All posts tagged puberty

Parenting Is Not For The Weak

Published January 24, 2018 by sarcasmica

We have been adjusting around here. Adjusting to my mom getting ready to move into her own apartment after living with us for over five years. My daughter only knows life with Gramma around. I’ve been talking to the kids prepping for the actual moving day so it’s not a big “Surprise! Today’s the day!”

I figured this was the culprit for my son’s behavior of late. After two weeks of back to school with fairly decent mornings and getting off to school fine, suddenly he is an emotional, defiant, argumentative, sputtering mess. And not in the pre-pubescent way. No, it’s a bratty, fit-filled, moody way.

Did I mention the husband is away on business? Yes, we specialize in this kind of timing in this house.

Anyway, speaking to one of my son’s teachers today I find out there is a report due next week that involves reading an entire book. Something I have not seen said child actually doing. Later I ask, “So what’s going on with your report?” and am met with giant sighs and falling to the floor. I am assured that reading is being handled and report writing will be 100% taken care of.

He is on page 30 of a 152 page book and it’s due next Wednesday.

We pinpoint this as the source of some of his anxiety. No problem. It’s handled. The evening routine is all drama and tears and emotions still, however. Head-scratcher.

After reading to my daughter peppered with my own tears thanking my seven year old for being so kind-hearted and understanding when all of mom and dad’s attention feels like it’s focused on the big dramatic kid, I tuck her in and get her to bed.

Next up, big kid bed time. My son has a mini meltdown over a snack, lies about brushing his teeth, and finally heaves himself onto his bed giving up any hope that the day will include ice cream and video games. We begin what is supposed to be a quick convo about the day and it turns into something I did not see coming.

“Mom, I think I know part of why I feel so depressed.”
I hold back my cringing at the buzzword and try to focus my energy on an open mind and face. (my face is something I have very little control over)

“(best friend) has been really sad lately and says he’s depressed.”
“Hmm … i wonder why. Do you know what’s going on?”
“Well, I think it’s because of his dad… he died.” (the best friend’s bio parents are divorced and mom is remarried with 2 more kids)
“He died?! When?” (this is news to me)
“His parents got divorced and his dad was really sad so he … you know… killed himself.”

Holy fucking shitballs.

Right. So now go ahead and roll with that, Supermom.

“Wow. That is heavy. That is a lot for (best friend) to deal with, certainly. I wonder if he feels like talking to a counselor would be helpful.”
“He goes to therapy every week.”
“Wow. Ummm, i’m really glad that he has a friend like you to listen and support him. …. that is a lot for you to deal with as well. As important as it is to be there for him and listen and help him work through how he’s feeling, I want you to find a way to leave that at school with him. When you walk away from that kind of interaction, it’s really important to try and center yourself around (yourself) again. Empathy is important, but those are not your problems to work out. That is not your reality.”

“Ok mom.” and he seems to get what I’m saying after some more brief coaching.

We work out the reading math problem of barely read pages minus total pages divided by procrastinators time frame left before adding actual report writing time and then…

*giggles* “Mom?”
“Mm hmm?”
“So what is the point of the cover for a penis? You know, that thing…?”
“A condom?”
“Yea, that.”
[to avoid situations like this one!!]
“If you don’t want to make a baby, you use a condom.”
“So then does that mean that – sputtering giggles- sex is … fun?”

And that, my friends, is how the evening went in my house. From depression and suicide to homework and concluded with a painfully masked conversation about sex and why it’s not just for makin’ babies. Now I have to figure out if the whole best friend depression father’s suicide issue is actually real. How do I handle that?! The best friend, to my knowledge, has limited friends at this school where he is a new student. I don’t know the parents all that well. What does THAT conversation look like? We really only text. Do I text the mom, “Hey, heard your ex offed himself and the boys have been talking… anything I need to know?”

And I thought the pre-sleepover conversation asking if there were guns in the house would be the hardest question to ask.

Conclusion: Use a rubber if you are unwilling to mask your extreme discomfort speaking to an eleven year old boy about anatomy and copulation.



