Menarche or First Moon

Today my sweet little 10 year old started her period!

I am still in shock, but knew it was coming. She is so young still. I asked her if I should write in the blog about her Menarche, or post it to Facebook, and she said, “Of course mum, do both, it is exciting! I am glad I got it.”

We have had a great outlook on periods in our house. I never complain about getting it and I am happy each time. When I get cramps, I can feel them coming and usually can take my medication before they get too bad. Some days I miss that window and I have to lay down as I get really ill, but I never complain just state what is happening.

She has seen how the process goes through me, we are all very open about it as it is a natural body process. This was all modelling as I wanted her to be excited about getting it as it really is a miracle how our bodies work. I pray she does not get the pain, cold sweats, nausea and sickness like I use to as a teen. My early period days were horrible. Endometriosis is common in my family.

We have had some great conversations about menstruation and the body so it is no wonder that she was looking forward to getting her first moon. I am due tomorrow, so we are in sync as well, which does help.

Brent is amazingly supportive, and always buys my menstrual products and never makes a fuss. He even brings a big block of dark chocolate whenever I ask him to buy them. He also spoils me rotten and sometimes he brings me Baileys ice cream too. I am sure he will spoil Soph as well.

Sophia’s moods lately have been all over the show, but the past two days, she has been super sweet and cuddly and having food cravings like pancakes, so I made them for breakfast. She was stoked when she woke up because of the smell of them cooking.

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I had spoken to her Aunties and cousin in the states, about getting her gifts and a card for her first moon celebration and they mailed them this week, so that is perfect timing. I have told her Nana here in NZ as well, so she will be at the party.

I had a very old Capricorn necklace that was her great grandmother’s that I have been keeping for her for this day, so I gave that to her today, rather than waiting for the party. I know she won’t wear it, she does not like anything around her neck but she tried it on and has put it in her special box for keepsakes. I wanted her to have something today from her Ancestors.

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Brent will take her to lunch this weekend and get her something special, a bracelet or something from him. This is a tradition in my family. My Papa took me to buy a dress when I started, and my step-dad and mother took me for pizza and dancing to the jukebox to celebrate. Both are lovely memories that I cherish.

We will wrap all the gifts when they arrive as well as ours and get or bake a cake, and she wants pizza, so that is very cool. It will just be a small gathering for family.

I will also have a ceremony for her in our Red & Magenta Tent to celebrate her Menarche and welcome her to the Women’s circle.

I will also be letting her join me in the Womb Blessing ceremonies and give her this card. She has been wanting to do them with me for over a year.

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We have been preparing for a while for this day as I started mine at age 11, and her aunties and cousins were all about a similar age or younger, so we knew it could come at a young age for her as well.

She rang daddy and told him and he congratulated her and teased her a bit. Then she told Max when he got home and he ran in his room, then came back out and congratulated her. He had brought her home a slice of apple crumble from cooking class he had made so that was a nice synchronicity. She loved their reactions and giggled at their antics.

Brent will bring home a box of chocolates for her. We already had her products and I have showed her what to do. He is also bring a booklet by Miranda Gray called Let’s Go Menstrual which is a great resource for her. You can get it here by signing up for her newsletter.

Let's Go Menstrual

I have also added Period Tracker App to her phone and will show her how to use it after it is finished charging up. This is a valuable tool in tracking your cycles, symptoms and moods. The logo is a pink flower if you decide to get it. I use it and it is very accurate for me.

So here we are in the next phase of her development already.

She sure is growing up quickly but she will always be my baby.

 

 

 

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Chaotic but we love it

I know I have been slacking on writing here, but we are having so much fun. I will do some backdated posts to try and catch up.

We have been doing more things away from home, my client load has increased since my last event and I am back doing my advocacy work so we are just very busy.

We have started up our Red Tent & Magenta Tents again. This is an all day event once per month. I co-facilitate with my friend’s Joleen and Cheryl for the Women’s Circle. Sophia is the Facilitator for the Girls Circle which she really enjoys. It is amazing how she has blossomed and loves sharing that space and her feelings and thoughts with the other girls.

Sophia helped me design our logo, I absolutely love it.

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I am also a co-facilitator for the Women’s Wisdom Circle, along with Cheryl and Emma one Sunday evening per month. This one is just for the adults and is much more personal and I just love holding space for these amazing women.

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I have started Bellydance classes once per week, with my friend and fellow homeschool/spectrum mom Joleen. Our kids spend an hour with Aunty Jacinta together while we do our class. Joleen and I even bought our own hip scarves. I am also doing my workout video by Dolphina again, which I love. It has been too long. Sophia is not keen yet, but I think she will join me eventually as I keep at it.

