Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"The Video"

In our school district, the public schools begin their "family life" education in 4th grade.  The girls - only the girls - meet with the school nurse, watch a video, and learn the basics of how their bodies will change in the next few years.

S was in a private school in 4th grade, so she missed this experience.  None the less, lucky for her, this is a multi-year program! Each presentation reinforces the last one and builds on it in an age appropriate manner.  In 5th grade, her first in a public school, I picked her up one day after school and this is what happened:
S: (waving a paper in front of my face) I don't want to see it! (imagine the horror on her face, head shaking back and forth, me wishing I really had a video of the whole thing)
Me: See what?  What is that paper?  Is this something we can discuss after you stop waving that thing around and get in the car?
S: It's the permission slip for "the video" and I don't want to see it!
M:  Okay.  Well, what exactly do you think you will see in this video?
S:  I don't really know, but I think it has something to do with science and I'm not very into science.

I tried very hard not to laugh.  I really did.  I think I was able to keep it to a smirk and a giggle.

It is sort of science-based, I guess, being about biology and all, but clearly we needed to have at least an introduction to "the talk."  I realize that some will be critical of the fact that I wasn't having these discussions with her slowly over time from the age of 2.  To that I say, "To each, their own"

I reassured her that she would not die a slow painful death from seeing the video but that she was, indeed, going to see it.  I went to the parent preview night, saw the video, and then told her everything that would be in it so there would be no surprises.  When I picked her up the day of "the video," she got in the car and said, "I saw the video today."  "So, how did that go for you?"  S says, "I just want to pretend like it never happened."

Well, that might not work out so well for you, my dear.  There is only one Peter Pan and unfortunately, that role was already taken by Cathy Rigby (just dated myself right there) or maybe it was Sandy Duncan (now I'm feeling really old).  You're going to grow up, no matter how much you don't want to and no matter how much I don't want you to.  Never the less, S survived the ordeal and managed to complete 5th grade.

Last year, in 6th grade, we had the same situation.  I went to the parent preview and she saw "the video" and lived to tell the tale, even though her response was consistent, "Can I just forget I ever saw that?"  Believe me, it wasn't that bad, nor was it graphic in any way, so I don't know what, exactly, she thinks she should forget.  I can't wait to hear about 7th grade.  The boys and girls are together in the class this year and it is a week long unit in their science class.  Oh to be a fly on the wall...

Now, K is in 4th grade and the permission slip was sent home.  I sent it back, declining to have K participate in the presentation.  Why?  It's not because I've had the discussion with her already.  She is a completely different kid.  Not only do I think that she's not quite ready to wrap her head around how those things might happen to HER, but my bigger issue is this:  once she learns it, she will tell everyone who crosses her path what she saw.  This will be big news to her!  Wow!  I learned something amazing!  I want to share it with the world!  So why don't I tell her that it is not something we talk about with lots of other people?  Why don't I show her the boundaries and make sure she understands? Because this is what happened the last time I tried that:

Driving along, listening to the radio and Katy Perry's California Gurls is playing.  There are some questionable topics in the lyrics, but they fly right over my girls' heads, so I don't worry about it.  However, Snoop Dogg has a part in the song and he raps, "All that ass, hangin' out."  S knows that "ass" is a bad word and not to say it.  I thought K knew this, too, until she's singing at the top of her lungs in the back seat of the car.

Me:  K, Snoop Dogg says a bad word in that song.  It is "ass" and I don't want to hear you say it or sing it, okay?  You can just be quiet during that part of the song.
K:  Okay, Mom.  I won't say "ass."

Then, for the next 368,472 times that we hear that song, K says, "Snoop Dogg says a bad word in this song.  He says "ass" and we're not supposed to say that."  Seems like even with the rules, I couldn't get her to stop saying the word!  Imagine how mortified I was when she did that in front of her grandparents.  Don't look at me!  I told her it was a bad word!

For now, I'll leave the family life discussions with K for within our home only and when I think she has matured enough to keep it to herself.  S would like to skip puberty all together, while K would probably want to race right toward it - telling everyone along the way about the journey.  I can just picture her announcing at a family gathering that she's getting breasts and then lifting her shirt to show them off.  Right or wrong, I'm not ready to tell her not to talk about it thousands of times. Lucky for me, she would normally be in the learning center for tutoring during that time, so I can just tell her that it was more important that she work on her math...and we'll talk about "the video" later.

1 comment:

  1. We just got through 10'th grade health and discussions about sex, pregnancy and STD's complete with pictures, videos and in a mixed gender class. Parts of the class were pretty interesting to discuss...don't think that Lizzie will be scarred for life by viewing them! LOL!!