Lately when the moms get together, the conversation often veers to puberty and all of the super-fun conversations it entails. My generation of moms came of age in an era when Our Bodies, Ourselves was easily available. Our girls have been armed with an array of pleasantly illustrated, affirmational books published by the behemoth that is American Girl. The conversations are still awkward and hilarious.
Fortunately, I’d laid the groundwork for the pre-teen drama with numerous well-timed, carefully paced conversations throughout childhood. There was the summer when Natalie was six. This was the year she’d learned to ride her bike. She stopped dramatically one summer evening, made a big show of wiping her brow, and announced that she’d been riding all day, and “boy were her balls tired.”
“Well, I imagine you’re sore, but girls’ potty parts aren’t called ‘balls,” mentally chastising myself for ever adopting the “potty parts” convention to begin with. “That’s the slang term for boys’ potty parts. I guess that boys always like to talk about their balls, don’t they. Did you hear it one the playground?
“Yeah, but I didn’t know…”
“Well, no big deal, but that’s why it’s always a good idea to test out new words that we learn on the playground with an adult first, OK?”
“OK,” zipping away for another lap around the cul de sac.
I felt pretty good about things, boy I’d handled that minefield with cool nonchalance, imparting valued wisdom to my daughter. That mental gold star fell off a few hours later when she came home announcing that Gabe had to pee while they were playing in the woods, and he just went on a tree, and she’d seen his “ball.” So close, my dear, so close.