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Bovine Confusion

It happens so fast, and then, the innocence of childhood is gone...

We’ve all navigated the dangerous waters of life’s many rites of passage. Not always first-time successful, but we made it, right?

First steps. First bike ride.

First crush. First kiss. First heartbreak.

First arrest.

First walk of shame.

I trust that most of us experienced all of these before puberty, except that latter one. However, I know some adults that are still challenged with items on this not nearly all-inclusive list, especially after a rough week, an alcoholic beverage or three, or that first white, pubic hair.

In light of all this, I’ve been hearing about something for several months now.

“Dad, it’s coming soon.”

“Dad! Dad! Guess what we’re going to study?”

“Dad, have you ever… ”

Last week, all parental units from our children’s school received, to some, the dreaded letter requiring our authorizing signature for our child’s attendance.

Puberty education.

Your body’s changing kids! And those raging hormones are going to…




I’ve already been much more proactive with my children’s education than my mother was with mine. I’ve also been peppered with the questions. Questions about love, life, and death; the changing bodies of theirs and their friends; and of course, where babies come from, have all entered our dinner table and grocery line conversations.

When my son was barely one, I placed him in a bin at a local crafts store and took a picture. The bin was filled with discounted Styrofoam pumpkins. Forty percent off! When he was older, and after the where-did-I-come-from question, I showed the boy the picture and told him that it was a difficult decision. He was cute, most certainly, but without the reduced price, it would have been a coin toss. That’s his story. The girl’s story was more challenging.

She was one of two but we lost the second in the first trimester. I don’t recall how the story started, but she tells everyone that there was no womb room for both. The other person was in her way, crowding her space, so she absorbed her twin. It was a badass thing to say and do, and she knew it. If she could’ve been, she would have been born patched. If you don’t know that that means, you need to watch, Sons of Anarchy.

She first spoke after her forced exit from her mother’s body. Once pulled free, after she'd fought hard, clinging on with both little hands, trying her darnedest to crawl back in, she sneered at the bastard doctor. Yes, sneered, and yes, bastard doctor, which incidentally was her first under-her-breath snarky remark, she then spoke those first audible words.

“What the hell are y'all looking at?”

My daughter never smiled for the first year except when she puked, farted, or blew out a diaper, the latter being her specialty. I joke with her now, telling her that she was filled with crap. "Likewise, I'm sure," is her current response.

She was an asute baby. She knew what she did and reveled in it. Never blamed it on the dog. It was always Dad. She’d look at me as the stench filled the room. After exhausting my enthusiastic defense, to her amusement, everyone shamed me, asking what kind of man was I to blame my own flatulence on an innocent baby.

I miss those days.

Parenting a young girl approaching puberty has become more complicated. I can only imagine the sunshine and butterflies of those blissful teen years pending for said daughter.

She never asked how she got in there, but was pretty pissed off when she was forced to come out. The world has been paying for that ever since. I’ve encouraged her mother to field the baby questions. So far, both have been mum on the topic.

My kids’ sex education, which follows the puberty stuff, doesn’t officially start for a couple more years. However, I’ve been doing my best to prepare them. For starters, we’ve worked our way through all four of the Jackass movies. I’ve had to be quick with the remote and fast forward through a few sections, but they are already high school and college years learned ahead of me. They actually know what female body part urine comes from.

Hint for the boys, men, and zombies reading this: It’s not actually from the vagina. It’s kind of a trick, isn’t it ladies? One I didn’t learn until embarrassingly much later in life.

My son’s puberty education class begins shortly. I’ve wrestled with the idea of contributing to his classroom discussion. Over the years, I’ve written a thing or two on the subject matter. I’ve even had some opportunity, in my personal life, to participate in some of the items discussed in their curriculum’s power points. I’m certain my insight will augment and enhance everyone’s learning experience. I’m awaiting the school’s response once they’ve completed their assessment of my body of work from another story site. I’m not concerned. All should go well.

Regardless of their answer, my son will receive better instruction than I ever did. When I asked my mother where babies came from, she referred me to the barnyard.

“Have you ever seen one cow jump on another?”

She then left the room, never to speak to me about it again. I was left with that virgin riddle for my developmental years. But when it was time, my time, I was prepared.

After some kissing and stuff, my then-girlfriend said we were ready. I told her to prepare herself and I’d do the same. I left the room and said I’d return shortly.

I barely fit through the doorway. To my surprise, she met me on my bed, naked, but without her cow costume!

I was confused.

My kids won’t be.

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