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Raising Little Heathens

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MOON TIME AND MAIDENHOOD

The women in my family reach their first bloods early. I was 10. I had just seen Peter Pan. It was traumatic!

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The arrival of first bloods, sprouting breasts and hair, a passion for totally inappropriate romances and a mouth beyond belief, can be disconcerting for parents looking forward to a couple more years of childhood. Just hang in there. Remember what you did to your parents and know that this passes -- in about 10 years. Knowing the imminent signs, I attacked the change vigorously. Both my daughters were dancers, taking classes at, not a ballet school, but ďan academy." This meant five days a week, uniforms, and eating disorders.

It was a given that they would not use pads but would need to use tampons. They had seen girls using pads under their leotards, and decided death was a better choice.

Of course they knew the mechanics of their bodies. My older daughter asked the appropriate questions at the appropriate times and received appropriate answers. My younger daughter listened to every word and knew absolutely everything way too early. But then, my youngest was born a teenager and it was just a matter of chronology for her to catch up with herself.

My approach to masturbation was to tell them to do it well and enjoy it thoroughly. I suggested that they would not be able to advise someone else as to pleasing them without knowing how to do it themselves. This advice created the need for a short lecture on keeping it a private activity out of courtesy to other family members.

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