Puberty: Review

GuideWell, The Boy and I just read through The Boys’ Guide to Growing Up by Terri Couwenhoven and I think it was a success.  I didn’t prep him too much, just told him I had a book I wanted to read with him.  We sat down on the couch and I showed him the cover, and we started reading.  At first, he was a little uncomfortable (what 11 year old boy wouldn’t be, reading about puberty with his mom?), especially at the illustrations, but as we kept going, he seemed to absorb the information, and be more comfortable talking about it with me.

It was a lot of information all at once (it took us about 20 minutes), and I know we will have to review a few times, but we did hammer home the difference between public and private, as well as who are the people in his life who are OK to answer questions about this type of thing.  These two things are the most important of all, I think, and this book does an excellent job explaining, as well as creating opening for discussion in both of these areas.

In my last post about this book, I mentioned that it doesn’t talk about sexuality, and it doesn’t.  However it does talk about having a crush, or sexual feelings toward another person, and what signals that person may give if they do not feel the same way.  It also talks about ways to manage these feelings, which I think is appropriate to add in a book like this.  I prefaced this subject with The Boy as being further down the road, in high school, maybe.

I felt like we had a successful conversation about the changes he is or is about to go through, and I feel like both of us are more prepared, which is about all I can ask from any book of this type.  I highly recommend this book as a way to start the conversation.


The Curse (or is it Gift?) of the Middle School Teacher

After teaching middle schoolers for almost half my life, I can see what kids will look like as teenagers.  If I really look at a child that still has some baby fat, baby teeth, braces, and that awkward, gawky way of trying to hold their body just so, I can picture him or her after 4 years or so, taller, more self-assured, straighter teeth.

I looked at The Boy today and realized he is no longer a boy.  He is quickly on his way to becoming a teen.  He had just woken up, and was still a little out of it, staring into space, allowing me a moment to really study him.  And I blinked, looked at the pictures all around us in our living room, at that little boy in kindergarten, then after he’d lost a few teeth, looking like that beautiful, typical American boy…  “Where did my baby go?” I said.  “He’s in the pictures, Mom,” The Boy replied as I hugged him tight.  I watched him amble off, down the hall, and I pictured him, taller, broader shoulders, and a little more self-assured (I mean, after all, he can even make his own bagels, now!), and I had two simultaneous emotions: sadness that I’m losing my little boy, and hope for the man he will become.

And here come the tears…