...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Monday, March 10, 2008

boy II man

My oldest son, who now appears out of nowhere to remind me that he's 10 1/2 years old and not 10 when I'm asked by friends and the random stranger interested in perhaps abducting him how old he is, completed a week long puberty class last Friday.

The note about the class came home for my signature a few days prior. Seeing it made me think a couple of things. First, when is it that I became the mother of a 10 1/2 year old kid? Second, when did they start calling the "penis and period" class "puberty class"?

A) Remember that time during the winter of 1996, when you'd been married a couple of years and you kept rubbing up on your husband and telling him you thought he'd make a really great daddy? That's how. Duh! Didn't you go to penis and puberty class, girl?
B) Probably shortly after the kids in my fifth grade class called it the "penis and puberty" class, then giggled uproariously at how our clever brains operated, believing that surely no one ever had thought of anything quite as hilarious.

Granted, it's been a few years, but I don't recall bringing home a note for my parents to sign, allowing me to sit in the empty lunchroom and find out about how I should shower regularly and not mess with my zits because that would just make them worse. I wonder if I had, they would have talked to me about that special time in my life when I was blossoming into a woman. Nah! I didn't even get so much as a book about puberty from them. Instead, I gathered insight into the female reproductive realm via the stick figure illustrations in the pamphlet our school guidance counselor passed out, the same ones we'd then draw genitalia on and giggle about when said guidance counselor turned out the lights for our very important film strip titled "March of the Menses," or something like that. Not the kind I'd later sneak to watch late at night on Cinemax that helped teach more so much more. In a softcore, apparently all it takes is BOOBS! to turn someone on kind of way, that is.

Anyway, note signed and pat on the back shared with my 10 1/2 year old, I sent him to school one morning as a boy and expected him to come home a man. Upon his return to the tribe as a brave and mighty warrior, I could see from the gleam in his eye that he had exciting things about growing up to share with me. After tossing out words like "testicles," "pubic hair," and "sperm" (which, for some reason, he said with that skin shivering, "This is disgusting" reaction that I reserve for words like "human creepshow" and "murder") he approached me with his hands cupping something small that he'd hidden behind his back.

"Guess what we got in puberty class today!!" he asked.

First, my internal dialogue kicked in. "I'm pretty sure the note didn't talk about distributing condoms. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but come on! It's fifth grade here. Please don't make it be a condom. Don't make it be a condom..."

Me: "Is it something small?"
Son: "Yep!"
Me: "Is it in a wrapper?"
Son: "Yep!"
Me: "Is it something you know you can talk to me about as your parent and a trusted adult, but perhaps would like to wait until your Dad is home so you can share this with him?"
Son: "Mom. Just guess."

A couple random guesses later, the child brandished a blue plastic bag, ripped it open and yanked out a package of Old Spice Pro Strength deodorant. Today's puberty is brought to you by Old Spice. Clinically proven to fight odor and wetness AND make you smell like my Grandpa!
(sidebar - how freaking cool is it you can manscape a virtual man on the Old Spice website!?! Go kill an hour. I did!)

The deodorant came packaged with a thorough, Old Spice-approved pamphlet containing information about stinky armpits, changing voices, out of whack feelings - and the parts that would make me giggle like a fifth grader - nocturnal emissions and erections.

Actually, sometimes, those last two things make me giggle still.

Following his third day of puberty class (the second was spent talking about feelings and changing emotions, blah, blah, blah, which makes me think, huh, I must go through puberty every couple of hours), my son came home with a perplexed expression upon his face. He grimaced when I asked what his lesson had been that day. Reaching into his backpack, he pulled out a diagram of the female reproductive system, unwrinkled it, put it up to my face and announced, "This is GROSSSSSSSS!!"

Me: "That's not gross, honey! That's a beautiful thing! Did you learn that babies develop and grow there?"
Son: "Mom! This is where you pee from!!"

Not wanting to stifle the learning, I asked if he'd also learned about the "Miracle of Menstruation" (starring Russell Crowe and Kate Winslet). His rolling eyes, which in between rolls glanced around the room as if to assure himself that we were not being listened in on by anyone he knew, indicated they had.

