My Pink Slip Arrives

posted Saturday September 7th, 2013

I neglected to mention the other day that I haven’t had the nerve to actually watch “Pink Slip” — the decades-old instructional video about menstruation created for girls with developmental disabilities that we used to show at parties for laughs — since Sophie was born.

Here’s my post from the other day about Down syndrome and Puberty.

Apparently I’ll have my chance today.

Yesterday Ray and I attended Part One of a seminar about how to teach your kid with Down syndrome about puberty (and beyond — but we were just there for the puberty part). The instructor — who was very good — gave a general overview and then explained what she’d be teaching our kids the next day. Repetition is key, she said. Repetition and images.

When she got to the part about how she’d be showing an instructional video about how to take a shower, I raised my hand.

“By any chance will you be showing the girls a video about periods?” I asked.

Yes, she said. “Boy, wait til you see it! It’s really old and –”

“I’ve seen it,” I interrupted, while the other parents stared. “Pink Slip.”

“No,” she said, and offered a long and perfectly acceptable name I can’t recall now. (I should have known that was not its real name.) “This one is about a sister –”

“It’s about a girl named Jill,” I said, interrupting again. It’s been 15 years since I’ve seen “Pink Slip,” but it’s burned in my head forever.

The woman stared. Ray turned and and stared. “How do you know about this video?” she asked.

I just stared back. For years, I’ve joked that someday I’d have to show Sophie Pink Slip. I never thought it would actually happen — and at the hands of one of the leading sex educators in the country.

I get it, Universe. I get it.

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome by Amysilverman

7 Responses to “My Pink Slip Arrives”

  1. Maybe we need to make a new pink slip.

  2. Or not. Maybe not.

  3. Just head TAM and your story.

    Good on you.

  4. What about teaching how to use a tampon? Would that be too much? I hate pads! Also, I think an updated video would be a good idea – maybe the characters could call the space between a woman’s legs a vagina??? And maybe mention sometimes women have cramps? Info overload? I guess the simplicity of the Suzy video is good…

  5. Amy, I just LOVED your This American Life segment. I run a foundation in India for kids with developmental disabilities and I am planning to share the show with my team this week. Many of our staff are shy about sex and biology and I know there will be plenty of squirming when, after your intro, I actually show Pink Slip but in their secret heart of hearts they will love it too.

    Sophie sounds like a remarkable girl and you sound like an astonishing Mom. My daughter Moy Moy is 25 now. While she doesn’t have Sophie’s quite stunning self-awareness, she has jolted us into epiphanies and revelations we are still swimming through.

    I’ll be following your journey. Mine is at http://www.latikaroy/jo

    All the best.


  6. I just heard your story on “This American Life”. It struck a chord. I still remember when my niece was born & diagnosed Down”s. Discussions about this subject are awkward enough, but I never fully “got” how tough this talk may be with her. I never knew of this video….

  7. I just heard your story today on the NPR program, THIS AMERICAN LIFE.

    As I listened to your segment, I thought about my mother-in-law and her granddaughter, my niece K’anesha. “KiKi” was born with some form of developmental disability, I’m not sure what. But, like your dear Sophie, KiKi will have some limitations to her capacity to fully experience… and learn to cope with… life, at least as most other young ladies are capable of doing…

    I remember my wife’s mother explaining the anxiety and frustration of trying to teach K’anesha about puberty and her menstrual cycle… Mom would have turned backflips to get her hands on a teaching tool like ‘Pink Slip’! :)

    Mom muddled her way through. And as the legal guardian, she has shown such loving care of her special granddaughter! Today, KiKi is eighteen years old, a young adult. Her limitations are obvious to all, but… with Mom’s loving support… she’s doing just fine!

    I’m going to tell my mother-in-law about you, about your NPR segment, and about your blog… I think she will be very encouraged to hear what you have to share…

    By the way, thank you for sharing. And thank you for the honest way in which you do so… many blessings!

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