It happened. We had to show THE movie. THE movie that all TSC elementary schools are required to show to 4th graders. THE movie about it.
No. Not that it. The other it. The one that only happens to girls.
"Just Around the Corner." That's the name of THE movie. It's all about how your body is going to start changing and things that girls need to know about are going to start happening. I've seen it every year for 10 years. But never with my own daughter in the room staring slack-jawed.
It's not like she doesn't know any of the information. (We don't even close bathroom doors at our house.) It's just that she's never had to hear it from a talking head surrounded by 50 of her closest girlfriends. And her mother. And her mother's colleagues.
Bless her heart.
Every year around this time we teachers segregate the boys and girls into two different classrooms and show THE movies. They both have the same title, but there's a different one for boys and girls. Older siblings who've already been through 4th grade have warned younger ones, so word gets around the classroom that, as one older brother told his younger sister, "You're gonna need a barf bag, Maddie, 'cause that movie's GROSS."
Kinley was dreading it, but she watched from her desk without giggling (since I'd threatened the girls in my class within an inch of their lives). Then afterwards, the school nurse passed out slips of paper to every girl. "If you all write down something, even if it's just your name," she explained, "no one will know who has really written a question and you won't have to be embarrassed to ask something that you really want to know about."
I saw Kinley start to write furiously. And it was all I could do not to peek at her slip when I walked around the room picking them up from the girls, but I somehow managed to restrain myself. The nurse answered the questions with kindness and patience, and then the girls were sent back to their classrooms.
That afternoon, as we were driving home, I gingerly broached the subject.
Me: What did you think of the movie today?
Kinley: The nurse didn't answer all of the questions.
Me: I know. Some of them were similar to others that had already been asked and she told you that some of them were more appropriate to be asked in private. Did she answer yours?
Me (trying to sound nonchalant): Oh. What did you ask?
Kinley: Are you gonna post it on your blog?
Me: Well, do you have any other questions?
Kinley: No, not really. The nurse said we could talk to our parents about this. Does Daddy really know about all this stuff?
Me: Yes, he does.
Kinley: Really? How?
Me: Well, he probably had to watch movies about it, too. And, he's been married to me for a long time. So if you have any questions, you can always ask him, too.
Who knew that after watching THE movie, the realization that her daddy is in the loop about female pubescence would be the most significant revelation of the day? Well, at least she got through it without a barf bag.