Me: "Well...do you have any questions about that? About a female's menstrual period?"
Son: ::silence::
Me: "Let me just ask you this, then. You know Mom doesn't mean it when she gets all out of control and threatens to, oh, I don't know, set your Dad's head ablaze every few weeks, right?"
Timid Son: "Yes..."
Me: "Good! Now you know why that is, right?"
Son, now a tiny bit scared, thus ignoring me: "You know when the baby is growing up there it's attached and when it's born, they have to cut that wire, right?"
Me: "Wire?"
Son: "You know! The wire! The thing the baby gets it's food from until it's born!"
Me: "Honey, that's called an umbilical chord. Were you listening in class today, or drawing things on stick figures in the margins of your pamphlet?"
Son: "Can I maybe just have a cupcake now?"
Mom: "You may have a cupcake, which I'm sure you're glad you can eat without it having to be fed to you via a wire connecting me to you!"

Thankfully, btw, giving birth to a child isn't like having to get a Fisher Price Little People barnyard set out of the box at Christmas, what with all the wires, clips, and fasteners they use to secure toys in boxes these days. The last thing I'd want to see is a rechargeable screwdriver coming at my GROSSSSSSSS parts!

Later that night, as we were trapped in the mini while running errands, he mentioned that the teacher had also provided them a diagram of the male reproductive system. A system, it should be noted, that my son thinks rocks (his word, which was enhanced by a few unseen but quite obvious exclamation points, and perhaps a few fireworks plus a motorcyclist jumping a gorge while being encouraged by buxom cheerleaders. Cheerleaders my son actually doesn't really care for much at this point because, case in point based on the previously noted uterus, girls suck, thank you very much).

"Do you think it rocks?" he asked me. I masked my affinity for the male reproductive system with an answer I felt he could relate to.

"Well, it is where you pee from," I said, all crinkly nosed and 'blech' faced in the rearview mirror for him to see.

"Whatever. I think it rocks!" he responded "All except for all the other stuff about it."

Me: "What other stuff?"
Son: "Stuff. Just stuff."
Me, flipping the light bulb on: "Ohhh! Stuff stuff! Did your teacher talk to you about erections?"
Son: "Directions?"
Me: "Not directions! Erections. EEEE-WRECK-SHUNS! Erections!" (I like to say it a lot in hopes of curbing the giggling)
Son: "We don't need directions. We're going to Target. We go there all the time!"

In his defense, the music in the mini at the time was a bit loud. That, or he really knew what I was saying and simply didn't wish to speak to me - a nosy female AND his mother - about erections. I can't blame him. I just hope we get through his actual puberty as easily, and with as straightforward directions.
Also? Seriously, too much erection talk does make me giggle a bit.



Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

When musical notes fall gracefully from the gently thrummed wire...

...that's the umbilical chord.

There was also some crying.

Sunday, March 09, 2008 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger Phyllis RenĂ©e said...

When I had the "little talk" with my daughter (because they hadn't had it at school yet and a few of her friends had already started) it was complete with pictures. Pictures she drew. At one point I asked her if she had any questions. She then took pencil and paper and drew a very accurate penis. She asked, "What are those hangie down thingies in the the back?" OH, it was a fun talk we still laugh about today.

Monday, March 10, 2008 5:39:00 AM  
Blogger Melody said...

OMG - THat is the funniest thing ever!

And completely the reason that my husband will be handling all of "those" talks with our boys. Hopefully my step-daughter will not need a talk while she is visiting us, annd I'm in the clear!

Monday, March 10, 2008 7:18:00 AM  
Blogger Chuck said...

LOL What hilarity! Good to know others have funny stories about this kind of stuff too.

Being the, practically, single Dad that I am I had the privilege of walking my daughter through it all when she got her first period. My wife, her step-mom, wasn't too much help since all the advice she'd gotten from her mom was "sticky side down" when given a pad. I talked my daughter through it all and even made her hold up a handmade sign saying "I got my period...and the date" so I could take pictures! She'll really love those pics one of these days.

Monday, March 10, 2008 7:54:00 AM  
Anonymous TwoBusy said...

(trying to think of something appropriately appreciative to say, failing, then finally just standing up and applauding)

Monday, March 10, 2008 8:34:00 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

Is THAT what a woman looks like down there? That looks like something out of War of the Worlds, honestly.

