The questions are inevitable. So how do you answer them?
I don’t remember ever being in the bathroom with my mother. She went in, shut the door and did what she needed to do away from curious little eyes. This made her life far more straightforward than it is for our generation of parents who seem to have an open door, access all areas policy. My bathroom is often as much of a hive of family traffic as our living room. Boundaries, there are few.
So it wasn’t entirely surprising that my daughter had some questions about tampons and periods. What are you doing? Why are you putting that in there? Where does the blood come from?
She's 8 and she doesn't miss a trick. My 5 year old son is far less interested. If I was putting a Skylander up there I might get his attention but since I'm not, he doesn't care and has no questions.
But I hear this a lot from other mothers. If you're having a bath with your kids and they see your tampon string or they see you in the bathroom, or find tampons in your handbag, how do you answer their questions?
"My daughter is terrified of blood," says another mother in the iVillage office. "So the thought of sitting her down and explaining that when she grows up she will bleed out of her vagina for a week every month is horrific. For both of us."
Another mother is totally comfortable with her daughter watching her put her tampons in and pull them out. "It's natural and it will be her one day. I want her to feel like it's normal and nothing to be scared of. There's no mystery to periods."
So how do you explain it? And do you have an open or closed door bathroom policy in your house?