It is a typical afternoon. I have to pick Em up from school and then swing over to put gas in the car. If it ends up snowing as much as I think it might, then the last thing I want to contend with is the insanity of Montreal gas stations in the morning.
She hops in and begins the rambling debrief of her day. If you know the mind of an 11 year old, the abilty to leap from topic to topic with absolutely no linearity of thought is breathtaking. She crams everything into under five minutes - social problems, homework, gossip, opinions AND her sing song version of whatever song is "cool" at this point.
I only half listen. It is difficult to keep up with her mind, and I am lost in my own world of nearing the end of this phase of writing. I am living in theory of mind and meta-cognition in the academic parition of my mind. That, jumbled with Vygotsky and the social origins of human conciousness make me a little foggy when faced with real world issues. Like say Eating, or Bathing.
I pull up to the gas station and wait behind a woman who seems confused as to why she has pulled up to the pump.
"Lady", I say in the car, "One would think that you had a firm grasp on the Hows and Whys of a gas station before you got here. Get a Move on!"
"You're kinda cranky", she laughs.
"No, I don't think so - but COME ON! It's a gas station. You drive up, you get out, pay and pump gas. There is no philosophical component to this exchange."
We listen to the radio. I wait, staring at the back of the minivan. The driver finally seems to decode the mystery of the Gas Pump and finishes.
I pull up and open my door.
You'd think that with the number of times this kid has ambushed me with questions, I would have learned to expect the unexpected. But I never do.
"Hey Mom - You're turning 40 this year right. Is it true that you stop getting your period when you turn 40?"
My door is open and I have one foot out of the car. The best I can do is to say, "What?"
Em: "Doesn't your period stop when you turn 40?"
Me: "It's called Menopause and we will talk about it when I get back into the car after pumping the gas - just give me a few minutes..."
I stand outside in the cold pondering the question. Honestly, I don't know all that much about Menopause, but I am pretty sure that my upcoming birthday doesn't signal the end of my fertility. Furthermore, my Mom didn't really talk about her menopause so I don't have a real good family historical record. All I know is that my crazy ass mother got REAL crazy and ditched her husband of 20 years to act like she was 19 and wear belly shirts.
I finish with the gas pump and get back into the car.
Me: "When your period ends, it's called Menopause and while the age for every woman is different, it doesn't usually start until you are closer in age to 50, so I have a few more years left before I am in Menopause. Why?"
Em: "I just thought it ended when you turned 40. And maybe you wouldn't be so cranky near your period."
Me: "Nope. It doesn't work that way. It takes time for your body to rev up to having a period, and time for your body to wind down. And I am not that cranky near my period. But if I am, I suggest you just keep it to yourself if you know what is good for you."