I woke up with some crazy directions this morning. Took nearly 10 minutes for me to...

Um, never mind.

I'm sending my kids to you in about 3-4 years to learn all this stuff, by the way.

Monday, March 10, 2008 8:52:00 AM  
Blogger Stacie said...

roflmao! I love this post. Just the other day I was thinking of doing a post about when my youngest hit puberty and why he may now need intense therapy because of his deranged mother.
You, however, are an awsome mom, and I bet your kids will come to you and talk to you about anything when the time comes.
Even if girls are gross! LOL

Monday, March 10, 2008 9:00:00 AM  
Blogger cat said...

We didn't have classes like that when I was in elementary school. Heck, my biology class in high school wasn't that great either. Gotta love the Catholics! We enjoy living blind!

Of course, I am such a prude and shy little thing I skipped over all the parts in the Bio book with the nekked people because looking at them was improper and made me feel dirty. *blush* To this day I don't really know what goes on in a man's pants. ;)

Monday, March 10, 2008 9:21:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Hmmm. . . I actually got my first 'sex instruction' in a class at my church, when I was in jr. hi. My dad's instruction went along the lines of, "The plumbing works; you don't need to check it out, just take my word for it." Which was nice to know, I guess (certainly, Molly's and my plumbing has worked just fine).

The first time the whole 'period' thing worked its way into my consciousness was when I had my first girlfriend, and she would always keep me posted on her menstrual status. Not that it had any particular impact on my life, other than her moods; it wasn't remotely in the realms of, "not tonight, I'm having my period". She just liked to let me know. . .

Monday, March 10, 2008 9:56:00 AM  
Blogger Bogart in P Towne said...

I can't wait to have kids...I just wonder if I will torture them with the late night talk with a strawberry milkshake or wait until the school does it for me...hmmmm.

I like your route the best.

Monday, March 10, 2008 12:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahh, classic, girl!! oh, i just can't wait for my Joe to grow up! not! haha! i want him to stay little forever. :)

Hope you had a great day!!

Monday, March 10, 2008 1:13:00 PM  
Blogger The Savage said...

You give me directions every time I think of you....

By the way.... My Girlfriend loved this post muchly....

blueimp is my word veri..... hmm Blue imp... I wonder if he'll learn about them in his penis class

Monday, March 10, 2008 5:46:00 PM  
Blogger kimmyk said...

oh i dont know. i made jamie have the wet dream erection chat with adam. i just couldn't do it.

now abbie? i get all her friends and her asking me questions and i'm cool with it all. just no boys.

i can't do boy bit chatter without cringing and blushing my damn self.

Monday, March 10, 2008 6:12:00 PM  
Blogger Nanette said...

Ha! When I was in elementary, they called it the "Maturation Program". Oddly enough, it was held at night and the parents were forced to attend with us. :O

That hair thing at Old Spice...ha, let us just say that I gave it the ol' party horn blowing look--I was disappointed that it didn't offer me the option of painting on salamander eyebrows.

Monday, March 10, 2008 6:15:00 PM  
Blogger Bee said...

Can I borrow those... I think we've being doing it wrong all along.

Monday, March 10, 2008 8:51:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy Lou said...

No classes for me, just "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret" - is there more to know?

Monday, March 10, 2008 9:58:00 PM  
Blogger Biscuit said...

All I remember about my sex ed class was the lady rolling a condom onto a banana.

My daughter can name every part of the female reproductive system, not because I told her, but because she looked it up in the encyclopedia. When she was 5.

My son, age 9, has NO clue. It hasn't occurred to him to ask a single thing. Unless they come out with a Super Mario Goes Through Puberty gamecube game, he'll probably remain ignorant for the rest of his life.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 6:38:00 AM  
Blogger Wonderful World of Weiners said...

When CJ was in middle school, we got a note sent home asking parents to talk to their kids about blow jobs. Apparently, the school had discovered that the 7th and 8th graders were having "BJ" parties on the weekends.

They thought it best for parents to discuss this with their kids.

Let me tell you how much FUN that conversation was!

Hallie :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 7:11:00 AM  
Blogger Bex said...

hee hee hee...you said 'erection'!

