Friday, May 29, 2009

Springtime fun in 4th Grade

At the beginning of the week I received an email from Henry's teacher that this week was going to be the week that the fourth graders had their two day talk on puberty. Actually it wasn't officially entitled "WARNING!!!", but the effect of the email was just the same. It allowed a smallish group of parents to make a few phone calls wanting to know exactly what was going to be covered (and for the record, surprisingly they did not cover such locally relevant topics as homosexual sex or indeed the creative usage of vibrators for girls or strawberry lubricant for our budding boys - go figure??). I don't know where these folks went to Elementary school, but I can assure you that the "puberty" talk in Greensburg PA pretty much just covered the basics. Obviously, my imagination is limited. It just never occurred to me that anything other than periods, erections and body odor/acne would be covered. (oh, and I'm exaggerating. No one really asked anything about lubricant or pocket rockets - just woulda been funny, yeh?)

The thing about fourth grade is that the amount of knowledge about puberty per child is not evenly distributed. I know that there are girls who already have gotten their periods and I also know that there are boys (like Henry) who's give-a-shit level about the facts of life is well - - nil. Zip, zero. This is a little weird since Henry has a more than healthy general curiosity quotient. For some reason sex-ed doesn't hold any interest. We are a tad concerned. Have thought about placing Playboy magazines strategically around the house just to pique his inquiring mind. But then I would probably get some calls from fellow parents about why we thought it would be good idea for our son to learn that this month's centerfold had a PHD in Neuroscience and liked butterscotch pudding.

The two days have since come and gone. I asked Henry how it went yesterday. His monosyllabic answer was, as expected, "fine". I asked him if he had any questions. He raised his head up (I had the unbounded gall to ask him this question when he was trying to read a new Warriors Book) and just sighed. So much for the Mom follow-up. Georgie reports that he did have a couple of questions for him earlier in the day. I guess when you have a big brother to carry on the tradition of misinformation - - why would you need a Mom?

We did get a "follow-up" email from the teacher today assuring us that the discussions were a success. It was reported that the children had an opportunity to write down anonymous questions near the end of the second day. After reading some of them, I am wondering exactly what it was that was covered:

  • Does your voice HAVE to change? (I suspect that this is from the member of the class who is the in SF Boys Chorus. The end of an illustrious career is at hand)
  • Will my shoulders come next to my head? (huh?)
  • What causes an erection? (obviously, they missed the "teaching moment" here of explaining that ANYTHING can cause an erection -- and sometimes this lasts long after puberty - - say like for life...)
  • What things do you need if you're a girl and you're having your period? (Again, beyond the obvious absorbent products -- perhaps it's time to start teaching them that there is nothing wrong with pharmaceuticals - and in the absence of that, that eating the entire contents of the fridge is not necessarily a Bad Thing)

Intriguingly nearly 20% of the total questions asked were about food:

  • Will your taste buds change? Why do they change?
  • Do you eat different things?
  • Do you like to eat different things when you are older?

Actually, not so intriguing as you might imagine. It has been noticed throughout the year that this particular fourth grade class LOVES to eat. And, it seems that their love of eating surpasses their curiosity about sex. I say - - let's keep a close eye on these kids. Is this a sign of their obese asexual future? I doubt it, but it'd be fun to get some parents whipped up about this.

And finally, the best question of the bunch. I don't know who wrote it, but I can imagine the look, the presence and the rolling of the eyes - -

  • Are we going to keep studying this in the 5th grade and middle school????

Answer: We are going to keep studying this for the rest of our lives. Hell, when you're almost 50 you'll still be writing a blog about it.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Heh, heh... the wind blowing, that's what causes it... heh, heh. And if it lasts more than four hours...