A few days ago, Riley came home from school wearing a solemn, worried expression. By way of greeting, he said, "Mom, can I talk to you about something?" (Alarm bells immediately blared in my parental brain: Warning, this is NEVER a good start to a conversation...) So I braced myself mentally, and encouraged him to continue. With downcast eyes, he shook his head and sighed, "I reeeaaaally don't think I'm ready for Family Life." (Ohhh-kaaaay, now the inside of my head is filled with hysterical laughter...which I suppressed...with monumental difficulty...) "Ohhhh," I managed to casually respond, "did you start that today?" He nodded quietly, then burst out with, "And we talked about...puberty! On the first day!" He seemed so utterly indignant at being subjected to the...horrors...of the human body that I tried my utmost to at least make sympathetic sounds until I could regain my composure enough to reason with him. "Well, honey, it's important to know this stuff. It would be scary if things just started happening to you, and you had no idea what was going on, right?" He still looked somewhat dubious, but agreed. "It just makes me so uncomfortable!" he complained. ("Yeah, I totally get that, but suck it up, little man, 'cuz they're only doling out the 'light stuff' this year. You just wait until Middle School"...I thought to myself...)
So by quizzing him a little bit, I gathered that they're discussing 'body changes' and the all-important related topic of 'hygiene' at this point. Later that evening, I did ask if they're going to delve into the whole...ahem...'how babies...happen' situation...unfortunately, this happened to be at dinner time, when Husband was around, and he promptly helped oh-so-much by interrupting with, "Shh! We don't talk about 'the stork' until sixth grade, remember?" (Sigh...) Riley wore a puzzled expression as he answered, "Well, I know about the sperm...and the egg...but I'm not sure how they come together to make a baby..." (Excuse me while I pause for internal chuckles again...) To my surprise, Husband jumped in and matter-of-factly said, "Let's save that for after dinner--I'll tell you all about it when Mom goes to her dance class." Alrighty then...Off. The. Hook! (Yesssss...)
Relieved of the burden of Human Physiology Education, I lightheartedly pirouetted off to have fun with my fellow Jazz ladies, and put the whole subject completely out of my mind. When I returned home, however, I heard the rumble of multiple male voices coming from Derek's room, accompanied by...a great deal of...suspicious snickering. Apparently responding to the sound of me coming in the door, Riley darted to the top of the stairs and commanded, "Don't come up here, Boy Talk going on!" Then he firmly closed the door to prevent me from intruding. Huh. Evidently this is much more serious and involved than I originally suspected. But one thing was for sure: I absolutely DID NOT want to know exactly what they were covering in there, so I left them to it. (Silly me, I thought this meant I would be spared...alas, this was not to be...)
It was a bit amusing to me, though, that Riley appeared to be curious and inquisitive about the...processes...and whatnot. When Derek went through the same thing in 5th grade, and then again in more depth in each of the last several years of "Health Class" in Middle School, he has tended to keep the whole thing 100% to himself. "Honey, do you have any questions?" I have inquired on many occasions. "Anything you're unclear about, or that seems confusing, or that doesn't make sense?" From the very beginning, he has refused to even entertain the possibility of talking about it. (Which is fine--I just want him to know I'm available...and more reliable than any information he might get from his goofball friends...)
Sooooooo, my younger son came bouncing out of the room with a case of uncontrollable giggles, followed by his father, who rhetorically asked the world at large (with a rueful expression and one hand on his forehead in dismay), "Did you know there's a 'sperm meets egg' theme song?" Riley--of course--proceeded to demonstrate, using a pair of corded earbuds and a decorative pebble that Derek keeps on his desk...humming a merry tune as he slowly made them approach each other...Oh. Good. Heavens... (Just one more example of how my sons are such very, VERY different creatures: This sort of spectacle would never in a million years occur to Derek...and I truly believe he would perish from embarrassment before trying such a thing...)
But wait, just when you thought it was (mercifully) over, there's an epilogue. Riley informed me the next morning that Derek had also found some sort of--I don't exactly know..."conception game"?--that would allow you to (I am not making this up) "customize your sperm" so that it could "reach the egg faster". (Yes, apparently there IS an app for that...) I'm sorry, put this in the category of "I don't wanna know"...and let's fervently hope that Family Life concludes without any further...nonsense. But stay tuned, because for all I know, Riley could be working on Boy Meets Girl: The Musical...and I'm going to be quite busy practicing the many, many different ways I can use the phrase "Go ask your father"...