As I sit here at my computer in the kitchen of our tiny house, my oldest daughter is watching a human growth and development movie at school. This is The Movie. (I saw my version in 1981. Girls went into one classroom. Boys went into another. We each saw our gender-specific movie, we returned to our normal classrooms, and when it was all over I knew that vagina is NOT pronounced Va-GHEE-nah. (Similarly, penis is not PEN-iss, as I had originally thought. Please know that the PEN-iss was NOT covered in our girl movie.))
Last week I was able to screen the movie that Meredith is currently watching, and I was a little shocked. Although the girls and boys will be divided, they will be viewing the same video. The video is presented as a call-in radio show titled “Puberty Week with Brad and Janet!” and I have no idea how the obvious Rocky Horror Picture Show tie-in made it past the original reviewers.
This morning Meredith left the house as an innocent almost 10 year old. She will climb into our car this afternoon with the line drawing of an erect boy part fried onto her brain. She will know about wet dreams. She will know that a sperm is 50% of what makes a baby and that an egg is the other 50%. She will NOT know how those two parts hook up, and if she asks it during the Q&A session, it will not be answered because it wasn’t directly discussed in the movie. (I know.) It wasn’t directly discussed in the movie, yet I know my kid and I know how her mind works and this evening I’ll probably have to lay it all out for her. And I guess that’s fine, but I also think that 10 is young, but I also know that kids are growing up faster now, but I also don’t necessarily think that arming them with this knowledge at 10 is going to prevent teen pregnancy.
I’m a bit flummoxed and I *did* consider letting her skip the movie. (This morning she told me that she was going to eat a light lunch just in case the movie turned her stomach. Heh.) BUT, kids are kids and kids will talk and I would rather she see it than hear about it at recess.
I can’t remember if it was the fourth grade movie or the fifth grade movie that said something like, “Just because you’re now CAPABLE of making a baby doesn’t mean you’re READY. You need financial stability!”
Here’s a photo of me when I was a 19-year-old sophomore at Mizzou. I’m wearing a bolo and a vest, I’m drinking a wine cooler in my dorm room, I’m getting ready to attend my very first (and also very last!) fraternity party, and I had no concept of Financial Stability.
In other words, “Just because you’re now CAPABLE of making a baby doesn’t mean you’re READY. You need blah blah blah blah babies are cute!”
(By the way, I’m pretty sure this song was playing as that photo was taken, and I was using a lot of aerosol hairspray in those days. The jeans were NOT mine, by the way.)