I am the mother of a daughter who is aging at an usually fast rate, or so it seems. I obsess over impending milestones: periods. I think about the upcoming talks: condoms. I am pre-saddened by the certain disappointments: underage drinking. I wake in the middle of the night about probable near-death scares: suffering through driving instruction.

In short, I am the mother of a pre-teen.

I have been planning the period talk in my mind for the last 33 years. Why 33 when my daughter is clearly still young? Because the talk I received about Aunt Flo was so traumatic, I vowed that day to right the wrongs. To stop the cycle (yes, I just said that). I vowed to forge ahead on into that dark night… or that dark red spot. You pick.

To say that I was raised in a non-traditional household might imply something different these days. In my childhood, it meant that I was raised by my single father. My mother is alive, but she lived in a different city for most of my formative years. The bulk of my parenting was my father’s doing. The bulk of my therapy was my mother’s doing, but that is a story for another day.

Being a girl raised by a single father has its advantages and disadvantages. Advantage number one is that my father didn’t fully understand me, so I got away with more than I could have with my mother. That my father didn’t understand me is also dis-advantage number one.

The bulk of my parenting was my father’s doing. The bulk of my therapy was my mother’s doing, but that is a story for another day.

Case in point. Periods.

I was really late getting my period, and I think my father assumed that I had already had it and was dealing accordingly without parental intervention. So when I announced through my panic room the locked bathroom door that I needed something, hysterical giggles from my father was the response, and it was followed closely with ‘can’t you just use toilet paper?’ Not according to the TV, which was my source of information. I needed expensive products with packaging, wings and marketing! But toilet paper was all I had.

I must have put my hand up 20 times that day at school checking and rechecking the status of my make-shift feminine hygiene. It was exciting. It was stressful. But it was nothing compared to what I would encounter that evening.

You see, my dad enjoyed the company of much younger women. Who could blame him? He also enjoyed the company of his buddies which were all my new uncles. His group of friends met almost daily to play cards at the strip joint. Normal? In my family, yes. So my father’s access to younger women was from, you guessed it, the peeler bar.

Since my dad had these wonderful friends, he knew who to call when I needed it most: a stripper.

When I arrived home from school I was greeted with a fully clothed friend of my dad’s and my dad nowhere to be found. I don’t remember her name but I do remember her advice. “Shove this super extra thick giant cotton broom handle up your vagina and it will stop the blood. Do you know where your vagina is? Good luck kid.” Sheer genius. Smile, nod and back away from the 20-year-old. Enter the panic room and get some toilet paper for those tears and those panties.

Since my dad had these wonderful friends, he knew who to call when I needed it most: a stripper.

Now I take you to the other advantage of being raised by a single father. Deception = dollars. When the lovely girl left the house having performed her civic duty, on her way to perform her next civic duty, I turned to my father and asked him to drive me to the drug store. He asked how much I needed. I, of course, didn’t know but I seized the opportunity. I asked for $50. It took me forever to read all of the packaging on the products while my father grew more and more impatient in the car. I veered away from the tampons because the scar was still fresh. My father never asked for the change and I never offered. We returned home to the sanctity of my panic room in silence. I felt that the change was my payment for pain and suffering. The silence was his payment. Come to think of it, maybe therapy is more my dad’s fault after all.

So my mantra is simple. I will go bravely into that good talk about Aunt Flo. I will be prepared for that locked bathroom door. I will refrain from introducing the Super-Plus-Ultra the first day. I will not giggle, despite the temptation. I will survive, but more importantly, my daughter will survive. There will be no silence and there will be no change to discuss.

There quite possibly could be tissue and tears but they will be mine because next on the list is condoms.


Kristine Laco shares the stories we all have with a splash of sarcasm, a pinch of bitch and a ton of wine at Adulting In Progress dot com. Her middle finger is her favourite and she lives by the motto that if you are not yelling at your kids, you are not spending enough time with them. She takes selfies at the gyno. Taco Tuesday is her gospel. Reality TV is real folks. She is making turning 50 a job because she doesn't have one.


  1. Hoo boy. I know how you feel – last week I had the tampon “how to” talk with my older daughter (she’s had it for over a year now, but pad-use only), which ended up turning into a complete anatomy lesson where words like “clitoris” (it’s basically the equivalent of the penis in terms of sensitivity! Oh yes, those words really did escape my lips omfg omfg omfg) and “labia” were thrown around, and no – there’s no way the tampon can actually go up your pee-hole, don’t worry. Yes, I swear -there’s no way it will fit.

    The longer we sat, the less awkward it was – the conversation will flow (pardon the pun) and it gets easier as it goes, I promise.

    At the end, I encouraged her to use a mirror and check herself out, and to feel around and get familiar with herself so she could find her vagina with confidence. (Sigh. My baby is growing up.)

    All of this in preparation for a weekend trip to a hotel with an indoor pool, and her period had the nerve to not even show up in the first place.

    Stay strong, lady! You got this.

    • My daughter is a competitive dancer so I think the tampon convo won’t be waiting a year. I plan to print your comment and just go with that. Sounded fun 🙂

  2. OMG, loved this for so many reasons! I have to write about mine, almost as epic as yours! On another level, I managed a strip club in DC for a couple of years (I couldn’t dance, too modest) and OMG, the strippers….just brought back several funny memories for me. Glad your daughter will get the “goods” straight from you. Don’t forget the under-ripe (super important!) banana for your condom talk and demo!! Hahahaha…thanks <3

  3. foreverscared Reply

    Oh goodness I never got the period talk from my mother. I will never forget the day I was at school in class and other students were laughing around me and pointing at the floor under me. Yea I bleed not only out of my vagina but onto the desk chair which eventually went to the ground below me. I think from the sheer terror on my face my teacher knew I needed some TLC and responded accordingly. I was nine at the time. My daughter will get the sexual education she needs from me.

    • Nine!! That is crazy. I am so glad I didn’t have it at school but my bestie did wearing white pants. She used my hoodie as a wrap. I was glad I noticed it for her before it puddled. Poor you!

  4. And these are the times when I’m sooo glad I have two boys. If I did have a daughter, I’d hope I do a little better job at preparing her than my mother did me. I know my mom did the best she could, but she failed to provide details. I remember I was so baffled when the blood didn’t stop. I didn’t realize you bleed for X days straight. Oh and I remember the cramps were terrible.

  5. Great post! You have a great choice for a period product too! Thanks for sharing. Your story about your Dad not asking for a change is funny and entertaining, though!

Write A Comment

Pin It