Thursday, June 20, 2002

puberty went better than anyone expected. some giggling, a little shrieking, lots of solemn faces, and we were done. liz gave an excellent demonstration of how to use a pad, a tampon with an applicator, and one without. the girlz watched her, spellbound. we also went through how to get stains out (cold water, tho apparently hydrogen peroxide also works), the right way to shave (not, we stressed, that you have to), and made abundantly clear to one startled girl that men can't have babies even if they do get a shot. i don't know what kind of shot she's talking about, but then, i've never seen junior.

of course we didn't have the luxury of sitting around afterwards patting ourselves on the back, though petunia, our lifesize naked woman hanging on the wall, each part of her colored in and labeled "left fallopian tube," "right ovary," etc., by the girls, smiled down at us beatifically. we had to keep counseloring, through a pastel surrealist art project, a woods walk, and group poetry writing. and we're desperately searching for an activity to do tomorrow to tie together the as-yet-dangling threads of sex, sexuality, relationships, friendships, and family.

at one point, i was taking a break, savoring matilda on a sunny bench. the littlest-looking of the girls, a hyperactive inquisitive ten year old, approached me. "you lonely?" she said. i explained i was reading and asked if she wanted to be read to. "naw, i hate reading. can't sit still," she said. after a pause, she added, in reference to a question i'd answered a few days ago, "why don't you want to have kids?" i don't know if i do or i don't, i said. i just want to make sure i'll be a good parent. "you'll be a good parent," she said. she tilted her head and grinned at me, then dashed away.

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