TACKLING THE ‘P’ WORD…

Woah. A doll that has her period! Complete with sanitary pads and even a calendar to keep track of her cycle (!).lammily-maxi-pads

My head was instantly turned reading about the new ‘Period Party’ accessory pack for Lammily dolls (you know, the ones that stick two fingers up to Barbie and are based on real women’s measurements. Amen.).

Being a Mum to a little girl, the thought of future grown up conversations about periods (and eventually sex, gulp) always strays in to my mind every now and then. Followed by a huge sigh of relief that it is at least 4-5 years away….. right?

Well kind of. Mumfession time: I have had the awkward unavoidable moment of having to change a pad in front of Maia in a public toilet cubicle. (TMI?) To all those raising their eyebrows right now, trust me, I didn’t want her to watch, but you try keeping a 3 year old facing a door.

Being the questioning pre-schooler that she is, there was a barrage of questions? What’s that?  Why is there blood? Did I need a plaster?

So I was forced to explain periods to Maia in very child friendly terms to satisfy the curiosity … and to stop her repeating her questions (loudly) for all in the public toilet to hear. I explained it was ‘girl power – something all grown up girls have to help them be mummies.’ It seemed to do the trick. Phew.

Now I am not ready to introduce Maia to the Lammily doll following this experience, nor am I sure I ever would, but my toilet embarrassment proves Nickolay Lamm (the creator of the doll) right. Even as women, periods is a taboo subject we often try to hush. So I can appreciate the sentiment behind this controversial accessory pack. With girls starting their periods as early as 8, it is important to not just explain, but also start to normalise this ‘awkward’ subject for girls around the 7-9 mark. Or maybe sooner if you are comfortable with that. Each to their own. This doll and accessory pack could be a really useful tool in helping some parents (and potentially teachers) tackle the subject.  It even comes with a handy educational pamphlet explaining what to expect from a menstrual cycle.lammily4

And for those parents a little freaked out by it (like I was initially)…is it any weirder or grosser than letting kids play board games like the Doggy Doo game, where the aim of the game is to feed your dog until it craps?

But what about the boys?  They are part of the ‘taboo’ problem right? Don’t they become the work colleagues or bosses that we make blush in later life by telling them about our ‘ladies’ problems.’ Whether Lamm intended for his original doll to interest children of any gender, everything about the accessory pack is very obviously skewed towards girls.  Don’t we have a growing responsibility to review how we tackle this subject with boys too? Can we be doing more to normalise this subject for boys so it stops becoming something to snigger at? Now there’s a challenge….

Call it a PR stunt to help publicise the doll. Call it weird or call it inappropriate. At least it is getting us to think about how we treat this subject. And that’s no bad thing. Thanks for the conversation starter Lammily doll.

What do you think? At what age would you / did you have this conversation with your kids? I’d love to know.

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