I also am doing an early evening class called “Money Love Circle”, it is every two weeks to help work through any issues around money that stem from my past. This is taught by Joleen as well, so we go early so that Sophia can play with Joleen’s son until Daddy picks her up. They love having their time together.

We are also doing the planning for a family trip getaway that we were awarded  as carers, through the IHC Take a Break programme. I am dumbfounded by their generosity. I will do a post on that when we go.

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We also are planning a family vacation that my husband’s work has offered us as appreciation for his hard work. They are so generous and we are so excited about where we are going. I will post about that closer to the time. A hint is, it is where small people with very big feet live.

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We are hosting a Movie Screening and Fundraiser of “Things We Don’t Talk About: Stories from the Red Tent” in August so have been getting ready for that as well.

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Planning for our annual One billion Rising event in February 2018 is also in full swing and we have an amazing committee this year. Joleen Scott, Author and Group Facilitator, myself, Carla Donson, Manager of Women’s Network Whanganui, and Kelly Scarrow from Mainstreet Wanganui (also The Inked Librarian) and of course Sophia will help coordinate the children’s area. This will be a great event.

Add to this an upswing in clients and we have been very busy. Hence the lack of keeping up this blog.

Sophia has really come out of her shell this year and is so confident  in herself that she is applying to be a toy tester for a store chain here in New Zealand. She will be doing her application this week along with an ‘unboxing video’ as her entry. This will be a year long commitment and she is really excited to give it a go. She has a really good chance of winning, of course having almost 500 subscribers is an added bonus.

We are planning on trialing school next term to see how she does and if it works out, then she will return full time. This is her choice and what she wants to do, I fully support her decision as she has definitely accomplished what we set out to do when we started home education.

That is a quick update and we will be adding back posts as time allows.

Puberty – Educational Video 6:8 vagina and menstruation

I came across these excellent EDUCATIONAL videos on Puberty, from Norway.

They have English subtitles but I found them pretty awesome. This is for open minded people who don’t see any shame in the body.

These are very well done. There are 8 in the series, and you can watch them in order, or play them as the questions come up. This is the approach we are taking.

Sophia and I have been talking a lot about menarche (the first occurrence of menstruation), monthly menses and how our bodies change through puberty and continue to change throughout life.

We have been discussing her breast development and how the mammary glands provide milk and how breasts are all different sizes and shapes, etc.

Also we have been discussing  changes in her shape; her waist, hips, legs, buttocks, etc. and how she may look in a  few years and of course, about body hair.

So this was such perfect timing, to find this series of videos.

 

I watch them first so that I can prepare her for what is coming and we discuss what is in the video before we watch it, just in case she has an aversion to something.

I like that they are visual and artistic in the way they are presented. I also like how everyone is comfortable talking about and showing their bodies throughout the videos.

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Here she is discussing tampons and pads

They are done in a tasteful way and are very natural. Real bodies, fun facts, and humour in a very relaxed teaching style.

Remember, this is from Norway, and they are not afraid of the human body so there is a lot of nudity.

(Be aware: They show the vulva of a young girl, a pubescent and a woman to show how the body changes. However with the woman, they do explore the vulva in depth, showing the venus mound, labia and clitoris and show all the parts. The internal; vagina and cervix are shown on a dummy and the ovaries and uterus are drawn on a nude woman in an artistic way with body pens.)

If you are offended by seeing a vulva, vagina, labia, clitoris, breasts, penis, testicles, etc. then do not watch these videos. (Although it may do you some good to look at what you are afraid of and explore why that is so. You may find it is because you were not taught with such great videos lol)

I also love how they state that all labia are different sizes as I know many girls worry about labia size, in fact labiaplasty is one of the most sought after plastic surgery for teens. So showing them these videos so that they know that they are perfectly normal and not in need of surgery, is definitely a plus!

Also, talk to your girls about boys and how they should never change their body for a boy -because the most common reason (according to the surgeons) why those girl are wanting surgery is because their boyfriend asked them to. Because there is a false perception about labia due to what they are taught in sex education via a 2d drawing with minimal labia.

Sophia really liked this video: 6:8 vagina and menstruation. She said it was very educational and answered questions she had such as: “How much blood do we loose during our period?” and “How much is that compared to what is in our bodies?

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Here she is showing the average shed during menses.

Next, we will watch episode 2:8 Breasts as she has some questions about how they develop. I have watched it and it has some great information, which I will talk about in more detail, in the post when we watch it.

