Friday, May 1, 2009

Flashback Friday - Puberty Mishaps

Technically, it's not Friday. But I did begin writing this post on Friday. Lately, it's been a little more difficult to sit down and write a full post during one sitting. Every time I attempt to jot down some juicy morsels of thoughts or stories on my blog, Conner will brandish a kitchen knife, consume poisonous materials, or climb on my lap and pound on my lap top's keyboard. It's hard to be witty and creative when you have a toddler running nekkid around the house with a kitchen knife in tow.

Approximately 6 weeks ago, I signed on the dotted line and agreed to have our local public school system teach my eleven year old son a thing or two about the mysteries of that, oh so ominous subject....PUBERTY. (dun, dun, dun!)

This is a conversation that I have feared, since Cody's birth. It's not the subject matter that scares me. And it's not the embarrassment that I am sure he will experience. And let's face it, he will experience it. It's the fear that I will crack up. That I will snicker and giggle uncontrollably when I have to mutter the certain terminology that comes with learning about PUBERTY. This is why I have made the executive decision to have my husband be the one to break the 'bad news' to our sons. And to, also, let the school nurse teach Cody about arm pit hair and the 'changes' that they will be experiencing. It's what every responsible mother would do.

As I signed that consent form, it brought me back to 6th grade and the PUBERTY class that I was associated with.

Let's face it people, PUBERTY sucked! There is so much to be concerned about. Arm pit hair beginning to sprout, training bra dilemmas, shaving your legs, sanitary napkins!!!! (que horrific scream...ahhhhhhhhhhh!) It's all too over whelming!

I was 12 years old and I could feel PUBERTY lurking over head. I knew it (whatever it was), was about to happen to me and I was not amused. Not amused about it one bit! This year was also the year that I had also discovered an odd, circular, red bump protruding smack dab in the middle of my forehead. What was this mysterious growth? A mole? Cancer? What! The thought of the slightly painful growth, throbbing and making it's presence known, kept me awake at night. So I unwillingly approached my dad with my concern. He investigated it up close and in his all knowing manner, diagnosed my anomaly. "I believe it's a pimple." "What's a pimple?" I asked. "Well, it's a zit. It's normal. Don't worry about it," he consoled me.

Well that was it. That day was officially the worst day of my life. Oh the humanity! I had a zit! I had a freakin' zit! I became so upset about the diagnoses, I ran to my room to throw my head into my pillow and bawl.

The following day I tried to conceal the volcanic-like growth. But it still managed to protrude in between the hair on my bangs. There was nothing I could do about it, except let time take care of it. I decided to stake a flag at the peak of my growth and gave it the title of MOUNT. JENNIFER. Twenty some years later, MOUNT. JENNIFER still flares up once in a while (more often than I would like). She also, sometimes causes a whole mountain range to suddenly appear on my face. It's a geological wonder!

Up until the zit incident, Puberty was still a worry stuck somewhere in the back nooks and crannies of my mind. Then the official, officials of South Side Elementary and other various school board members and adults, concurred with the idea of teaching me and my fellow pre-hormonal, arm pit hair wielding, classmates about Puberty. Consent forms were sent home and returned to our teachers with our parent's signatures firmly written on the dotted line.

Mrs. Bowman was one of the two 6th grade teachers, and she was responsible for teaching the 'health and science part' of school, to us. Mrs Bowman was a forbidding type of character. She was large in stature with short, tightly permed curls that surrounded her scalp. She talked with a thick Texan accent that would often be difficult to understand as she announced the spelling words to the students during spelling tests. She was also strict, and carried a stern look on her face at all times. The only time she would crack a smile was when she was inflicting punishment on a fellow student.

The day, prior to the Puberty course, she explained that we would be watching a film. She also threatened each and everyone of our pre-teen lives if there was one snicker, one giggle or one outburst of laughter!

In her deep Texan accent she proclaimed, "If any of y'all giggle, laugh, or have one out burst of laughter...y'all be headin' to the hallway!" She meant business.

The day of the Puberty Course, you could feel the nervous tension surrounding all of the sixth graders. Student's with older siblings were given the 'heads up' as to what we were about to embark on. And the word on the street was that we would be witnessing explicit drawings of the nekkid forms of the male and female species on the film. Kill me! Kill me now!

I sat in my assigned desk, next to a male student named, Colby. As we sat in our desks, we sat quietly and nervously. Our, large in stature, Texan teacher warned us again about any laughter during the film then instructed another student to turn off the lights.

The narrator on the film began to explain the wonderful journey that each and everyone of us were about to embark on. He told us about growth spurts, other things growing, male voices deepening, leg hair, arm pit hair, and other hair growth. All the while, I sat uncomfortably, listening.

