We have never had an American Girl doll.
Number 4 has never really been into dolls, and Number 5 would love one, but they’re just way too expensive.
So I don’t know that much about them, but I’ve always been under the impression that they were really meant for girls who were around Number 5’s age. Like the 5, 6, 7 year-olds. Or at least I’ve thought girls that age would be more interested in playing with them and having one. Maybe I just associate them with girls Number 5’s age because she’s my girly girl who likes to play with dolls.
Anyway, somewhere along the way we acquired this book:
I have no idea where it came from or who gave it to us, but Number 4 has been reading it up in her bed at night. I didn’t think much about it. I mean, it’s an American Girl book.
She’s talked to me about a couple of the things in the book. She showed me all about the hair page:
It talked about getting gum out of your hair and what happens if you get lice.
She asked me what my skin was like when I was a teenager after reading about the face page.
She made sure I knew that I should be brushing my tongue when I brush my teeth.
It was a cute book, and I was glad she was reading it.
The other day, I heard some commotion coming from upstairs. There was some yelling coming out of Number 3, 4 and 5’s room.
I went upstairs to see what was going on.
“MOM! NUMBER 4 IS LOOKING AT PICTURES OF VAGINAS!”
What? Where the hell was she getting pictures of vaginas? Did she have her Kindle? Had she found something she shouldn’t have on You Tube or something? It was a school night, so she shouldn’t have even been using it.
I went into their room.
“Number 4, what are you doing? Give me your Kindle. What happened to that American Girl book you were reading?”
“I am reading the American Girl book!” Number 4 said to me.
I walked over to where she was in her top bunk.
She was telling the truth. I asked her for the book, and she handed it over.
I opened to the page she had been reading.
Holy. Fucking. Vaginas.
“MOM! NOW WHEN I GET MY PERIOD I’LL KNOW HOW TO PUT A TAMPON IN!”
Oh. My. God.
“Shut UP!” yelled Number 3. That’s so disgusting!
“And MOM!” continued Number 4. “NEXT SUMMER I’M PRETTY SURE I’M GOING TO START GROWING MY BOOBS!”
“Um, what?” I asked her.
“LET ME SHOW YOU THE BOOB PAGES!”
Wait. The ding dang American Girl book has vagina and boob pages???
She showed me.
First of all, who the heck puts a tampon in smiling and with their eyes closed? And do most chicks brush their teeth and dry their hair topless? Put a damn shirt on, Kit Kittredge.
I suppose I should feel really irresponsible for not knowing what the hell she was actually reading about.
But to be honest, I’m really just grateful that now I don’t have to explain periods to her.
***Editor’s note, October 2017*** — I actually like this book very much. I was just kind of caught off guard at first! It explains things very well, and if you are the sort who feels super uncomfortable talking to your kids about this kind of stuff, then you might find this especially useful. Click below to get it (affiliate). This is a revised version which may not have the vagina pics in it, but is perfect for your elementary school student 😉
(oh, and don’t worry — I have no problem talking to Number 4 or any of the kids — about periods or anything else their body does — and I did NOT leave that to the book 😉 )
Haha…. my husband did not know any better and let our 3rd grader take this book to school…. I could have died when the teacher spoke to me about it!
For many years I taught, and wrote curriculum, regarding sexuality education, body image, decision making etc. I also held workshops for parents about how to talk to their kids about their bodies, sex etc. Although I would have suggested you better knew what was in the book, this is actually a suggestion I often gave to parents… Leave books, pamphlets etc that are consistent with the messages you want your kids to hear around for them to “find” and read as they are interested. They can explore, re-read, consider at their own pace and the parts that are on their minds. That does not mean you don’t also provide information and make yourself available, but it allows kids to seek information (that is consistent with the messages you want them to hear, rather than on the playground or rumors) as they want to know more. And I ALWAYS say that kids should know what menstruation and wet dreams are BEFORE they happen. No kids should “discover” these things without knowing what is happening and that it is normal and healthy. Kids have been taught that their genitals are private and are often not talked about. When a girl starts “bleeding” from this private part, she often feels too scared to tell someone and is really upset if she doesn’t know what to expect. Good luck!
I bought this book for my 9 year old but I cut out (seriously) the period pages before I gave it to her. I told her when she turns 10 we can read the missing pages together and talk about it. It’s a great book in general and she loves to read it at night in bed.
I am @ this point w/ my oldest. And…..honestly, avoiding it! This book was recommended to me but I’ve yet to explore it…maybe I need to find something a little less informative. Sounds like a little more info than I want to delve into @ this point!! Thanks, as always, for sharing!
They have a “younger girls” version that covers periods but without the pictures of tampons.
I had this book growing up and I loved it. It answered all the questions I wanted answers to and didn’t know how to ask. They have a second book out now.
Cassidy Cruise says
My daughter always freaks out when she sees blood in the toilet. Well, if they would just let me use the restroom in privacy, there would be no freaking out!
It came in really handy when my 8 and 9yr olds were playing show and tell and my 8 yr old (now 13) came down to say her sister found something wrong. that her pee hole was busted. The photos helped me explan their anatomy and proper terminology.
Annika Christiani says
Excuse me an elementary school should read the unedited version. That what she doesn’t get TRAUMATIZED when her first period comes. Plus there is NOTHING sexual about understanding your body, in fact it tends to lead to better sexual health as an adult, better self-esteem as a teen, and it lowers teen pregnancy rates and teen suicide rates. The revised version would be more harmful because the child thinks they understand stand their body now but actually know nothing.
second off, “First of all, who the heck puts a tampon in smiling and with their eyes closed? And do most chicks brush their teeth and dry their hair topless? Put a damn shirt on, Kit Kittredge” well call me kit kittredge because i do those things. hell I;m shirtless right now. my melons deserve to be free.