This summer, two weeks before my daughter turned 9, I noticed that, in addition to the development in the upper regions that had been freaking us out for the entire year, some other, um, stuff seemed to be happening. I didn’t want to like, inspect anything, so I asked her if that was what I thought I saw. When she confirmed, I figured it was probably time for “The Talk.”

I think I actually handled it pretty well, so I thought I’d share in case anybody else was wondering how to handle this with such a young girl. (Apparently, it’s not considered abnormally early unless menarche, i.e. the first period, happens before the age of 8.)

To that point, all she knew was that sometimes Mommy didn’t want to go swimming, and when pressed about why, eventually mumbled something about a period. When pressed about what that was, I told them it was when you had blood “down there” for several days every four weeks.

So when I told her that what she had going on probably meant that she would be starting her period some time soon, so I wanted to talk to her about it so she wouldn’t freak out the first time it happened. Her reaction? “Nooooo!”

I told her it wasn’t so bad, and that in some cultures they celebrated and had special rituals. “Why would they do that??” she wondered, slightly horrified. I explained that when it happens for the first time, a girl becomes a woman, and can have babies. I quickly added that this was happening to her really early, and she’s still a kid and shouldn’t have babies until she’s much older. Much much older. Like finished with high school and college and everything. Prie Dieux.

I also told her that she wouldn’t actually be bleeding, even though it would look like blood. I said (moment of inspiration here):

You know how birds make a nest and line it with the softest stuff they can find to keep their eggs safe? Well, that’s what your body will do. It’ll make a nest inside your uterus every four weeks and put an egg in there in case you want to have a baby. When you don’t have a baby, it cleans it all out to start over again for the next time.

She looked intrigued, so I figured I was doing all right. I went on to explain about pads and stuff, and gave her some panty liners to keep in her bathroom where she’d know where to find them, and told her to let me know when she needed something a little more heavy duty. Whew.

I was totally gratified when she said “I don’t want to have a baby. How do I not have a baby?”

Gratified or not, my answer was pretty lame: “Just don’t let any boys anywhere near your pee-pee and you’ll be fine.”

That got an even more gratifying “EWWWWWWW!!!”

(I’m really going to have to update to something a little more mature than “pee-pee,” but I’m just not ready.)

Figuring that a lot of her friends probably wouldn’t be in need of “The Talk” for a long time yet, I asked her not to talk to them about it. “Why not?”

“Well, would you rather learn about this stuff from your mom or from your friends?” I asked, holding my breath, not really sure what her answer would be.

“My Mom!” (Yes!)

Then, thinking of some of the poor girls whose moms can never quite bring themselves to have “The Talk” in time, I told her that if a friend was freaking out about it, to just let her know that it was all right, she wasn’t dying or anything, and that she should talk to her mom about it.

So there you have it. The Talk for girls who are way too young to be having The Talk. I really hope this helps someone, because if my daughter ever knew I posted this she would probably kill me.