The Birds And The Bees

Follow Claire Smith's Mothering Heights on Twitter @MinistryOfMum

Follow Claire Smith's Mothering Heights on Twitter @MinistryOfMum - Credit: Archant

MY BABY boy is growing up. The child that changed my life forever is approaching double figures and will soon be experiencing changes himself.

Having a 10 year old brings a whole new milestone which has had the same effect on me as the time he took his first steps. You see, the school system where we live introduces sex and relationship education in Year 5 and, as a parent, I have to do some growing up myself.

I have to face the fact that this 10 year old will soon turn into a teenager and then after that will turn into a young man. Which will be strange because I won’t age at all. But time will pass and before I know it, I’ll have a smelly, hairy, spotty adolescent who will spend much more time in his bedroom and use tissues for more than blowing his nose. He’s going to grow in height, grow hair and, well, grow in other ways too and I don’t know when this will happen but I do know that I don’t want him to be clueless. I have no intention of him having the absolute lack of anatomical knowledge that I had as a teenager.

The thing is, if you’d asked me a year ago about my son learning about puberty and the changes his body will go through, I would have balked at the idea. I would have protested that he didn’t need to know any of that stuff yet, being far too young, and I would have insisted that when the moment came for these lessons that he certainly wouldn’t be taking part. There’s plenty of time for him to hear the, errr, ins and outs of how babies are made and especially for a boy who can’t even put the right clothes in the right drawers. I was adamant that my son, at age 10, was too young.

The past few weeks, however, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve reached a parenting puberty.


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I’ve realised that pulling him out of the lesson is going to be far worse than him actually being in the lesson. Because he’d probably be the only kid made to sit in the library and it’d be so obvious. Also, the other kids would tell him everything anyway and better for him to hear it from a professional than his mate who’s just heard it all for the first time.

In addition, my son is the type of kid who likes to think he knows everything. There’s no need to Google anything when this kid is around, I tell ya. What he’d likely do is the exact thing he does when faced with a subject he knows nothing about – he’d blag it. And, believe me, blagging about a knowledge of sex is not the way to go, especially when there’s always that one kid who knows everything. (I know this, because that blagger was me and Kay Turner never let me forget it).

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I also got thinking about how there’s never going to be a right time or a wrong time. What works for one family might not work for another, but who’s to know? It’s a bit like planning to have a baby. Sometimes you’ve just got to go for it, cross your fingers and hope there’s no long term therapy involved.

I did come to the conclusion that it was better, in the first instance, to hear it from me. So last week when I was tucking him into bed, I tried to have a little chat. It didn’t go well. In fact that first fumble at age 13 I had with the boy next door was less awkward. It wasn’t particularly embarrassing although he did do that whole Kevin & Perry flaying around of the arms and “Mummmmmm” which just made me laugh. At that point I realised that I will never ever know what it’s like to be a 10 year old boy so I did the only thing that any good mother can do – I got Daddy involved.

I decided that I will deal with the girl child when it’s her turn, and Daddy can deal with the boy child, because really what do I know about teenage boys except sometimes how I wish I was their teenage girlfriend? (Here’s looking at you, Harry Styles).

So tonight, my husband and son went to a school open night and the first sex and relationship education class. It went really well as it was open, informative and relaxed. An overall success of an evening as a first introduction to the changes that will happen over the next few years.

He came back happy to have learnt something, not daunted by new words or scenarios and was eager to share the new found knowledge with me in an enthusiastic and exuberant manner. I was actually a bit tearful about the fact that we’ve reached an important milestone and the eldest child in this house is growing into a man.

I’ll find out how my son got on in the morning.

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