My 8 year old came home not too long ago and someone in her 2nd grade had told her about sex. She told me what this kid said and I have to admit, it was pretty accurate. So she kept telling me the drill (oops! pun!): "Well, the boy, he puts his - YOU know - inside of the girls...YOU know." And I said, "well, yep, that's about it."

Then she says, "So the girl sits on his lap for a whole hour, then it's done." I started laughing. "AN HOUR?! Yeah, RIGHT!" I'm pretty sure I didn't handle it all that well...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 8:19:00 AM  
Blogger Bunny said...

I'm SO not looking forward to that talk with my son. With my daughter, now 3, I don't think it will be a big deal. I suspect we'll be discussing things a little at a time so by the time she hits puberty we will have covered it all fairly well. My son, currently 7, not so much. He is autistic and I'm just not sure how much he'll even care. Social boundaries are a difficult issue for autistic kids.

Shall I ship him to you with FTN's kids?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 8:30:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Backpacking Dad - Definitely some crying. Cripes, even now I can find myself teary-eyed.

Phyllis - Your daughter sounds quite astute! My son, over dinner the second night of clas, turns to me and asks, "You know those veiny things behind those hang down things? What is that?" I never know what to expect around the dinner table!

Melody - I was hoping my husband would handle the bulk of these types of conversations, but unfortunately, he was out of town. Each phone call home he made, I told him to brace himself because I had to hand this over to him!

Chuck - I'm totally going to have to buy a book and have the boys read it. Then go to their dad. I so was not schooled in the ways of puberty!

Twobusy - Humbled and saying "No, you're too kind," I give a little bow of thanks.

FTN - You think *we're* creepy! I still sometimes get creeped out by the male's sense of direction. Heaven help me if there's a bend in the road and I'm confused about which way to go.

Stacie - I hope they find me someone they can come to and talk. Right now, the bulk of their convesations about me revolve around wreslting, basketball, and, alas, farting!

Cat - Sometimes it's best to just not really know what is going on in a man's pants!

Des - I never even got a hint of the talk on my wedding day. Of course, by then, well, yeah, I figured things out the old fashioned way with the premarital fooling around. How interesting your former girlfriend felt the need to share such charting information with you. I don't even share that with the likes of that guy I married!

He just knows when I cry for no reason and gripe more often than usual!

Bogart - Oh, I kind of like the strawberry milkshake route. This could be because I've quite a fondness for strawberry malts!

Katie - Ha! Before you know it, he'll be coming to you and asking about things that will come completley out of the blue!

Savage - I hope you directed your girlfriend accordingly! I also hope they have a cure for blueimps by the time my son is an adult!

kimmy - I knew this day was coming, I just never imagined it was going to get here so quickly. Or at a time when my husband would be conveniently out of town! He damn well better be here during the 'wet dream' phase. Gah. I kinda 'hah hah'd' my way out of that part of it last week, but I can only keep him at bay so long!

Nan - Salamander eyebrows look especially fetching when one sucks in their cheeks and poses in hopes of looking bad ass. No need for a do rag with salamander eyebrows, really. Those things would catch the sweat.

Bee - I'll mail them (or male them...rawr!) to you, post haste!

Mandy - That's how I learned growing up! Thank you, Judy Blume! When I needed to know more, I just took a refresher course known as "Forever"!

Biscuit - Wow! We never even got the condom/banana trick! In fact, what little I recall from my classes in fifth grade, they didn't even use the word condom, let alone show us one!

I think you're on to something with this video game/sex ed tool! My kids would rack up the points on a game like that. I could go all over with this, but I should shut my mouth now...

WW of W - Oh. Oh. No. I...speechless! I can't even imagine that conversation, let alone having to have it yet! We were still giggling and playing boring games of truth or dare when I was in seventh grade and going to parties!

Thanks for visiting, too, btw!

Bex - It's a word that just kinda rolls out, especially since I don't use it that often! Ha!

Alas, my husband is of the school of thought that an hour is just foreplay. I wish kids would teach other kids it's only like 30 minutes, tops.

