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Un folding…

January 21, 2010

Heart often means “womb” except when it means “vulva”…

In its aspect of vulva,

it signifies sexual connection or bonding.

But this cannot be misunderstood to mean sex as sex;

rather sexual connection with woman means connection with the womb,

which is the container of power that women carry within their bodies…

So when the teacher Kloskurbeh says that “these things come from the goodness of a woman’s heart,”

he is saying that the seeds of her power are good—

that is they are alive, bearing, nourishing, and cooperative with the well-being of the people.

— in The Sacred Hoop by Paula Gunn Allen


I don’t know what it’s like across the provinces,

but in my day,

as an elementary school teacher,

it was one of the million of my responsibilities,

to ensure,

that my young students,

knew the correct names,

for their private parts…

Terms like nooks and crannies,

or wee-wee,

are fine for the privacy of your own home,

but in the public sphere,

for the intents and purposes of personal safety,

proficient and accurate use of appropriate terms such as,







and breast,

is the only way every student,

will meet the prescribed learning outcomes,

by June of Kindergarten,

or Grade One…

With informed parental consent,

of course…

A teacher can’t be a wuss about such things,

because children smell rats,

and they’ll find,

and expose them.

with just one look…

By recess you could be knocked out,

behind the book stand,

if you don’t play your cards right,

and deal with the hand,

you’ve been given,

by your family’s cultural-historical,

line of thinking…

The Care Kit Program,

that was a Ministry mandated resource,

did not refer to the vulva,

or maybe I skimmed over that part,

as it wasn’t something I was familiar with,

from my own linguistic experience…

I didn’t learn that term,

and have yet to find comfort or facility with the word,

because until recently,

I didn’t know how special it is…


Unless they have visited your house,

the majority of students believe,

that teachers live somewhere,

in or near,

their desks…

And they are certainly not prepared,

for their teacher saying,


and vagina,

until it they just can’t stand it anymore…

I take my professional responsibilities seriously,

and I don’t hide behind my own discomfort,

if I can help it…

I remember a six year old boy approaching me,

during Choice Time,

with an Eyewitness centerfold,

opened up,

to show a cross section,

of a woman’s torso,


a full-term fetus…

After presenting me with the image,

he expressed visceral concern,

We’re playing Lego and building spaceships over there,

and my friends and I are wondering,

how you’re going to get that baby out of your vagina…

My mom says the doctor cut her babies out of her tummy…

Is that going to happen to you???

I responded with,

At times a cesarean section is completely necessary,

but I’m planning to have my baby at home,

in a pool I bought at Canadian Tire,

because hospitals are outside,

of my comfort zone…

If you bring me a ruler,

I’ll show you how my body and the baby,

are going to work together,

so it can be born without a doctor…

He went to get a yellow school issue ruler,

with the black gradations,

marking out centimeters…

Then we did the math,

by counting up to ten,


Then I put the ruler down on the page,

where the cervix,

was scientifically indicated,

on the cross-section…

I said,

This part of my body has to open up this wide before I can start pushing the baby out…

And if all goes well,

the baby will come out on it’s own…

The opening and pushing takes a lot of hard work,

and that is why we call birthing a baby “labour”…

Because I wasn’t sure that his parents would be okay,

with me taking such liberties,

with language and information,

I checked in with them,

in the parking lot,

after school…

They were fine with it…

And amazed that their son thought at such a level…

His mom said to me,

I’m not sure that I would have been able to put all of those facts of life,

down on the table…

I wasn’t raised to talk about those things…

These are the kind of learning conversations that children appreciate,

over storks and cabbage patches…

We should be able to do this for each others’ children,

as the need arises…

When I see this boy now,

in his late teens,

I don’t know if he remembers the details,

of our birthing discussion…

But I do know,

from the way he responds to me,

that he remembers my openness to his questions,

and my willingness,

to challenge convention,

in the name of honesty,

and the seeding of power…

This week Little Gem cried a wet pillowcase,

over friend trouble,

at school…

Starshine and I did what we could,

to listen,

and offer solutions…

But Little Gem wanted,

a different perspective,

and therefore,

called Prudence,

on how to work through,

a program of exclusion…

Our kind of love never seems to get old…                  (photo: Starshine)

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