This year at Riverton Motors, the company is doing a multi-store fundraiser for the Utah Food Bank. Kenny was placed in charge of one of the nine teams, and it’s his job to solicit donations and motivate, inspire, bribe, beg and plead for his team to not only donate food and monetary donations, but service at the food bank as well.
We went a few weeks ago with about 22 of his coworkers and their families, and we had a blast packing boxes of food for the hungry. Tonight was our second stint, and we were labeling boxes of frozen pizza. There weren’t as many bodies there tonight, but it was still fun. Even the kids got into the action by decorating empty delivery boxes with holiday themes, in order to spread cheer to the recipients.
(This information is in no way related to tonight’s post, except that something happened on our way home from the Food Bank. Sometimes I am a little long-winded, okay? Deal with it.)
On our way to pick up Hannah and Anthony, who spent the evening with Grandma, the four of us were chatting about the play we saw on Saturday night, and some jokes my brother made after it was over. Trust me when I say you had to be there, because this won’t make a lot of sense, but at the end of Seussical, Horton and Gertrude hatch an elephant-bird, and in the parking lot after the play, my brother was teasing my sisters about having to sit close enough to each other in the back of the jeep (…car seat…) to make an elephant-bird of their own. We were all laughing so hard we were crying, and no one laughed harder than Alex, who is starting to *get* some of the innuendo. Add the new knowledge to being nine years old, and I’m sure you can visualize the sort of thing I’m beginning to deal with.
So, on the way home from the Food Bank tonight, Alex was explaining the elephant-bird joke to Kenny, who chose not to attend the play. Then, off-handedly, he said, “Mom, my friend (Isaac? Anthony? I blocked out the name upon hearing Alex’s pronouncement) filled me in on the stuff you didn’t tell me, so I’m good.”
“What stuff?” I asked him.
“You know, the stuff we talked about a while ago. THAT stuff.” (Over the summer we had discussed some generalities of maturity, including puberty and BAAAAAASIC human sexual relations, but he wasn’t ready for more, and quite frankly, neither was I.)
“Uhhhhh… so he filled you in, huh?” (A fourth grader educated my son? A NINE-YEAR-OLD? Really? And where did Isaac or Anthony or Someone Else learn it?)
“Yeah, but I’m not sure I believe all of what he said. It doesn’t seem right.” (This from the boy who understood what “mating” meant in the animal kingdom, but could not make the jump to humans. Or his parents. 😀 )
I told Alex we could chat about it at a different time, when we were not in mixed company, and he agreed that it would be best to postpone the discussion for a short time, when his siblings were not present.
I see that chat looming very close on the horizon. If it’s not within the next 24 hours, I’ll be shocked.
One part of me is looking forward to the discussion, because I am very curious to know what his “friend” could have possibly told him that I didn’t cover. I’d also like to know when this conversation took place, because these boys don’t socialize outside of class, and discussions like these are in no way appropriate during class time. Or any time, really, when it’s a conversation among fourth graders. On the other hand, I am not ready to get into the nitty gritty of human intimacy with my NINE YEAR OLD son, but I’m afraid that in order to clear up what I’m hoping are glaring inaccuracies, we are going to have to jump in the proverbial lake with both feet.
He’s already learned slang terms for several parts of the male anatomy, and he comes home each day with another “D’you know what so-and-so said today?” or “So-and-so laughed hysterically when my teacher said ‘nuggets’, but I don’t understand what was so funny.” (Neither do I, Alex… neither do I. Oh, I *get* it, on the immature little-boy level, but I don’t think it’s funny.)
I was really hoping he could splash on the shore for a few more years, content with his sand pail and bucket. Maybe a beach ball and a frisbee. Darn those classmates with morals different than ours, who are making my sweet little guy grow up faster than I’m ready for.
I miss his innocence. (A lot more than I thought I would.) There are days I wish he was three years old again, and my arms ache to cuddle him on my lap and kiss his chubby cheeks. Instead, I get to explain to him that the things he finds too horrible to contemplate are actually real, and perfectly appropriate within the loving bonds of marriage.
I am going to blow his mind, and I’m not sure whether I can put it back together the right way. This is one of those moments that can scar a kid.