Thursday, September 15, 2011

On the Highway to (Hormone) Hell

There is something wrong with a Mother Nature who allows both wrinkles and pimples on the same face; both gray hair and mysterious new chin hairs, both hot flashes and heavy cramps. Wouldn't you think Mother Nature would be a little more even-handed? Maybe even sympathetic? These days it seems like I've got way too much yin going on here for my own well-being, not to mention that of my family.

Ironically, or perhaps not for dear Mother Nature, as I enter the grand finale of the estrogen fireworks, the younger females in the house are feeling theirs begin to spark. B has been on this journey for a couple of years now, but it really hit fever pitch this year.

You've heard of women's cycles synchronizing? I'm moody; she's moodier. I'm weepy, she's weepier. I've got a pizza-face and she's borrowing my Clearasil. Poor Hombre is perplexed by all of this. His formerly sweet and somewhat sassy daughter routinely leaves the dinner table in tears. Any cross word results in an accusation: "You don't have to YELL at me!" Followed by more tears. Followed by, "I don't know why I'm crying, but I just can't stop!" Somehow, I remain my perfectly even-tempered, well-modulated, reasonable self. Yeah, right.

It also makes for interesting shopping. In the 30+ years that I have been hosting "Aunt Flo", I have, as I would assume most women have, developed certain clear preferences that make shopping easy - a box of these, these and these and I'm on my way. Well, that system is no more, since I'm buying for two. They now have "thong" panty-liners. Say what?! There are "Tween" size and "body-shape". Pre-wrapped or not. In lurid colors or discreetly pink. It can take hours to analyze the selections and make a choice. B prefers to let me do the buying without her. A on the other hand, loves to peruse the merchandise. The first time she was with me for "the purchase" she asked, in her unusually loud and deep voice, "MOM - DO YOU USE PADS OR TAMPONS?" Several other women in the aisle smirked at me with sympathy as they scurried away. They were probably afraid she'd ask them the same question.

When B had her first period earlier this year, we were more than ready. We had thoroughly discussed, over and over, what would happen and what to do. She had been packing supplies on every sleepover for months. After the first day or so, she decided that she needed something a little more substantial for night-time, so back to the store I went. I bought a couple of different boxes and told her to give them a try. About 15 minutes later, I heard her calling me from the top of the stairs. She was cracking up. She held out a large sanitary pad and said, "Mom! Look - it has wings!"and let it flutter down to the foyer floor. We laughed so hard, tears ran down my face. (She is too young to have seen the "The gosh-darn thing's got wings!" commercials).

Then to my surprise she said - "Get Dad! He's got to see this!". Hombre was so touched to be included in this tender moment that he teared up.

A week or so ago, A asked me to look at her armpit; she thought she saw hairs. I saw nothing, but gave her a noncommittal, "Hmm."

"I guess I'll be starting my period soon, too, won't I Mom?"

All I could think was, thank god we had the dog spayed. I don't think we can stand any more hormones in this house.