Fly On The Wall
Over the last 6 years, I’ve had many moments when I wished I could be a fly on the wall in Laurel’s classrooms. The other day I got to be one in the girl’s bathroom. And the experience did not disappoint. On Friday after school, right after Laurel came out of the building, she asked to go back in to pee. I took her in, along with her friend Rebecca. And out of habit, I walked into the bathroom with them instead of waiting in the hall. (This didn’t occur to me as strange until I relayed the story to Jon and he said, “Really? You went into the bathroom with them?”) I leaned against the wall and listened with amusement as they chit chatted through the bathroom stalls, talking about how it’s easier to pee when you don’t have to fuss with a snowsuit, and did you see that so-and-so (a female classmate) went into the boy’s bathroom, and oh, do you need help turning on the water. And so forth.
And then after they washed their hands and were pulling paper towels out of the wall dispenser, the tampon/pad dispenser to the left caught their eye. The conversation went something like this:
Laurel (sheepishly glancing at me): “Um, did you know that sometimes if you turn one of these knobs a quarter will pop out?”
Rebecca (not understanding): “What? Well, I only have a penny in my pocket.”
Laurel: “Oh, I don’t have any change in my pockets. But I do have a bunch of change in my lunchbox if I want to buy a snack…So what do you think, should I turn the knob? Should we try to see if a quarter will shoot out?”
[They both move closer and peer at the little line drawings on the dispenser…some of the print has rubbed off but one slot is labeled tampon and the other is labeled napkin.]
Rebecca: “What are these things anyway?”
Laurel: “I don’t know. Mom, why do you have to pay 25 cents for a napkin?”
Me (unsure if Rebecca’s mom has told her about periods…I decide to go for it): “Well, that’s actually a machine for women, not kids. Supplies for, um, when you get your period.”
Rebecca (peers at tampon line art): “What is this picture? This looks like a telephone. You can buy a telephone for 25 cents?”
Laurel (peers at sanitary napkin line art): “And this one looks like…a cereal box! But they call it a napkin!”
[They both laugh hysterically. Then peer at the tampon line art again.]
Laurel: “Also, why does it say ‘ampon’ (the ‘t’ is missing) above the telephone? These labels are all messed up. Mom, what’s an ‘ampon’?”
Me (pretty sure this conversation is going nowhere fast): “It must be a misprint. C’mon, let’s go guys. Rebecca’s mom is probably waiting.”
I don't care what Jon says. I'm totally going into the bathroom again next time.