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Would You Like Some Syrup With Your Uterus?

My Little Red Book by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff

I am currently reading a really amazing book that I bought as a present for my sister but have yet to give her (oops, hi Kel, hope you’re not reading this!): My Little Red Book.

My Little Red Book is a collection of stories from a whole range of different women about getting their first periods. Since I have always felt I had a pretty memorable first period story myself (but then again, who doesn’t?), I was very excited to read this book and hear others.

I am not even halfway through the book yet, but the other night I read a first period story that I identified with so much I just had to share it. 

Three words: pancake batter uterus. 

The story is called “The Blusher, 2002” and in it, Elli Foster recalls how, two years prior, she was shown a rough diagram of a uterus with pancake batter at school. At the end of her story, after she has gotten her first period, she remembers that a friend offered her a tampon but she had to decline because she didn’t know how to use one. She says, “If only I had paid more attention to the pancake-batter uterus…”

Now, while I know I never saw any of my elementary school teachers actually sling pancake batter in order to teach us about female anatomy, I am familiar with the pancake batter uterus. It was featured in one of those “Your Changing Body” (or some other clever metamorphosis-implying-titled) videos that they show you in fourth grade while the boys go in another room and watch “Your Growing Pubic Hair” (or a similarly-titled film).

As I remember it, the video goes a little something like this:

Girl sleeps over at friend’s house.

Friends all giggle as they discuss their “changing bodies” – I specifically remember a lot of giggling about tender breast buds.

Girl wakes up the next morning and discovers she has gotten her first period.

Girl goes downstairs to tell friend’s mother, who just so happens to be making pancakes for breakfast.

While girl asks where she can find the Kotex (or whatever brand is sponsoring this video), friend’s mother takes it upon herself to illustrate the female reproductive system using a ladle of pancake batter.

Friend’s mom makes a delicious looking uterus, complete with ovaries and fallopian tubes, and lets them sizzle on the griddle.

Friend’s dad eats the pancake.

This video and the tale of the pancake batter uterus did not make the same impression on my friends as it did on me. Many of them don’t remember anything about it.

Of course, they remember watching the videos, the segregation from the boys during those sacred female bonding moments, the asking of awkward questions to our 60-year-old post-menopausal female grade school teachers.

But the pancake? Lost in time. It’s as if the girl with the tender growing breasts ate it out of their memories with a big pad of butter.

I, however, am not so lucky. I not only still have the image of that edible reproductive system burned into my brain (15 years later), I continue to recount it to others ad nauseam (literally, in some cases). I bring it up to women I meet in the bathroom if I catch them disposing of a tampon wrapper, “Don’t you remember that video with the pancake in the shape of a uterus? Isn’t it great to be a woman? Here, try a Divacup!”

But now, without further ado, as inspired by My Little Red Book, I, too, will share my first period story:

I was 11 years old, in the 5th grade, and I discovered that “I Got It!” (probably the name of another educational movie about menstruation) in the bathroom at school that morning. What made the date particularly memorable was that at the same time I was getting my first period, my little brother was being born. I had to tell my Dad when I got home from school that day, who was very supportive and didn’t make me feel weird or awkward at all. When I told my mom at the hospital that night, her best friend was there, and I will never forget what she said to me:

“May God bless you until the day you go through menopause!”

 

11 comments to Would You Like Some Syrup With Your Uterus?

  • Ali

    I have been searching for this video for at least two years. If I can find it I would be the hero amongst all my friends. If you or anyone out there finds this video or evidence that it ever existed, outside of our memories, let me know!

  • I would love to see it again too, Ali. Glad I’m not the only one who remembers it!

  • Shannon

    LMFAO! I too am searching for this video and am glad that someone else remembers it. It was just so absurd. I think that’s why it stuck in my head all these years. Who would do that? I have tried many times while making pancakes and it never comes out that shape. How the heck did she do it?

  • Peter

    I realize this is a little late, but I thought I’d add my 2cents since I came across it when my wife asked me to look for a copy of this video.

    My research seems to indicate it was
    “I Got It! An Always Changing Program Video on Menstruation from Proctor & Gamble”
    Publisher: [Cincinnati, Ohio] : Proctor & Gamble Co., ©1988.

    I actually just received a response regarding my request to P&G wherein I asked about potential backstock of that 1988 edition which might (or might not) interest you, and where it could possibly be obtained.

    Sadly while it leaves a little room for hope, it does not provide a direct avenue for access.

    —–
    from “P&G North America”
    to “Me”
    date Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 4:22 PM
    subject Thank you for contacting Always. [ ref:00D7JViV.50079T71a:ref ]

    Thanks for contacting Always, Peter.

    I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not aware of our Always Changing Program materials being available for sale. Although I doubt a video that old is still part of the current program, the materials are only available to school nurses or teachers.

    I wish I had better news. Thanks again for stopping by.

    Ruth
    Always Team
    —–
    Perhaps a school nurse or teacher with connections to old an old media room, or a school that hasn’t updated their materials? According to a quick Google search several school systems still use the materials and it would only take a few minutes to copy the tape…

  • Brittany

    lol… just had to comment on this. It is SO amazingly funny that the movie really is called “I Got It!” and I too remember it all too well only no one else ever seems to know what I’m talking about. That image of the pancake uterus traumatized me for life… no wonder our generation is as “special” as it is.

  • Mariah

    Peter you are my hero! Time for my hunt to begin, if I find anything I’m going to report back here.

  • Kristin

    OH, I’m so glad I found this thread!
    This video was actually NOT the one we showed at school, but the one my mother borrowed from the school nurse (since it was an older version) to show me before I had to watch the other one at school.

  • Great post – I’ve been struggling with this for some time and it’s great to see this information.

  • HAHA- I’m SO glad other people remember this video!!! It too scarred me, and beyond that, left me MORE confused than before!!! If anyone finds this gem, please let me know!! 🙂

  • david

    my wife asked me to search for this since i can usually find anything online. i guess it’s nowhere to be found??? all we need is one person with the tape and a video camera and we’d at least be able to see it…even if it would be bad quality.

  • Chrissy

    Alright, 2 years later Ive stumbled across this thread and figured I’d chime in. While I do not have a copy of the much sought-after video (except for the one burned into my memory, that is), I did find mention of it in an old NYtimes article.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/05/fashion/sundaystyles/05Movie.html?pagewanted=all

    So at least we all know it was real….

    In my memory the title “I got it” had a double meaning- the girl in the video was hoping for an invitation for the slumber party. It was a camping sleep-over, and all the girls were in tents in the backyard when she discovered that she had gotten her first period. The birthday girl’s mother was also the school nurse, which were her qualifications for explaining the female reproductive system with pancakes to all of the girls the next morning.

    Not sure if all of that was actually real, or if I’ve just filled in the blanks over time….

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