When Puberty Strikes Like Lightning
But sometimes you just don't know when it is going to hit.
Sure, there were signs: he pointed out that J Woww's boobs were big, his voice has gotten deeper and his penis is a popular topic to discuss.
But then there were questions I wasn't prepared to answer.
Like the day he blurted out, "I don't believe in the story of Adam and Eve."
"What do you mean?" I asked. "Like that all people came from those two?"
"Yeah," he said. "I believe in evolution. Because the other way is gross."
"You mean like you shouldn't kiss your sister, that kind of thing?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said.
And it was left at that. It was left with me scratching my head and him probably wondering just how people become people. The head scratching because Adam and Eve is a story of religious bent and I'm not sure where he heard it. I mean public school can't teach religion, right? Okay, I live in the South so who am I kidding? Can they teach evolution? Suddenly I felt lost. I felt like I didn't know what my child was learning or where he was learning it from and I knew it was time to step in.
His sudden interest in boobs and growing fascination with his cock & balls signified it was time to have the father-and-son talk about the birds and the bees.
But the goddamn school beat me to it.
Sitting in the car he turned to me and said that they had a "health and development" class today. A class where they separated the girls from the boys. He said they learned all kinds of big words like "scrotum," "testicles," and "vas deferens."
"Lots of words, Dad," he said. "Oh, and some others like 'semen' and 'sperm'," he concluded.
Shit. The time has come. Er, cum. Dammit.
And then he turned to me and said, "Have you ever had a wet dream?"
And a bolt of lightning struck me; a bolt delivered by a ten-year-old boy with one very important question. I was speechless. I tried to catch my breath and come back with something, anything, but before I could form words with my mouth my seven-year-old chimed in. "Is that like peeing in your bed?"
His older brother shot me a glance and a smirk.
"He knows?" I thought.
"Let's talk about this later," I said. Fucking cop-out. Dammit again!
I texted his mom.
"He had sex-ed at school. Asking about wet dreams. Puberty is upon us," I messaged.
"Don't tell Mom about this, Dad," he said.
"Don't blow my cover."
A boy and his balls. Shit I can understand. Trust me.
So I phoned her to explain the situation and told her that the next day would be about female anatomy. I'm not sure how far they will go with this. Will he come home tomorrow talking about clitoris and vulva? They sent home a note from school, she said, indicating that they would be talking about this to the kids. But they never said when they would be talking to them about it. Don't bring it up to him, I said. Let him bring the topic up to you when he feels comfortable enough.
"Did you tell him I know all about sex too?" she asked.
"It's not about knowledge," I explained. "It's about talking about your penis with your mom."
I went on to explain that I wouldn't have a problem talking to him about the birds and the bees. I'm a writer raised on Catholicism, after all. I can talk in metaphors and blow smoke up his ass.
"You are good at that," she said.
"I mean the seed-that-bears-fruit kind of thing," I said.
"Oh," she said. "Just don't use the word 'cock'. Okay?"
"I'll wait until he's at least 14 before I start talking about cock," I said.
But as soon as I started in on it he had lost interest. My bees and trees and smoke-up-the-ass fell on deaf ears.
"Maybe some other time," I said. "When I can have your full attention..."
Jesus H. Christ, I've turned into Ward Cleaver. Does a boy going into adolescence ever give anything his full attention?
So the storm subsided as quickly as it came upon me.
A few days later, he came out of the shower and exclaimed, "I have a black hair on my balls!"
"Whatever," I said.
"Puberty is upon me!" he hollered with a fist pump.
"We need to have that talk," I said.
"Whatever," he said.