Did I get your attention with that headline?
Probably, and now I have the Salt-N-Pepa song stuck in my head!
I can clearly remember the time the teacher sat the girls down in grade 7 to talk about…periods. I don’t remember a whole lot of the discussion besides the teacher asking any girl who had started menstruating to put up their hand (one girl was brave enough to admit it – not sure that the teacher respected the privacy of us though with that question) and her description of using pads (also called sanitary napkins) for the first time: “Yes, it’s like having a mattress between your legs”.
In grade 8 we all knew that the health lesson would involve condoms and banana – yeah still trying to work out why that was a helpful thing to do but since my brother had to put condoms on a chair leg a few years before at the same school perhaps they were trying to be more…creative? Not sure realistic is the correct term on this topic.
At the end of the day though I don’t really remember learning a great deal about puberty or safe sex. All classes in high school were done co-ed and I’m again not sure this is most conducive to learning as yes, brains develop at different paces for boys and girls. Having written that I have seen the topic taught well in small school with a range of grade 5-7 students – so perhaps it’s more about the mix of students.
I do also remember the dreadfully dated pictures and diagrams…I think some dated back to 70s…Oh and I can’t forget the video we watched (also from around that era and I know a few teachers who still use it in class). Yes, that annoying one with the cartoons…you get the idea.
My kids are too young for all this but at almost 3 they have well and truly discovered that they are not the same. It got me thinking back to when I was teaching and the sheer lack of good resources on either topic…and so I decided to make something but….I couldn’t find any good graphics. “Houston, we have a problem!”
I did therefore decide to dive in. First, creating a menstruation products set for girls – I was then asked to include a tampon applicator with step-by-step instructions. Then, I moved on to contraception products – there are a surprisingly large amount available!
Hmm, I then actively avoided the many requests I started getting to create a puberty set. Okay, so maybe I didn’t avoid it totally, but because of the elements involved I knew the set would be a lot of work…and I had about 50 things already on my to-do list.
So that brings me to the discussion with my kids about who has a vagina and who has a penis….and I started thinking about a puberty set again. And so, with my son eagerly looking on, I started to draw a male puberty set – complete with a circumcised and uncircumcised set and different skin tones. He thought it was great! I heard the word penis a lot! Of course, I was proud of my effort but my daughter was less than impressed and only stated: “Vagina set now”. I haven’t yet started the Female Puberty set but it is on my list to do over the cold winter.
If nothing else I hope this blog has bought back some cringe-worthy memories (feel free to share them in the comments!) and perhaps made you smile.
Paint Splatter background (c) Red Strawberry Design