While pondering on the issue of sharing sensitive information about the reproductive system with your growing child, my mind automatically veered towards my childhood. This is a kind of metric standard with me wherein I compare the happenings of my growing up years with that of my child. By doing that one automatically gets the answers to innumerable and difficult decisions that is parenting.
My parent were quiet but social people. There were innumerable family friends whom we met at frequent intervals. I often remember picking up my books while going out to visit one of them. There all the kids would sit together and study, with the elder ones helping out the younger lot. This exchange of knowledge was done on many levels, not all linked to the studies. So as my circle of acquaintance was not restricted to kids exactly my age, I gained a lot of knowledge.
I still remember the vivid lecture I got from the eldest daughter of a family friend. She explained in a lot of detail all about mensuration and how to deal with it. After that there was a checking of facts.
She: Do you have your periods?
Me: err..What? No…
She: Hmmmm how old are you?
She: (Nodding sagely) There is time…
Those were the good old days (I am sounding like my grandma) where girls did not mature that fast. Now the girls are known to start menstruating at 10. What does that indicate – that a child of 10 is ready to reproduce? The mind boggles.
Anyways after this lecture there was a statutory warning.
She: You will have them soon. And then your mom will tell you all this. There is no need to jump up and down and say you know it all. Just sit quietly and nod your head.
Some months passed and there was no advent of puberty for me. So I went back to didi, my fount of knowledge, the encyclopaedia.
Me: What does it mean when one does not have periods?
She: Usually it means you are going to have a baby.
Obviously the question and the answer were in absolutely different perspective. But that got me immensely worried. For months I was worried to death that I may produce a baby. I even checked in the toilet bowl to see whether I had dropped one there or something. When my periods arrived was I relieved.