Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Match Your Aytion
The 18th was the kids' last day of school for the year and the powers that be at the school decided that it was the perfect day for The Maturation Talk for the 5th graders. It was on the school calendar, so I immediately started teasing Sam about it.
When Abby was in 5th grade and I knew The Maturation Talk was coming up I chose a day she and I were headed to Tulsa (captive audience, you know) and gave her MY version. We discussed periods, boobs and hair - the trifecta of puberty for a girl. I threw in a dash of PMS and a smattering of reproduction, but she didn't ask and I didn't go further. You really need to go read the post I wrote shortly after we had our talk. It's touching. Really.
Abby is a very laid-back kid and always has been. She took our Period Talk in stride and when they did The Maturation Talk at school it was no big thing. When I asked her about it that night she shrugged and said, "Meh. They didn't tell us anything I didn't already know. Big deal." Last year she did WiseUp which is Sex Ed through the county Health Department and gives the kids twelve weeks of information about abstinence, monogamy, contraception, STIs, relationships, abuse, etc. Before that, too, I gave her my take on sex and relationships, contraception, etc. and again, she was completely cool with it. (It also did my heart good to know she knew NOTHING prior to our talk. Thank God for innocence and small schools.) Basically, she's open and honest and mature about all of it.
But Sam, ohhhhh my Sam....he's a little more uptight. Okay, he's a lot more uptight.
I, of course, razzed him almost daily up until the 18th and finally he'd had enough and asked, "Okay, so what's so important that they're going to tell us?"
It occurred to me at that precise moment that I had no clue on earth what they were going to tell the boys. So I went to my husband and said, "Your son is on the edge of puberty and they are going to give them The Maturation Talk at school next week and you should probably tell him what to expect." Paul looked terrified. I leaned in and quietly said, "Not that talk, just the talk about hair and BO and you know." With the words "you know" I nodded toward his crotch.
Now, the grin that came across his face should've been warning for me to just say, "You know what, nevermind. The school can take care of it," but I wasn't quick enough. Instead my husband turned to my son and said, "Hey, Sam. Your wiener's going to start getting bigger." Then he looked back at me and said, "Okay. I did it. Happy?"
Oh, delirious, my love.
A few days later I took the opportunity to expound a little more on what the subject matter of The Maturation Talk would be. I also said, "Not being a wiener-owner myself, I'm only speculating, of course, but I can tell you about what the girls will learn." The pale complexion on my 11 year old son's face did not deter me as I delved into Periods and Pads and PMS because it just so happened that my nearly 8 year old daughter decided to sit in on the conversation and I figured I might as well hit the proverbial two birds with one stone. She was mesmerized, but completely un-traumatized. Sam, however, was shocked and appalled. I ended the speech with, "And son, if you ever hear a girl mention her period, PMS or if you notice more zits on her face than usual and possibly uncontrollable tears for no apparent reason, go to her, place chocolate in front of her and walk away. DO NOT make eye contact and do not engage her in conversation. Just give her chocolate and walk away. Trust me on this, dude." Abby walked through the dining room about that time and said, "Amen, sister."
The Day of The Maturation Talk came and I sent him off to school with a "Have fun learning about your wiener! See you at the Christmas party this afternoon!" having no idea that my son would be forever traumatized by the day's events.
Apparently, the girls and boys emerged from their separate classrooms after The Talk with looks of horror on their faces and stumbled weakly to the cafeteria where not one of them ate a bite of their lunches. Imagine roughly 40 10 and 11 year olds staring blankly ahead with trays of food in front of them. I hear it was quite a sight. And of course, leave it to my son to be the most vocal about his vehemence to NEVER mature into puberty - so much so that his teacher actually caught me out in the hall during the Christmas party to tell me that he was very upset with the new information. She said Abby's class was the most mature they'd ever had, my niece's class was the most innocent and unknowing and Sam's the most traumatized. I can only imagine what Kady's class will be like. That class may end up teaching the teachers a thing or two.
I tried all evening to get Sam to tell me what they talked about because, well, I'm curious. I mean, I only went through puberty as a girl. I'd like to know the rest of the story, Paul Harvey. He adamantly refused to speak of the horror for days and it took lots of space, some good-natured ribbing and his Grammy fixing him up a goody bag of deodorant, body wash and cologne to finally break him down enough to tell me OH MY GOSH MOM MY *dramatic pointing to his crotch* IS GOING TO GET BIG AND I DON'T WANT IT TO BE BIG AND PLEASE MAKE IT STOP AND I NEVER WANT TO GROW UP AND THIS IS AWFUL DO I REALLY HAVE TO? SERIOUSLY DO I HAVE TO? PLEASE SAY NO OH MY GOSH THIS IS BAD REALLY BAD.
Once again it is made starkly clear that my three children couldn't be any more different - I have one who analyzes and dissects the scientific inner workings of the human body with quiet curiosity and maturity, one who is so repressed he'll probably end up in therapy or become a monk and then of course, there's the one who wears stripper dust.
So, so many reasons to be proud.
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