|Jim & Asher feeding birds in Florida.|
Today I was reading another blog and it brought to mind a memory that I thought would be a great blog. Keeping in mind my kids read this and like to hear more on my childhood and our family times, and that my relatives may also see this, and friends may vary in how they take anything I write, this topic may amuse (and educate ?) all the above.
It starts in my early years of Junior High, no wait, I remember the film in elementary school, uh, oh, wait, it started actually earlier than that with a boy...no can't go there.
Ok, let's fast forward to my own kids and then back up...maybe...
One thing I vowed after getting married and even before having children, was to make sure that if I ever DID have children, I would educate them in the birds and bees and not allow them to learn by trial and error.
So, I was grateful when I learned about Dr. James Dobson's book, "Preparing for Adolescence". It was suggested that the parents read the book and then decide when the child was old enough to start a conversation or read the book together. (Nowadays there is a whole curriculum based on the book.) So I read it. I was so happy to see how it was well written and answered many questions I had had in my pre-teen years that were never answered. It also talked to the kids as young people, mature enough to handle the subject and discuss a facts of life with appropriate language and respect.
After reading the book, I decided that my eldest son was not quite ready and put it away for a year or so. Then when I felt he had matured enough, we read it together. Well, at least until the chapter about the actual process of pre-fertilization (?lol). Then I handed the book to him, told him to read the chapter and when he finished, if he had any questions, we could go over them. So he sat on his bed and read. Within about 15 minutes, he came out of his room, marched over to his dad, handed him the book and said, "Do you see what she is making me read!"
Jim read over the pages Bryan had pointed to and looked up at me and with a shocked expression on his face said, "Is he old enough for this?!?" Thank you Dr. Dobson for helping both parents start the discussion! Needless to say, Bryan learned a valuable lesson in love, life and secs (sic)...that obviously made his marriage fruitful. ;)
Several years later, while home-schooling my two youngest sons, I had to cover reproductive education (I am refraining from using the three letter word as I don't want e-stalkers Googling it and harassing me.) I was fine with that. I tried to cover the book and the lessons with both of them at the same time. Big mistake. First I gave each of them the book to read and said we would discuss it once they were finished. So we sat in the livingroom and I started the discussion with, "So, do you have any questions?" To which I got no reply. So I decided to take a different tact and started quizzing them. With the very first question, the giggles started. You would think they were a couple of girls. They kept looking at each other and breaking out in laughter. Soon we were all laughing. I think it was Dan who finally said, "Mom we already know this stuff." More giggles ensued. "Fine," I said, "Then I will continue to quiz you until I am sure I know that you do know. We did and they did!
Fast forward to time when after watching a shocking Oprah episode on what kids were "doing" these days and what the little plastic bracelets meant that they wore and what the lingo was. I asked my teen-aged son, Aaron, to confirm if what they were saying was true. He had been on his way from the kitchen to his room when he stopped and came back and said, "Mom, if think that is shocking. You don't want to know what girls are doing these days." My mouth dropped. OMG!
Now let's go way back to when I was in high school....HIGH School, mind you! I was so excited because we were being forced to take health classes. HEALTH = secs (sic). This was it. I was finally going to learn the truth of how it all works. Oh, I had read the Reader Digest book on it and knew the sperm had to fertilize the egg. The woman had the eggs, the man had the sperm. I got all that. It was how they got together that was missing from every book, every conversation, every Play-boy mag, every encyclopedia that I had ever searched. My parents (nix, that) my mom never cared to share THAT PART of the lesson on what F_ _ _ meant, when I asked her. (More on that later.) So now the Health Teacher in good old OCS (Onteora Central Schools) was going to answer my darkest question.
Okay, so first we had to get through the drug education part. I was happy to do that the first quarter only because I knew the next quarter was the one subject I had been waiting for. For my final, I did a collage of all drugs including coffee and got an A. Then the second quarter started and after a few weeks I realized, oh no, he's not going to tell us! Once again the egg, the sperm, the genitalia, transmitted diseases, birth control, blah, blah, blah. What a let down. So I took matters into my own hand....not literally, get your mind out of the gutter. And it comes time for the final. I decided to have some fun and maybe educate the teacher a tad. I did a report on prostitution using the book: "Everything you wanted to know about sex but were afraid to ask" the book that finally told me everything! I got an A. Not only that, I received an award at the end of the year for having the highest grade in Health Class (embarrassing!).
Bear with me as I jump back in time once again to my early years. I think I was in fifth or sixth grade when a boy asked me if I wanted to f_ _ _. Wanting him to like me, I said, "Sure!" I guess my enthusiasm overwhelmed him because his next question was, "Do you even know what it means?" Sheepishly I admitted I didn't and he suggested I find out first. So that's when I went to Mom. Shocked her out of her gourd. (I have a habit of doing that with some people even today.) After her explanation, I was still not sure. Thus the start of a dialog between me and a girlfriend. These conversations went back and forth, as we shared what we learned from our parents and friends and tried to figure out this whole secs thing. Needless to say, we thought we were pregnant many times because of "The special way a boy touches a girl," that our moms failed to elaborate on.
Parents, please, talk to your children on their level when you think they are mature enough (and that's probably younger than you think) and be factual, be thorough, be open, and if you can't -- get the book, "Preparing for Adolescence".