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"Guess what! Mommy was in labour yesterday for eight hours!"
The little girl came flying out of the Sub Arctic blackness just before the bell went at 9 a.m.
We stood in the pool of light that shone from one of the school windows.
"What did she have?" I asked with a smile.
"A BABY!" she shrieked.
The newest arrival in Dawson City, which had a population of about 500 hardy souls in those days, sent all of the little girls in the school into a frenzy of excitement.
Sex, babies, labour, birth, babies, pregnancy, sex, nursing, delivery, sex, babies, babies, babies.
On and on it went ... whisper, whisper, day in and day out.
This was long before sex education classes took away the thrill of learning about life from your best friend's older sister at recess.
And the town had several very conservative religious groups that carefully monitored the goings on at the school so it wasn`t possible to simply give them the facts.
Anyway, it was hard keeping their minds on the upcoming Christmas presentation.
And putting on a children's Christmas concert is more stressful than an opening night on Broadway.
Ask any teacher.
I was beside myself with anxiety.
Would somebody get sick? Get stage fright? Cry? Throw up? Have a fight with another cast member? Would we lose a prop? A costume? A mind?
I could barely sleep for worrying.
And the kids could barely sleep for thinking about where babies came from.
But the big night finally did arrive and as I was back stage riding herd on the cast members, most of it went by in a blur.
I kept listening though because I knew the play would be over when I heard the narrator say:
So we went to the church and we all got presents.
As we drew close to the moment I almost imploded with relief.
I still laugh when I remember how I leaned against the wall, closed my tired eyes and listened to the tiny narrator say:
So we went to the church and we all got pregnant ... ...
presents ... I mean we got presents!
Wishing you a stress free pre-Christmas week!