One of the nice things about having two kids close together in age is that they move through developmental stages more or less together. R and N toilet-trained around the same time, are usually interested in the same books at the same time, and are doing the same non-math work in homeschool, together.
Know what else might happen more or less together?
I had informative (for them) conversations with both of them (separately) tonight.When I was done talking with R about periods, bras, and deodorant, I asked her for a performance review.
“So listen, R, I’m going to have to do this talk one more time for E. How did I do? Is there anything you think I should explain differently?”
“Nope.” She shook her head. “You did great. But I do have one question…”
“Go ahead,” I prompted, mentally steeling myself for whatever question she might spring on me.
She brandished her current book and huffed, “Will you please read to me already?”
With N, I mostly stuck to a gentle introduction of the topic and my thoughts about how he should probably start using deodorant. He was more receptive and less embarrassed than I thought he might be.
“I have a question,” he began, springing up from the bed and bouncing on his heels. “Will you show me how to use the deodorant?”
“I can if you want,” I said, “But you can also ask Abba. He’s probably better than me at the manly stuff.”
Better than me at the manly stuff, certainly. But Mr. December is definitely NOT better than me at talking about sex, puberty, or any of that typically “embarrassing” stuff… and by “not better than me” I mean that he just doesn’t and won’t talk to them about it. At least, he didn’t and wouldn’t last time I checked a few years ago; maybe it’s time to check in with him again.
The thing is, I’m pretty sure the most important thing to do when talking to kids about puberty and sex (aside from giving correct information, which I think is a no-brainer,) is to be calm, unflappable, and completely matter-of-fact. Mr. December is usually good at the first and last of those, but can a man who amuses his kids by pretending to be a chicken ever be considered unflappable?