Before I go any further here, I want you to know that I have permission from my daughter to tell you what I'm about to tell you. I didn't even ask, she offered, saying "Aren't you gonna write about this in your blog?" so here I go.
Leila got her period.
It started like this: A little over a week ago, some girl at school told Leila about a movie called Human Centipede. I'm not going to describe it, except to warn you that you should only look it up if you have a strong stomach and you think poo is funny, which I do. Leila does not have a strong stomach, and gets her lack of poo humor from her father, so she came home from school and bawled her eyes out because just the description of the movie was so disgusting and disturbing. She came completely undone. Then she threw up. Later in the evening, she got over the grossness of the movie by yelling "Bullshit!" in her head whenever she thought about it. She said it made her feel powerful. But she still slept in my bed, just in case, and kept on crying.
The next morning, the crying was back, as was the anxious stomach, and the lack of appetite. She picked at some food, and mostly made it through the day, but she continued to cry - no wait - howl, every afternoon. I kept her home from school one day because she threw up in the morning and I thought she might be sick, but she wasn't. The crying went on for 6 days. She alternated between not knowing why she was crying, and coming up with reasons like: she doesn't want me to ever die; she doesn't ever want to grow up and move out; one day her grandparents will be dead; what if she has an ulcer? She just about broke my heart.
Then she called me at school on Wednesday and said "I got IT" and I prayed that the crying would be over.
Now, getting away from the crying for a second, I have been planning how to celebrate her first period and usher her into young womanhood (ew) since before she was born. My mom's words of wisdom to me on that January 23, 1983 were "Shit. Do you know what to do? Ok, let me know if you need any help." and that was it. No ritual, no nothing, so I always planned to do the opposite. (Rob brought her a pink rose, and she called it her menstrual flower, hence the title of this post. Then he walked around singing "Girl, you'll be a woman soon" by Neil Diamond)
I took Leila out of school the following day (I know, bad school district citizen) and we started by sleeping in, then I took her to get her first mani pedi (which she was so excited about, but then got nervous because she didn't know what to do and couldn't understand the manicurist, and then she realized its all really boring) then we went to lunch, and then we went shopping. When the ladies at the store asked her if it was a school holiday, she told them we had taken the day off because she had "just started her menstrual cycle." And she told everyone who would listen that she had PMS.
Then she cried all the way home, like the pinky-toe piggy. And I'm not talking about gentle weeping, I'm talking screaming, howling, bawling. I made up stories about the guy at In 'n' Out Burger who had sold us our milkshakes to make her laugh (Seth, the In 'n' Out chipmunk man with back acne and super long armpit hair) and that would work for a few seconds, and then she would cry that we were being so mean to Seth. I told her that if, when I died, and they wanted to name a freeway after me, they should name it the Douchebag Memorial Freeway. She thought this was funny, and then cried some more. She cried for another day or two, and then she felt like herself again. Phew.
The period itself was wholly uneventful. It came and went, and we haven't seen it since. But we did buy, like, 10 pair of underpants, just to be on the safe side.
So that was that. Years of planning, and it was a success. Except for the crying. She's back to normal now, and I lied and told her she shouldn't expect to cry for a week every time she gets her period. That ought to hold her for a while. So I guess the next milestone is what? drivers license? first kiss? I'm ready!!!
(if you would like to read about how Leila learned what a period is, go here