I was doing Mary's hair yesterday morning. She talked about a very fussy 4th-grade classmate, who wears lip gloss, nail polish, and fancy clothes. Mary said, "And at field day when we all got wet, she was wearing a white shirt and you could see her training bra underneath! She didn't even have the decency to put on a jacket!"
Sensing she was opening the door to a more sensitive conversation, I asked if many girls at school wore training bras, and if they talked about their changing bodies.
Mary said, "Yes, some do. And there is one thing I've been talking to Sara about."
"Yes?" I said, leaning closer.
"It's about a part of our bodies changing as we get older."
"Yes?" I said, leaning so close I was practically in her lap. "What is it?" I was ready for a very special episode of the morning routine.
"We've been very concerned about . . . the EAR."
"Oh. Um, okay," I said, confused. "Wait, what?"
"Mr. Colver said that we're born with millions of tiny hairs in our ears and as we age they die. So that's why we shouldn't listen to loud music with headphones. We need to be careful with our hearing now so we won't lose it when we're older. He said that our class has already killed hundreds of his tiny hairs with all the talking we've done this week alone."
I finished doing her braids. And I was quite relieved to know that one of the most pressing body issues she has is whether all of her cillia stay intact through adulthood.