I've discovered that no matter how hard I try, there is really no way of putting a plastic bubble around my kids to force them to stop growing up. Only yesterday, I was in the hospital with my fist child, thinking he was all there was in life.
Except that wasn't really yesterday, it was fifteen and a half years ago. Yeah, you got it. Last Monday I took him to the Driver's License Division to get his driving permit. I now have to teach him how to drive. (Can you say panic?)
And that's not all. The very next day, I sat with my third child (eleven-year-old, girl, in the fifth grade) while we listened to the maturation presentation at school. She's growing up too!
Now, about this presentation. She was so nervous. And admittedly, she hoped I would forget and not show up. But I didn't. It's a good thing, too. Unfortunately, the presentation was so very basic, there was only a tiny amount of information she didn't already know. I found myself way disappointed. There was nothing about how boys change as they grow up. Nothing about sex (sorry, but they need to at least know how babies are made!) and nothing about eating disorders, or any of the things I learned about when I was that age.
Lucky for me, I have no problem talking to my children about these things. They're natural, and I feel like it's important for them to know. Still, there are a whole lot of adults who refuse to discuss what they perceive as embarrassing or delicate subjects with their children. I suppose they expect the kids to learn at school. But people, school lessons really don't teach them anything about it.
On the other hand, they will help teach your kids how to drive--drivers education is required in the sophomore year. And yes, my son will have to practice driving in my car (a frightening idea, let me assure you) but I can go with him knowing that if he doesn't listen to me, there is another person of influence helping teach him the basics. And knowing how often kids believe what their parents are telling them, that's good to know.
Eventually, every kid will know how to drive a car. Even if they don't own one for several years. But not every kid will know and understand what's happening with their body, and why they should make good choices (on every level) to keep them healthy and happy. Even though they all have bodies.
Before you start flogging me, let me just state that I don't blame the school system for this massive oversight. Some things are personal, and private, and should be taught with a level of love. It's our job as parents to take care of those things.
I just find it ironic, that's all. It reminds me why--when some of my girlfriends had questions their parents wouldn't answer--my mother sat us down in our kitchen for a question and answer session. I was mortified at the time. But I also knew it was needed.
And now, even though it makes me feel old, it's my turn. Heaven help me!