Conversations with My Nine Year Old About Puberty

Aiya.

That’s the first word that popped into my head when I typed the title to this blog post. Now let me show you how I felt when I had the actual conversation with E about this oh-so-crazy topic.

Image courtesy of think4photop/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of think4photop/freedigitalphotos.net

Take away the rhinoceros and imagine me swimming in the murky waters of De Nile (denial, get it?) River.  Better yet, picture me with my head under the goo with mud clogging up my eyes and ears so I don’t have to see or hear anything related to (gulp!) puberty.

Sigh. It’s a little late for that though. 😛

I was helping E with something the other night when he remarked out of the blue, “K has a mustache. It’s kind of like one hair sticking up.”

Now, mind you, this is a 3rd grader he’s referring to, so when he says his baby-faced friend has a mustache, it’s more like a 5 second shadow. Still, it’s dark enough that I spotted it one day from a distance as the kids were walking to car line.

E then proceeded to ask, “I wonder why he has it?”

Hm… good question. (The more important question was: Why do I always get stuck with the hard questions?!)

My mind raced, trying to think of all the different tactics I could use to educate E on the ins and outs of the “p” word. Finally, I decided to tackle it head on. “It’s part of puberty. Everybody’s different. K’s dad is not Asian (his mom is though) so he probably will grow a mustache earlier (no offense to all the Asian men out there!). We have hormones in our bodies that make it happen.” (Looking back, I realize my train of thought was all over the place and about to jump the track and derail.)

E asked, “What are hormones?”

“Uh, they’re the chemicals in your body that make you a guy or a girl …,” I replied slowly, trying to remember everything I forgot from biology class. At seeing E nod (and thinking that I might as well take advantage of the awkward opportunity), I opened my mouth to elaborate some more. I didn’t get a chance to though because he promptly started talking about his favorite game “Plants vs. Zombies”.

Eh?! :O

Wait, I was on a roll! I didn’t even get to talk about testosterone yet! 😉

Believe me, part of me was relieved to be let off the hook so quickly, but the other part was surprised at how short (and uninformative) our conversation was. Which likely means it wasn’t our last one.

Aiya.

The fact of the matter is kids do grow up. And growing up can be weird and awkward and scary. But we as parents are supposed to walk them through it somehow cause we know how weird and awkward and scary it was for us. Wouldn’t it be great if we could make it a little less so for them?

So, till our next crazy convo, I’m going to do some homework on this topic (and get hubby involved too cause I know he wouldn’t want to miss out on the fun!). If you have any suggestions on how to tackle talking about puberty with kids, send them my way! Even better, if you can make up a video game with plants and zombies and puberty facts, I’ll be your first customer. 😉

I thought the perfect song for this post would be Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road”, sung here by the Huang family on the TV show “Fresh Off the Boat”. It addresses another part of puberty I am NOT looking forward to – teenage heartbreak. :p

How did you learn about puberty? How would you have liked to learn about it?