Published June 14, 2017 by sarcasmica

A couple weeks ago my kid’s school sent home a note saying that “The Health Talk” was coming up. My son happened to be pretty sick with an on and off fever that week, coincidentally. His friend told him, “You’re lucky you missed it.”. My friend and I were trying desperately to figure out from the broken incomplete sentences from the boys what exactly was taught since no other information came home about it.

Turns out the big reveal was this week. We had another notice – this time on gold paper – come home that they would begin covering “Puberty” and “here are some follow up conversations you can have at home.”

F*ckety freak frack. Seriously? He was just potty trained like a year ago.

(not really, but how is my child looking down the barrel of puberty already?!)

I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but I don’t really know what I’m doing quite yet. I figure the parental instincts will kick in eventually. For what it’s worth, I am on point with the second kid. The first continues to be mostly training wheels.

So I took the suggestions from the work sheet pretty loosely. The school district can barely manage my kid’s IEP. I doubt they have a better handle on hormone functions and sperm than I do. The only thing I took from the paper was to make sure if things feel awkward (“IF” ?!?! IF ?) you let your child know it’s awkward for the parent as well …. I agreed to a certain extent.

Anyway, after my daughter was sent off to brush teeth and get ready for bed, I figured i’d delve into it. I was more concerned with friend info and what the playground conversations were that resulted from the curriculum, to be honest.

I guess I should say here that my husband and I have always had a pretty open door policy on information with our kids. They are quite aware of what body parts are, what their functions are and if there are questions, just ask us and not friends. This has resulted in some pretty hilarious random questions from my 6 year old daughter the last few weeks. The first – on the way to school – was “did they have to cut open your pee pee to have us, mom?” which led to an even more colorful conversation. The very next day she had a follow up question; “What happens to the milk in your boobs, mom?”.

Needless to say, the discomfort level was laid out early and paved the way for the more possibly awkward conversation with the 11 year old of hormones, puberty, and erections.

Now I will freely admit that biology talk has always been quite uncomfortable for me. I get through it, I try to hide my discomfort, and I realize it’s my own hang up. But you know what? It doesn’t matter to your kid. If they want information you have, they will water board you, pull your finger nails out, or perform Chinese water torture to get that information. (or is that just my kids?) I anticipated this conversation to be excruciating, but I managed to go into it nonchalantly and just see how it would unravel. I had no idea how much info I was going to give, and I had no plan. (big surprise there, right?)

While my son was occupied, I asked if the talk had begun at school. He told me yes, and we went on from there. I was surprised at how comfortable it was to communicate with him about this. It seems we had laid the groundwork already leading up to it by being honest and open about biology.

Don’t get me wrong, it was not a cake walk, but it was less painful than a Minecraft monologue.

One thing that surprised me was how interesting he thought it all was. He told me in class he didn’t find it embarrassing or weird, but he had to act uncomfortable “like all the other kids so they wouldn’t think i’m weird because I liked learning about it.”

My son has always loved science and how things work and operate. It shouldn’t surprise me that biology would be any different for him, but I guess it did.

I think it’s unfortunate he didn’t feel like he could safely behave in a way that might even model positive behavior for his classmates. Instead, he had to camouflage his curiosity and interest to avoid social mayhem. (and how many other boys felt they had to do this? Were they all secretly comfortable with it and just interested in the science of it all?)

Our conversation lasted about 45 minutes, and I feel like we covered most of the important stuff. It’s always sort of a need-to-know basis, and every kid has a different level of maturity so no script is going to be 100% effective. Apparently if you go in with an open mind, not a lot of expectation, and honesty, it doesn’t have to be a painful experience.

The entertainment factor will help mask some of the awkwardness, also. The one exchange I feel I need to write down for fear of forgetting it later was this:

I was explaining how he’s already begun to notice some changes, especially in the mornings. He asked if that meant then that sex could only occur in the morning. I explained more, and also that it was just his body wiring itself, practicing functions, programming everything for when it would be necessary MUCH MUCH later in life.

“Oooh, I think I get it, mom. It’s like a video game. You have to start out practicing your abilities and begin slow. They don’t just throw you in a level and expect you to fight the Big Boss right away.”

Yes. I think I will let him believe that sex is like fighting a Boss at the end of a level. A big, mean, ugly vicious Boss. He wont be dating until he’s 30.

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