I believe knowledge frees us from fear, and when it comes to puberty all girls and boys are fearful for they have no idea what is happening to their bodies. When you compound that with Autism, it can be very scary as they often do not like change.

I also believe that the more we know about both bodies, the better we are able to understand human interactions and sexuality. (Age appropriate of course.) I will let her ask, and when she is ready we will explore each one.

We will write a post about each episode/video we watch, and document how Sophia responded to them; what she found good, and what bothered her or questions she may have had.

So far, nothing bothered her so this one (episode 6) was great as it had some things that she did not know how to ask -or how to put her thoughts into words to form the questions.

Salon memories and Pass the Rattle

Today we went to my friend’s salon to get Mommy a haircut. I don’t like getting haircuts, it terrifies me in fact, it has been six years since my last one. It shows in my straggly hair in the before photo.

I get really anxious when I go into salons as I had a severe chemical burn across the whole back of my neck as a child. This was due to a permanent my grandmother took me to get at her friend’s home salon when I was about 8-years-old. (this was 1978 so perms were much more harsh back then.) I tried telling them it was burning me, but my grandmother demanded I be quiet so I just sat there crying quietly in agony and put myself in another place until it was over.

After we left, she took me to the Doctor and on the insistence of my grandmother he popped the blister and pressed all the liquid out as I screamed in pain. When we got home, I was switched for not being quiet and for embarrassing her in front of both her friend and the Doctor. I don’t remember if I told my dad, but I do remember going to school with horrible, fried, smelly hair, sore legs and backside and a giant bandage across my neck and people asking me what happened. I was still disconnected and looking back now, I think I may have been in shock. (but that is a story for another post.)

So that explains, why this was also an exercise in anxiety management under stressful situations. Sophia was so supportive and caring, and kept checking with me to be sure I was ok, and of course, I smiled and assured her I was fine, but that I really appreciated her concern and support. (This is modelling behaviour and works beautifully as she is very compassionate and caring. I don’t keep family secrets from her, she knows my stories.)

Sophia really enjoyed chatting with Shiella and watching how she cut my hair. In addition to scissors, she uses a straight razor! Hair falls everywhere and I picture Edward Scissorhands behind me as she is so fast and fluid in her movements.

Sophia thought that was amazing and she was really impressed with the final result and kept saying what a great improvement it was. She took pictures of before and after with her phone as well.

Sophia talked the whole time… mostly about Animal Jam. Poor Shiella learned more about Animal Jam than she had bargained for I am sure, but her daughter may become a new player now as Sophia sold it really well. 😉

I really love how she engaged Sophia and asked her questions about the game and included her in the whole process answering Sophia’s questions in a gentle loving way.

Sophia was so impressed, she even said she may let her cut her hair some day.

These beautiful patient people are what makes a community strong. We are grateful to Shiella for a wonderful Salon experience for both myself and my curious little autodidact.

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After our hair appointment, we went and met daddy for lunch at one of our favourite places. I love hearing the conversations these two have during lunch. They talk about such serious topics and yet are so silly and playful as well.

Then we went home and had some quiet reading time. (A must after doing new things and being around so much stimuli in the restaurant. We call it defragging.)

I needed this down time just as much as she did as I had to process again the contrast between my and Sophia’s childhoods. It brings great joy to see her so happy, yet it still is a challenge as each new experience we share, brings up connected supressed memories for me to relive and find peace with.

She is my gift of grace, and brings me peace and solice through allowing her to have the chidhood I wanted so desperately, and that every child deserves.

Lunch with Daddy                                     Defragging

We began an upcycling project a bit later, turning a rattle from a child’s toy into a work of art for our Red Tent meetings. We used this particular rattle as it has been travelled with us, it has been in California, Oregon, Australia and New Zealand and is one item she has had since birth that is precious to us both because of all the memories it holds.

We talked about the history of Pass The Rattle, which is something we do in our red tent. We give each girl or woman a chance to speak. The person holding the rattle speaks and everyone else listens, no interjecting, advice or judgement, just lending an ear and being there for each other. When they finish, we all stay silent while she passes the rattle to the next person and again listen to the person speak, and so it goes until it goes around the circle and everyone has had a chance to speak. This reinforces the value and importance of every woman and girl being heard. We provide a safe place for that as nothing shared in the circle leaves the circle it is all in confidence.

Later on, she went out and used her imagination and played with her walking sticks while enjoying nature and all the birds, rabbits and of course her crazy duck.

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She also did some digital art today and strummed the guitar for a while this morning as well other things.

She also played computer games with Max when he came home. They have been spending more time playing together and getting along really well.

Today was a great day. I feel really blessed with our lives.