super proud

Actually, My Kid LOVES Talking About Puberty

My kid came home delighted to tell me everything.

My 5th grader got the puberty talk at school and wanted to tell me everything.
MoMo Productions/DigitalVision/Getty Images

It was 3:15 pm when my 11-year-old burst through the side door, visibly out of breath after sprinting from the bus stop. He announced excitedly: “Well, mom, we had the puberty talk!” I’d gotten an email from the school about it earlier in the month, sharing the date and some topic details in case some parents wanted to opt out, but in the chaos of life, I had forgotten about it entirely. “Wow,” I responded nervously. “How did it go?”

My son eagerly hung up his backpack and kicked off his shoes as he motioned me toward the living room, eyes wide with excitement. “Come in here, Mom,” he yelled. “Let’s talk.”

For the 40 minutes that followed, I listened while he gave me a detailed lesson and refresher on puberty. He talked to me about boners, testicle hair, and wet dreams. I think he said the words “wet dream” about a dozen times, looking at me curiously each time, trying to determine my thoughts on both the subject itself and him discussing it. He talked about the importance of hygiene and the onset of body odor. He even recited a couple of facts about menstruation, although it was clear that it was only briefly discussed.

He talked about his classmate’s reactions and responses to the talk. He listed who was laughing and who had questions. He shared which of his friends were hearing most of this information for the very first time and expressed his sympathy for their discomfort. He even talked about how the teachers delivered the information, allowing students appropriate moments for giggles when necessary to break up the general uncomfortableness.

Then he opened the couch up for questions, urging me to ask him anything I might want to know about puberty or the information he was given. And because I have one of those often-anxious-get-ahead-of-myself mom minds, I had a lot, mostly to determine the boundaries of the talk and how far it was taken in every direction. So when I asked him if they covered a topic that was outside the scope of the talk, he simply shrugged and let me know that he hadn’t learned about it yet. And once he was done unloading all his newly acquired information, he grabbed a snack and headed out for a bike ride, the door shutting behind him.

And I sat alone on the couch after his exit, my head spinning a bit in disbelief that my first kid, who seems like he was born yesterday, had just given me a lesson on pubic hair. I felt so proud.

I was proud that he had retained such a large amount of accurate information in an environment that was likely filled with whispers and sillies. And I was proud that he was confident and communicative enough to have this kind of post-game conversation about it. I am positive many of his peers instantly turtled into their shells during this talk, and would likely never utter a word about it to anyone, let alone their parents. I mean, how lucky am I that he wanted to come home and share it all with me?

And I am proud of myself! That somehow despite all of my mom-imperfections and flaws I have cultivated a relationship with my son that allows for awkward, honest, shameless conversations about absolutely anything — something I did not always have growing up. So here’s to many more kind-of-awkward but very rewarding couch chats. Hopefully, next time we don’t say “wet dream” quite as much. But if we do, so be it.

Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.