Friday, September 11, 2009

family life

We are four days into the new school year, and an ominous future looms large before us. My boy brought it up over dinner after his first day of fifth grade: “You know, I’m going to have family life this year” (cue menacing, foreboding soundtrack).

We’ve known this in theory; it was a scandalous premonition last year when we watched the then-fifth graders emerge like moles from their burrows, blinking and stunned, after their sessions. I remember thinking that our boy would be fine when his time came; he’d have endured the talk at home well before the topic was broached at school.

Imagine learning about family life (dun dun duuuuuuun) from your teacher? Even your hippie, self actualized, first-name-basis charter school teacher? My boy would die. The only thing I can imagine that would be worse than that is the possibility that I’m going to have to tell him myself.

I always dreamed that this would be a strictly man-to-man talk. That because he shares the same “front privates” as our son, my husband would naturally assume the responsibility of explaining the true purpose of the equipment. But the thing about that is............... have you met my husband? I think it's going to have to be me.

My boy would simply not consider his man-bits in the same thought bubble as a girl. He communicates with the opposite sex by clinging to the belief that they do not exist. The girls in his class really don’t even count as people. But I must say that he’s been asking me lately about my first boyfriend, and my first kiss, and if I liked boys in fifth grade. And you know what? I did! Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I kissed Skip Hagerty in fifth grade! Holy shit. My boy still talks about plans for his next birthday to take place at an amusement park or a bowling alley. By February, is he going to change his tune and request the disco ball and a bunch of empty bottles?

I think that many of you will say that you’ve already had the talk with your 10 ½ year olds. Some kids are just more street smart than others. My boy is not savvy to the ways of the world, he is keeping too busy inside of his own head to notice much of what's going on around him. And all I can think of when I imagine having this talk with him, this talk when I try to explain that which does not matter now, but will become critically important to him in the very near future, is that once he figures out that mommy has actually done these things… with Daddy… he’ll never look me in the eye again.

to be continued...God help me


peaceableimperatrix said...

Hah! Well, first off, DO NOT talk about sex by saying, "Well, what me and your dad like to do ..."


I think you've made the case for having a teacher talk about it -- your son can keep the mom and dad images out of his head that way! In our school district, 4th & 5th graders have sex ed separately (boys and girls), and in middle school it is co-ed (and that's when the teacher brings out the banana and the condom [I am NOT kidding!]) The reasoning is that kids need to learn it isn't a shameful, bad thing to talk about with the opposite sex -- the better to prepare them to be able to ask their potential partner -- "do you have protection?"

He'll survive, as will you. (Of course, my girls were attuned to these sorts of things very young -- I didn't want them to get any misinformation on the playground...)

avoiding the talk in PA said...

I'm no help.
I was spinning the bottle and kissing the Spurrier boys (and maybe even Hap)at Beth's house in 5th grade and couldn't bring myself to add anything to my son's "family life" discussion other than, "if you have any questions after the unit, don't hesitate to ask" and then prayed he wouldn't ask! (which he didn't)
That same kid just started high school and I'm just looking for a sign that girls are anything more than an annoyance, an annoyance that now has boobs, to dance around the subject again...
Let me know how it goes at your house :)

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh. My. God. Jacquie, this is beyond the pale. How will you all survive this?

Make sure you tell him that one day the man-bits-fun may result -- purposefully -- in a little man of his own... to whom he'll have to give the family life talk. That should slow him down.... ;)

Good luck, schnookie. Corragio.


Rita.the.bookworm said...

Ay yi yi. It's fifth grade time again. I was talking to Ann Marie earlier and I remembered, fifth graders are crazy. Seriously, beware, it's a really weird year with all the elements surrounding that Family LIfe scene and the internal war of the hormones. It's the beginning of that puberty rollercoaster for real.

How to tell your boy? I don't know. I screwed that one up myself. With the sex ed class looming around the corner, I waited and waited and waited and urged Mike to have The Talk with him and he never did. So, I did. Very matter-of-factly, dryly, correctly, and I said, "But, really, you already knew that, didn't you?"

He replied, "Oh my God no, Mom, I didn't have a clue!" and then burst into tears over the horror of it all. I still don't regret it. Better he learn the truth from a family member than hear inaccuracies from his peers. And, I think better he know it and burst into tears over it at home than hear it for the first time from a teacher and have to cover up his disgust and fear in front of his friends. It's tough, these gentle boys.

Katie knows it all and isn't bothered by it at all and probably scaring all her friends with the facts.

Mar Waters said...

Personally I feel Obama could have tackled some of this in his speech to the wee folk; at least throw a closer in like "play it safe out there kids".

Any way you slice it, it's not about unplanned pregnancies any more, it's about about an awkward parent-child conversation.

And, yeah, I remember Bill from college, so I'd do the talking Jaquie. Next time I see you in person we should talk about his song that went "unprintable lyrics...& that's the only girl that'll marry me"! ;-)

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I'm pretty sure he sang that one at our wedding, Mar!

Thanks for the votes of confidence, everyone... I'll keep you posted!


Liz (Flatley) Richard said...

Oh my....had to do this with Gabi last year.....the school gave us a book we had to read...together...yikes...words I had never actually spoken out loud had to be discussed with my 11 year old...

....I say they learn on the was good enough for me....hehehehehehe!!!!!!

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Lucky you, my friend. I can almost picture your boy's face during your very well thought out and eloquent speech....

I'm not down with the "family life" moniker though, perhaps it should be "family sex", no, that's not quite, let's see, how about "sex life," no, not really right either...

what else do they learn in addition to reproduction to earn the name family life? (Obviously I've not got any kiddos in 5th grade yet!)