I remember my eldest son telling me once, following a detailed discussion of which one of the bras drying in the laundry room I wanted him to carry upstairs to me, “That was one conversation I never thought I’d have with you.” Well, his little brother has him beat.
My 11-year-old son, Parker, is the first of my children to attend middle school, so his experience with “sex-u-al reproduction” as a study unit in science class represents new educational terrain for all of us. Prior to the start of this unit, I’d had no idea that my ongoing conversations with his now teen-aged siblings, had gone, quite literally, right over his head. And considering the almost annual arrival of new infant members into our extended family, and the “polite conversations” on human reproduction that attend to them, I was shocked at his apparent lack of common knowledge about the so-called “birds and bees.”
The sexual reproduction unit started innocently enough with pollination…
Then there was the day I asked Parker about school and he replied, “Well…I learned why women use tampons…” He also learned an alternative meaning for “period” and, as a consequence of a wisecrack remark by his science teacher, that it’s a good idea to avoid women during this “time of the month.” (Thank you very much, Mr. Science Teacher.) I did my very best to behave as if I discussed human reproduction with pre-teens all the time and and expressed my openness to any and all questions he might have. He responded, “No, Mom. I’m good.”
The highlight of our conversation came at the end when Parks concluded, “You know, it’s all about the woman.” Oh yeah, he’s going to make a terrific mate one day.