There Will Be Blood

I am having a question/issue with the main family I work for who isn't cheap as well and pretty much totally disgraceful.

So I am currently dealing with an extremely curious 3rd grader who is determined to find out where babies come from and what periods are.
I went to school for women's studies so I am not necessarily against children knowing these things, but I am not sure the parents are on the same page, plus I don't really think I am the person who should be having these conversations with her anyhow.

I think it started because of those Thinx period ads on the subway. I personally both like the ads and the underwear, they work miracles, but now I've got an 8 year old asking me what menstrual cups are and sea sponges are used for...lol
I keep telling her its something normal that happens to women, its not dirty or bad, and that its not something she really has to worry about right now, that her health teacher and parents will all be talking to her about thing when its a more pressing matter.

But then she just blurts out. "ITS BLOOD ISN'T?"

And I just stared at her and was like "Yes, its blood, but seriously this isn't something you need to worry about."


At this point I really don't know what to do. She obviously knows enough to be getting freaked out about this stuff, but I don't know its my place to explain it. (She definitely doesn't know where babies come from yet, just that periods have something to do with it.

I don't really know what to do. I don't think I should necessarily explaining this stuff to her, but when an eight year old is staring at me horrified asking it periods are made of blood, I feel inclined to answer her and calm her down, explaining that this isn;t something that she needs to worry about right now. I feel like refusing to answer at all, would just make her want to know even more right?

She's a kid and she can't help but be curious, but should I be telling the parents? It seems kind of awkward and unnecesarry right? They must already know? Plus I am sure the health nurses go to the classrooms to explain this to the pretty soon.

I am try to keep this little girl innocent, but she won't stop asking about periods and how babies are made. lol


Unknown said...

Wow! 8 years old & 3rd grade they just getting more curious at younger ages. Just dealing with a 14 year old who just got her period a few months ago. Asking and wondering about periods and where babies come from, I too wanted to keep the innocence with my daughter and I wish I would not have, because when she was nine years old a girl on the school bus told her the whole nine yards how you get pregnant she was very detailed and left nothing out. I was so angry I wish I would have talked to my daughter earlier. Also just a word of advice, when an adult says don't worry It's nothing you need to worry about now, believe me they worry more. Never tell her more than she needs to know don't tell her more than she asks. She's asking you because she's comfortable talking to you. It is hard for kids to talk to their parents about stuff like this. I would have a private conversation with the mom and let her know that she's been inquisitive on this subject. Ask mom if it is ok to answer her questions. Also ask mom to keep your talk between you and her. You do not want to lose the little girls trust. She may have bigger issues someday and may be looking for some one to talk to about it that she trusts.
Tell her pads, tampons, sea sponges & menstrual cups are for when you are older. They help protect your underwear and clothes when you have your period. Tell her you get your period when your body is maturing and her body will start changing and developing. Also when you have your period yes, is a type of blood but not like when you are hurt and have a cut. It is your body cleaning its self out and getting rid of what it doesn't need. And no the baby doesn't really eat the blood , the umbilical cord is connected from the baby's belly button to the mom and the food and nutrition the mom eats the baby also gets. If they are the least bit Religious you can tell her God lets mommys know when it's time to have a baby. It's a special time between a mom &dad. Try and stick to the basics she will ask when she has more questions. Good luck. Let us know what happens and if mom says you can answer her questions.

Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagree. Not under any circumstance should the nanny be responding to these questions. Do not ask the mother of it's okay to answer them. It's her responsibility as a mother. Your job as a nanny is to let this little girl know that she needs to talk with her mother about this. It's up to the mom whether or not she chooses to answer now or later. Honestly, I'd just make them mom aware that her duaghter is asking these questions and that you've directed her to ask her mom.

Anonymous said...

My last nanny child, started when she was 10, she knew all about the topic, what to do, ect. This is because her mother believed its normal, natural, and she should know sooner then later so that she could have time for questions before. I inform parents when I start nannying, if its a girl, that if the child asks questions I will answer them simply or in detail depending on the parenting preferences and that I will always tell the parents after/during. I can't or wont work for parents who want to keep their daughters in the dark, but, I live in a very liberal area where even the teenage boys know all about it and a few are progressive enough that they carry emergency pads (so sweet) My location wants to release the bad stigma against such a natural function.

You should tell the mother, ask the mother... This child needs to know some facts before she develops irrational fears. If the mother declines this conversation in any way, this child will pester you... You could take a passive roll and just tell the child "there are books in the library about this subject, I can take you to the library but I can not help you find the book as to respect your mother. Ask the librarian and they can point you in the direction of a book. But please don't tell me that you are reading that book, I'm sorry but your mother doesn't want me to help you with this. However the information you seek is available in a public and free way."

Yeah its harsh, but library's don't turn anyone way maybe kids in the adult area.but they have these books in the kids section.

Anonymous said...

Eh, I can see the opinions of everyone so far. In the end, it all depends on the parents. If you work for a family you feel like you can't let the parents know what's going on and advise you as how they would like you to handle it, you need to find a new job... I would casually bring it up to the mom on my way out, and let her know you would be fine with addressing the questions but wanted to talk to her first and let the parent go from there. Good luck!

Kate said...

OP: Just to be clear. The parents are aware she has these questions and haven't advised me either way. I don't think they want it all explained but I don't think they want her having any irrational fears or shame about her body. With subway ads, tv, the internet, and other children it is pretty much impossible to shield them from all these things.
Third/fourth grade is when I started these kinds of conversations between piers afraid to ask parents ect. Especially considering they have an older sibling currently going though these changes.

I am merely trying to respond factually, but not to the point of overstepping any bounds trying to be equally respectful to rights of the parents and a young girl's own understandings of their soon to be changing bodies in a non-shameful way.