Bunny - I'd been doing some reading about the challenges teaching puberty lessons to children with autism creates. I wish you well with that if/when it comes up! All the kids can be shipped here, but remember, I'm guilty of saying "it's where your pee comes from!" and making faces!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:34:00 AM  
Blogger Choppzs said...

I am laughing my ass off over here!!!!!

I remember spelling out boobs on calculators too! lol Then laughing and giggling when the guys would roll their eyes!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I don't remember spilling word one to my mom about sex ed (a.k.a. penis and period class) back in my day, though I'm sure she had to sign a permission slip.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 8:17:00 PM  
Blogger 1blueshi1 said...

hehe, my mom bought me a book with a beeyouteefull pink rose on the cover filled with illustrious anecdotes like, the fruit guy who let everyone try his grapes had to throw a lot of them away at the end of the day, but the seller who kept his grapes behind glass, carefully swaddled with tissue paper, and regularly spritzed with Evian, HIS grapes were always plump and prized and juicy.
I do not exaggerate when I state that it took me YEARS to figure out what the f#ck they were talking about.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 7:03:00 AM  
Blogger Laura B. said...

Oh my....this story just confirms my desire for children. It's good that you're not focused on having to tell them all the ins and outs (ha!) of how they were made.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 7:11:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Choppzs - Ha! I forgot that last year, my son came home from school all excited to show me what he could do on a calculator! I was all "Oh, honey, I know. Mommy can spell words on it, too..." and he looked at me clueless. He just wanted to show me a way to work out a math problem they had gotten. However, um, now he is well skilled in spelling BOOBS on it.

Melissa - I can still so vividly recall the class when I was in school. We were piled into the lunch room, and the smell of lingering sloppy Joes and boy sweat. Blech. It's a wonder I learned what little they told us!

1blueshi1 - Ah, but our womanhood is a delicate flower from which we shouldn't allow random gardners to pluck! It took me a couple read throughs of your comment just to be sure I was catching the drift! Hilarious!

Laura - They're nonstop fun, I tell you. Of course, the ins and outs talk is probably coming very soon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 9:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL You ROCK!!! You need to come on down here and help raise my kids! Lord knows between my husband and myself...therapy costs are going to be more than college, LOL

My husband told my step daughter when she started her period and tried to hide it from us, because she was embarrassed, that there nothing to be embarrassed about, the only thing she needed to worry about now is NOT TO SWIM IN THE OCEAN, blood attracts sharks!!!!!!!!! LOL

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 7:03:00 PM  
Blogger FindingHeart said...

Still, probably one of my favorite (pardon the pun) units we covered in 5th grade. As the teacher, I didn't look forward to it always, but the dialog that I'd get by far out weighed the *giggle* factor. By the end of class, I had girls asking questions using the words 'erection' and 'emission' and boys using the words 'menstrual cycle' and 'period' ALL WITHOUT GIGGLING! Oh the pride I had in breaching that subject with such professionalism and effectiveness.

Then I learned about a friend's method. She took the kids outside onto the blacktop and had them shout the words 'vagina' and 'penis' 20 times as loud as they could. She felt it would make it less silly in the classroom. I'm sure the neighbors enjoyed it tremendously. Ha!!

(Oh, sorry for boosting your hit count for legit use of vagina and penis (two times now) in your comments. :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008 8:50:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Lane Boyz Mom - You husband's lesson...omg, hilarious! I couldn't help but laugh, and know that had my parents so much as said the same to me, I'd have been in fear for life!

Thanks for your visit and comment!

FH - You know, I may just go outside on my deck and scream "penis" and "vagina" from time to time, just for fun! What a great idea! Plus, it has the added benefit of perhaps getting my weird neighbors to move!

Thanks for boosting my blog counts, too! Also, for stopping in!

Friday, March 14, 2008 8:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Saturday, March 22, 2008 7:48:00 PM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

Wow. that was all 4 different kinds of crazy.

If you ever want that post back I have an e-mailed version that I can send you.

Sunday, March 23, 2008 8:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Single said...

I'm sorry, but between this and the egg post, I'm about to die from laughing!

Sunday, May 04, 2008 9:31:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Single - No need to apologize! Perhaps I should say I'm sorry that you're about to die! Thanks for spending some time and reading, and for the comment!

Sunday, May 04, 2008 5:23:00 PM  

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