The penis, the period and the pituitary

Little Woman came home today, just like any day. But she had this particular look on her face. I knew something was up. I asked her how her day was, just like any day. She groaned and said “Mom, something happened today and it was so gross.’”

OH SNAP! Now I was on high alert, afraid of what I may hear next. She took out a small little pink booklet from her backpack and threw it on the kitchen island.

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And then I began to laugh. Hard. Little Woman looked at me as if I’ve lost my head.

It had happened. The time had finally come.

Suddenly, I flashed back to 1982, when I was 11 years old and shoved on a bus with my fellow classmates for the “long” drive to the Robert Crown Center in Hinsdale, to learn about human reproduction. The facility itself was beautiful. Then we were ushered into multiple state-of-the-art rooms, one after the other.


We were subjected to seemingly endless videos of boobs, growth spurts, maxi pads, pubic hair, periods, body odor, facial hair, tampons and penises! Lots and lots of penises, both healthy ones and ones riddled with chancres. Lots and lots of chancres! And we were told no matter what, stay away from those penises!


At the end of the trip, we all loaded back on the bus with some form of PTSD. Most of us were either laughing from immaturity, crying hysterically or curling into the fetal position and sucking our thumbs. It was that bad. We were that traumatized.

So fast-forward 30 years, when my own daughter was subjected to the same experience, except this time with a new twist. Nowadays, they don’t take the kids on a big field trip to the Robert Crown Center. Now the RCC comes to them! Little Woman said the girls and boys were separated and ushered into separate rooms, without being told what was going on. Then they were greeted by a friendly RCC rep and shown things that “made me want to throw up in my mouth”, as Little Woman described.

Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

After I was done with my laughing fit, I fell into full Mama Mode, asking her if she had any questions she’d like to ask, any concerns, any random thoughts she’d like to share? She just opened up the book, pointed at random pictures and grunted, page after page. I told her that she already knows a lot about some of this stuff just from what I’ve told her, and because she SEES ME dealing with all this crap every month. And some things I’ve chosen to keep my mouth shut about. Until now. But now it’s been put there on an open platter for her and me to talk about. And talk we did. And talks we will have, any time she wants to have them.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to hold my baby close, stroke her beautiful hair and repeat the mantra “it’s ok honey, it’s a part of life”, all while trying to control my laughter. Because one day, her own daughter shall have her Robert Crown moment. And then she too shall laugh.



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