I must tell you, there is something kind of funny about helping your child with their sex-ed homework in a different language. It’s not the awkward, uncomfortable-funny that one might expect. Rather it’s a whole new level of curiosity, wrapping our heads around words we’ve never heard before, definitely can’t pronounce, but which have the same ability to create a mental picture in your mind.
I figured the opportunity to get familiar with the terms and phrases was important for me as well, considering that my German language skills would still be in the beginner category and mispronunciation is to be expected. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t accidentally saying something one might consider vulgar or shocking. It is easy to do – the mispronunciation of the city of Regina is awkward for everyone.
I’m still feeling badly for the shock I caused for the sweet little girls I was responsible to teach horse-back-riding to in Australia when I told them all to put their fanny packs aside. The shock on their little faces is something I’ll never forget.
Hoping to avoid a similar memorable moment while here. Knowing the names of all the parts seems like a good step.
Of course, like all things we have discovered here, we didn’t know what to expect with the subject of sex-ed in school. We were definitely prepared for this to fall in line with our early impression of their take on human sexuality. Considering the openness with which Europeans share their affection, making out in public is acceptable no matter your age or gender. And considering their lack of humility with nudity, embracing the group showers, unisex change rooms at swimming pools and the speedo in general. Considering the classroom Dr’s appointments and public weighings, we knew sex-ed would not disappoint in terms of surprises and “wtf” moments.
All of this build-up helped us to understand and rationalize a rather odd choice at Diego’s school this year. It has never been explained or defended in this light but no matter how many times I turn it over in my head, sex-ed is the only justification for what happened in Diego’s class.
Let me back up a moment to set the stage. I believe I have touched on this in the past. There are strict rules here. These rules cover everything from crossing the street to how you do your recycling. Rules are the foundation of this incredibly well-run culture.
One of the rules we’ve struggled with, and there have been many, is going to the movies. We grew up understanding the movie rating system. As a kid I distinctly remember doing my very best to appear older than I was so that I could join my friends in the PG-13 movies. We have enjoyed many a PG-13 movie with our two as well, welcoming the conversations that are often inspired from the subject matter. The movie Wonder is PG and it’s a movie EVERY child should see.
That’s not a choice here. Rather than the understanding that one, who is not yet 13, must be accompanied by a parent to see a PG-13 movie, here the rule is that no one under the age of 13 will see the movie. Full-stop. It is not the parents’ discretion. It’s the rule.
It even extends to the library. Diego loves to read. Some of his favourite series have been books which have been made into movies. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games. Great books. Awesome movies. But when Diego chose to take out the Percy Jackson book from the library, an alarm sounded when we tried to leave the building. The film, you see, is rated PG-12. Diego at the time was 11. He had read the entire series but here he is deemed too young to see the movie.
You know what other film is PG-13? Star Wars.
Also? Wonder Woman.
Two films we were eagerly anticipating but not allowed to take our kids to see here. (We did, of course take them. We just taught our children how to lie about their age when questioned. Awesome life skills we’re developing in them here.)
So when a note came home from school the week before Christmas to explain that the kids would be watching a movie in class, it was a little perplexing when we learned what the movie choice was.
Baywatch is not rated PG-12. It’s not PG-13, it isn’t even Mature. No, no, it’s rated R, and understandably so.
So as a parent, I can’t take my little girl to go see Wonder Woman for a good girl-power, pick-me-up kind of movie. But my kid’s school can show him Baywatch in class?!?!
You can now understand why, my assumption was that the only reason for this choice must be how seriously they take sex-ed.
“Boys and girls, let’s watch this movie and then talk about how it made our bodies feel.”
Diego didn’t think the film had anything to do with their unit on sex-ed.
“No Mom, it’s just the movie we’re watching for our Christmas party.”
Huh? Christmassy, right…that totally makes sense.
Anyhow, I’m not a parent who believes that sex-ed is the responsibility of the school so we have lots of great conversations at home anyhow.
And what better time than Spring, when the birds and the bees are active. In our case here it’s the frogs. Anything not covered in class, or left with some confusion after watching Baywatch, we are learning at the pond.
There are frog eggs in every body of water here. Thousands upon thousands of them. And every time you see a frog you need to look a little closer because it’s most likely two.
Heading to the pond is our favourite activity these days. A bit voyeuristic, I’ll admit, but a heckuva-lot more anatomically accurate than Baywatch.