The Facts of Life

posted Tuesday November 24th, 2009

Last week was “Human Growth and Development” time at the girls’ school.

So far, it hasn’t been a big deal. I giggled like crazy years ago when Annabelle was in kindergarten and Ms. X announced she’d taught the kids the difference between “vulva” and “vagina”, but other than that, not much has been said about the whole thing. It’s pretty mild stuff, early on.

I knew third grade would be different. It was in either third or fourth grade that I discovered the book “What’s Happening to Me” strategically placed where I’d find it at home. I read “Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume. And most memorable was the visit the school nurse made to the classroom.

The visit was accompanied by the viewing of an 8 mm film about menstruation. I don’t recall details, but I will never forget that the nurse — whom I remember as being around 110 years old, though I suppose she might have been as young as 50 and prematurely gray — felt the need to explain to us in great detail that when she was a girl, they had to use rags.

Really, what was the point of telling us that?

Anyhow, when I signed the Human Growth and Development permission slips a few weeks ago, I knew the lessons wouldn’t be tacky. The school has this stuff down. In fact, I forgot the week was even coming up, til Annabelle and I were driving home from her piano lesson last Tuesday and I tried a shortcut that didn’t work.

“Mommy, do you ever get scared you’ll get lost in the car?” she asked from the backseat. (The car is where we do most of our deep communicating.)

“No, not really. I have my phone. I can call if I get lost. Why?”

“Well, Ms. D says she gets scared of that.”

Ms. D is one of the third grade teachers at the school. Annabelle explained she had her for Human Growth and Development, and that that day they’d been discussing fears. Annabelle was afraid of meeting new people in new situations.

Weird segue, I thought, but I didn’t say anything.

By the end of Wednesday, my mom friends were giggling about how their daughters were talking about “the S-E-X” (no specifics, thankfully) but when I asked Annabelle, she said only that they’d discussed “kindness” in her class.

It wasn’t til Thursday that I caught on.

“How was Human Growth and Development today?” I asked Annabelle, as we cuddled on the couch before bed.

“It was good!” she said. “We took a Messy Room Pledge!”

I pulled back and looked her in the eye.

“Hey, wait a minute,” I asked, suddenly wise. “Did you ever turn in that permission slip I put in your Important Papers folder?”

“What permission slip?”

I hugged her, shaking with silent laughter.  Then asked her to name the other girls in Ms. D’s section of Human Growth and Development; yep, all the religious kids.

So, anyone interested in teaching my kids the facts of life? When we’re at my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, I intend to search for “What’s Happening to Me?” My mom volunteered to talk to her, but I said no thanks, Annabelle doesn’t need to go through life referring to both male and female body parts as “wieners”.

Someday, I know, Sophie will be a much bigger challenge. I’m happy to put that one off as long as possible. Anyone seen “Pink Slip”?

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6 Responses to “The Facts of Life”

  1. Hehehehe….snort…giggle…giggle.

  2. This is just too funny! You know she will LOVE telling her friends when she’s older!!

  3. Weiners?!?! hahaha! Love it.

  4. This aforementioned mother will challenge, in a court of law, that “weiner story”….I might have used it a few times when discussing males, but always with humor.
    Who could blame me? How much does anyone really enjoy saying penis and vagina?

  5. AND
    I hope the author doesn’t lose any credibility when I reveal that she coined the well known term

  6. Hahahaha! Weiner….That’s quite a dilemma! As a mom of a 10 year old girl with DS my days of explaining are getting closer. I keep wanting to wait until I’m sure she’s going to understand. This year is 3rd grade and I’ll have to ask the nurse now when they get that class!

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