Next we watched a short movie about twin siblings. One was a boy and the other twin was a girl. The boy was upset because his sister was taller than him and was maturing faster than him. The sister was upset because she ran out of sanitary napkins and had to endure the humiliation of buying a package at the local drug store, all by herself. After purchasing the package she encountered her twin brother and his friends on the street. They asked what was in the shopping bag and then played keep away with the package of sanitary napkins. Once they found out what was in the shopping bag, they gave the contraband back to her and she walked away sobbing. If it were me, I would have pelted their fat heads with my package of sanitary napkins!

The movie ended and I thought we were in the clear. There wasn't one picture of any kind of nekkid form. Phew! Then Mrs. Bowman loaded another film strip. And there it was... an enlarged image projected on the screen, that will forever be burned into the cockles of my memories. A cartoon-like image of a nekkid teenage girl. Hair growth and all. My cheeks began to burn from the heat of embarrassment and my eyes widened with shock. A few snickers broke the silence and Mrs. Bowman yelled, "Hey! Keep it down y'all!" The narrator went on to explain the 'ins and outs' of what girls experience during puberty. It was humiliating.

By this time, me and my classroom neighbor, Colby, were desperately trying to with hold in our laughter by placing our hands securely over our mouths. Every time I would glance at Colby, our bodies began to shake with laughter. Tears began to stream down my cheeks from the embarrassing humor.

I was sitting directly to the side of Mrs. Bowman, so I knew I had to get a grip and contain myself. I took a deep breath in and slowly let it out. I wiped the tears away, put a straight face on and glared at Colby, as a warning to "quit looking at me!"

The recording of the narration from the film then chimed. It was the chime that signaled to turn the knob of the projector to project the following image. This time it was the nekkid male species. Side profile images blared against the screen. That did it. Colby and I looked at each other and we each burst into an obnoxious, harmonious, chorus of laughter.

"Bah hahahahahaha! Snicker! Snicker! Bah hahahahahaha!"

There just was no stopping us. I tried with all of might to contain the laughter, but I had failed. Miserably.

Mrs. Bowman stopped the film immediately, pointed her finger at us and yelled, "That's it! Y'all go sit in the hallway! This is no laughing matter!"

With my head hung low, my face red from laughter, and tears streaming down my cheeks, I walked out of the classroom to the hallway. My body shook the whole way to my "time-out" spot, because I was still laughing.

She ordered Colby to sit 5 feet away from me, on one side of the doorway, and me on the other. Colby and I spent the rest of the class time laughing and reminiscing of the material that was shown to us.

So as my oldest child prepares for his journey, I hope that I can be sympathetic to his feelings and worries about puberty. And that the ghosts from my Puberty Class past do not appear during our future conversations. But then again, I have made the executive decision to pass this torch on to my husband. Good luck, husband dear.


  1. I CAN'T believe that they showed those films to ya'll together!!! They split up the boys and girls in our class and we went to different class rooms to watch our films.

    Oh, poor Steve.

  2. Geez! I honestly can't remember my puberty class very well. I do know that the boys went to a different room, but that's it! That is seriously all I can remember. I guess it really made an impression, huh?

    Poor Nya, since she has me as her mom, she's already had to go through numerous "talks." I even have a life sized flip chart!

    Steve is welcome to borrow it! ;)

  3. I grew up in California and we didn't get a class. We got a whole semester of "health class" that was months of this stuff. And small blank papers on which we could write our burning questions every day and then fold them up and put them in a box. I wish I had been in Utah for the one class.

    Let me know how the hubby thing works out. I've already told Daniel this is his job. I can handle the girl stuff, but the boys?? C'mon, that's a dad's job!

  4. Oh Jen, How I sit here at the screen with silent tears of much inside giggling streaming down my face so that I don't wake the household. I had Mrs. Bowman too!! However, I'm thinking this memory must have been too painful, i don't remember any of the puberty mishaps until Jr. High. Thanks for the laugh! Best one all day :o)

  5. LOL LOL LOL!!!! You told that story so well. I remember watching that film too...the humiliation they put us through. How did we ever make it past that time in our lives? :)!!!

  6. I don't remember my "Puberty" class too well. I was lecture one and I know I was not paying much attention.
    Michelle just had her class too, recently. I tell you! I dread this! Totally!

  7. I had the talk with the boys since I was afraid what would come out of Scott's mouth!! i'm sure he talked too but.. if you know Scott mother knows best not dad!! Yes he has turned my kids into the eternal perverts but maybe that comes from the Lewis side too....

  8. You have such a good memory! I can't even remember having that in school maybe I just wasn't paying attention!

  9. Ha! This was hilarious. That love that twin movie. So funny. So awkward. All at the same time.

  10. I don't remember mine, but all I know is there is some unfairness in going right from zits to wrinkles.

  11. I love you. That is all.


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