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'.