, my kids got it from both barrels.

Wait now for more to come.

Sujatha said...

This came out of a sleepover she went to at her friend's house, so who knows what was discussed by the way of hushed gossip. It isn't that unusual these days for menarche to set in early, even for the 9 and 10 year-olds who form a large part of her class, what with hormones in milk, beef etc.

Sujatha said...

Well, I learnt something too. Not just M. :)

Amit said...

Is it the right age to talk to them about rBGH? ;)

Sujatha said...

And scare her out of drinking cow's milk? After all the struggles I went through to get her accustomed to drinking at least a glassful a day? Not yet-she's got some more growing to do before I let her morph into a total vegan ;)