On Tuesday I borrowed a book from the Manly Library called "My Mum has Breast Cancer". It was written and illustrated by a 6 year old boy and his mother as a remorse for children. I showed it to Remie, who was very keen to read it, so we sat down together. She asked questions along the way and took it all in. Afterwards, I asked her if she'd said anything to her friends at school as she is a very gregarious and inclusive friend who would be interested in sharing this new bit of news with her friends. She looked shocked. "I can't, Mummy, because they'll all make fun of me", she said. When I asked her why, she said, "Because breast is a private part and we aren't supposed to talk about those" (apparently one of her friends had laughed at the word when Remie had said it before). We discussed it and she agreed that I should talk to her teacher and see if we could do something we could work out.
I spoke to Miss C. and she suggested that Remie bring the book in. They read it in class over the past two days, with Remie adding her personal narration of what we've already experienced. Remie seemed happy and said none of the kids laughed.
I was at school pick up today (note to my American friends: we don't have yellow school busses here so parents/carers have to drop off and pick up our kids ourselves) and caught up with some friends on my way to get Remie. We discussed the merits of groovy hats for protecting hairless heads from sunburn. As I made my way across the Kindy area to where Remie's class gets out, a little boy in her class walked by me, pointed at me, and said "You have breast cancer" and kept walking. I guess the book got the point across and helped take the "naughtiness" out of the word breast - at least in this instance.