Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Ghosts of Birthdays Past...

Because today is my birthday, I couldn't help reminiscing about birthdays from the past...and one in particular came to mind...

On my 10th birthday, my mom decided I was old enough to have a nice little chat about menstruation...I know what you're thinking...<i>What's that? What did you just say? Did you mean to say "the mall"?? No... Did you mean to say, "Magic"?? No...
"Muppets?!" Nope....

You heard me right the first time.


For some reason, my mom decided there was no better time than right before junior high to scare the living day lights out of me.

The day started out like any other 10 year old's birthday...I got up, smiled at myself in the mirror, checked to see if my boobs had gotten any bigger, brushed my hair 500 times and then went downstairs to eat Lipton Soup for breakfast.

TOTALLY typical.

It was at that time that my mom sat down across from me at the kitchen table with an ingratiating smile. I pretended not to notice her while I read my Babysitters Club book, occassionally stealing glances at her as I slurped my soup. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore.

"MOM! Why do you keep staring at me with that goofy smile stuck on your face?!"

She got a little teary eyed as she said, "It's just that you are not my baby anymore...you are almost all grown up!! Before we know it, you'll be starting your period, you'll be off to college, married, and having your own babies." (These apparently are the big milestones in a woman's life...)

I had heard the word "period" before but I wasn't exactly sure why my mom was talking about it now. (My teacher always said you had to put it at the end of sentences if it was a declarative, but if you were excited, you used an exclamation point. I prefered to be excited about everything I wrote, therefore, it was the only form of punctuation that existed in my world. I mean...in my world!!!)

She must have sensed that I needed further explanation because she went on to say, "Pretty soon, you will menstruate every month. An egg will drop down from your uterus and one day, that is what will make it possible for you to have babies!"

I stared at her, open mouthed. My spoon had only made it halfway to my mouth, and when I coughed and sputtered in surprise, soup splashed all over the table.

My mom jumped up to get something to clean up the mess I had made. Casually, I asked, "What's a uterus?"

She laughed and said, "That is where a baby grows inside of a woman! Of course, you won't be having a baby for a long time." I let out a big sigh of relief, not realizing I'd been holding my breath. I mean, don't get my wrong...my Cabbage Patch doll was cool, but if there was a rockin game of Pong being played on the Atari, I flung that yarn-haired sack of stuffing under the nearest bed! This was NOT the time in my life when I wanted to be tied down with responsibility...

I thought our discussion was over until my mom went on to say, "But that doesn't mean your body isn't getting ready...pretty soon, it will be making eggs."

She looked like she was going to say something more, but the phone rang and our conversation ended there.

I raced up to my bedroom and stared at my crotch in the mirror. "OH...MY...GOD..."

I had never been so terrified in my life. What would the kids at school say when I started laying eggs??? ...And what was I going to do with all the eggs I would be making? Would someone give me a container to store them in like the eggs at the grocery store?! ...And...Oh GOD...what if...would we...be EATING them?! I pictured my brother demanding a 'dip in' egg and my mom commanding me to lay more.

I was FULL of questions, but my mom had settled in for a nice long talk with my grandma, and there was no way she would be getting off for follow up questions any time soon.

So I went to my sister. I knocked on her door, trying to make myself be heard over the blaring sound of Richard Marx. She cracked her door after 55 knocks and said, "Happy Birthday....what do you want?"

I swallowed, and got myself ready. I could tell she did not have an abundance of patience at this time. "Katie, where do you put the eggs you lay each month?"

I don't think she heard me because she immediately answered, "In the sink!" as she slammed the door in my face.

I ran back downstairs to check out the sink. No eggs. I wonder when she puts them in there? I'll have to keep my eye on her...

I paced back and forth thinking about what I would say when i did finally lay an egg in someone else's presence. "Oh, it's my time of the month...I'm a woman now so my utrass is just shooting out eggs like crazy."

I practiced witty comebacks if anyone teased me. "What? You never saw an egg before? What planet have YOU been living on?!"

I tried out different positions for optimal egg laying. (Squatting seemed to be most appropriate...)

FINALLY...my mom hung up the phone...and I bum rushed her. "Mom! MOM! Listen. I need to talk to you about this egg situation..." I began.

She looked at me, befuddled. "What?"

I was getting aggrivated. I needed MORE information! I went on in a stressed out slur, "When I menslate, will I know that the egg is coming? Will I feel it beforehand or will it just pop out? ...and what if it breaks in my pants? Will the yolk stain? How big will my eggs get? Is it much bigger than the eggs we use to make cookies? It's not like that dinosaur egg we saw at the Field Museum...right?!"

It took her several minutes before she understood what I was referring to....and when she had stoppped laughing hysterically, she explained that, No...I would NOT be laying an egg like a chicken. I would just be bleeding for 5-7 days straight...which was much, much less traumatizing.

As an adult, I just have one question...

How am I not living in a mental hospital right now?!?!

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