The Puberty Trip

TamponsAnother post rescued from the archives of Chicago Moms Blog. This was posted in May 2007.

A bus waited in front of the school and the big kids were lining up to get on. When I asked a mom where they were going she gave me Don't Ask look. Once her child was out of hearing distance she opened up, "They're going to the Robert Crown Center to learn about puberty."

I laughed. Not because the idea sounded so ridiculous, but because I was on that same field trip to the Crown Center nearly 30 years ago.

Ugh. Talk of the puberty trip makes me all giggly and nervous, though I'm not sure if it's due to reliving my awkward past or thinking ahead to the future anxieties of my boys.

I don't recall much about my actual field trip, but I do remember a little booklet from those kind folks at Tampax with all sorts of Q and A. Can "unmarried" girls wear tampons? (Yes!) I was a pretty innocent 10 year-old, but even then I sensed something was odd about that question. Regardless the FAQ left me with the impression that maybe inserting a tampon was a lot like sexual intercourse. (Phew, turns out it's not!)

My Dear Husband attended a different school, but he also went to Crown for the puberty trip. A post-trip talk with the gym teacher stands out most in his mind. During their "guy talk" the boys were asked to submit anonymous written questions to the gym teacher. Coach pulled out a slip and read it aloud: How close do a man and woman need to be to have sexual intersection?

"Who wrote this?" He demanded. So much for anonymity. A socially-unaware boy who clearly hadn't been wearing his listening ears at the Crown Center raised his hand to the jeers of his classmates (yes, that would be DH). "Did you mean sexual intercourse?" That was one cruel teacher.

Fortunately, DH and I figured out a few things by the time we met as young adults. And now we've got two kids to prove it. My boys have outgrown their snuggable toddler bodies are just as few years away from their own puberty trips. As for me, gravity and time are having their way with me. I wonder if there's a local Crone Center I can visit to get better grasp of this whole menopause thing.

(Tampon dolls photo courtesy of mypapercrane plushies.)

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