Today at breakfast my 11-year-old son informed me he had good news and bad news. Not only was he finally allowed to bring his recorder home from music class but he was going to take his first puberty class at school.
I’m still trying to figure out which was the good news.
Later that afternoon after he slid into the backseat of the minivan and played a few notes of “Hot Cross Buns”, I immediately began plotting how and when his recorder would meet a tragic fate. As soon as we came to the first stop sign it was clear I wouldn’t have to wait very long for the “when” part.
“Hey Mom!” he yelled, in between rapid huffing and puffing and what sounded like a mockingbird having an asthma attack. “Guess how puberty went today!”
There was that word again. Instantly, my mind seized up. **DANGER! DANGER! RED ALERT!** Abandon all innocence! Kiss it goodbye! It’s all over now!
I tried a distraction tactic. “Hey, how ’bout you play some more music? You take requests? Know ‘Smoke on the Water’?”
“I SAID guess how puberty went, Mom!”
“Guess how you and Bert went?”
“Phew, a birdie? Yes.”
“What? I can’t hear you.”
“PUBERTY! PUBERTY! PU – BER – TY!”
Worst chant ever in the history of the world.
“Oh yeah? So how did that…uh…go?” I asked and held my breath.
“Terrifying,” he sighed from the backseat. “Absolutely terrifying.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
“Okay, ” I said. “That’s okay. It’s good we’re talking about this. This is what I’m here for. We need to communicate because it’s healthy. Yeah. Very healthy. Sooooo very healthy….” Now it was my turn to sigh.
“So today we found out about uteruses! All girls have one,” he said.
“And the uterus gets really big when the baby grows.”
“Yes, it does. Big uterus. Yep, indeedy. Big big uterus.”
“So…” I peered into the rearview mirror. “Any other questions that you have for me? Because I would be…” I slowly dragged my hand down my face and took a deep breath. “Because I would be happy to answer any y’know…” I cringed as a few more gray hairs sprouted on my head “…any questions you may have. About where babies come from. They told you right?”
“The teacher told you how the baby gets inside the uterus?”
“I don’t think so. I must have blacked that part out. Maybe she’ll tell us tomorrow.”
“Hmm…well, tell you what. You can tell your father all about what you find out in puberty class tomorrow and he’ll answer any questions you might have, and I’ll listen to you play “Hot Cross Buns” as much as you like the rest of the day. Deal?”
“Okay,” he said and the car was once again filled with the Devil’s elevator music.
Sometimes being a mom requires making the tough choices.
Actually, this was an easy one.
Ask me again tomorrow after my first puberty class is over.