I was telling someone the other day how my kid at 10 still has this sweetness about him that I love dearly. His vocabulary and wit make him seem older than he is sometimes, but that sweetness pegs him as a 10-almost-11 year old. This person lamented that by 12, that sweetness can take a holiday for nearly a decade. Darn.
He is growing up, right before my eyes. It's not a bad thing. We were talking the other day about what he would do the summer before he started middle school, which will be 2013. He'll be 12, and so all of the day care things we did since he was a wee tot aren't available anymore. He asked what he'd do with that summer time. I said that I figured he'd be in some kind of structured program for part of the time, would volunteer somewhere for part of the time, and would be able to hang out at home (gulp!) alone for part of the time. My next thought was, "I am thankful that cell phones are so ubiquitous these days".
Along with his maturing mind of course is the onset of puberty. I've seen those subtle changes and it's only a matter of time before the hormones start to course through the kid's veins. It's a weird time for kids. I remember feeling somewhat ashamed of the changes that were happening in my body because my mom never talked about it. She said later that she figured if I had questions, that I'd ask. For some reason I didn't feel comfortable asking. Or, more likely, I didn't know what questions to ask. I don't know. My recollection of the time was that I wished I had more information.
I want my son to have some facts and be able to talk to his peers and responsible adults (besides his dad and myself) about all this stuff. The church I go to has a program for almost-middle schoolers on sexuality that starts this week, and I've signed him up for it. Two of his good friends are in it as well, which is a good thing. They cover body and mind issues. Respect. Tolerance. I like knowing that they'll cover all the things that are important to me for him to know, and then he'll more informed.
When I lived in Ohio, I did a very short stint as a substitute teacher, and one morning was in a 7th grade classroom. A girl came up to me and said, "Want to see a picture of my baby?" I stammered and stumbled, but did say, "You need to stay in school!" It is my hope that getting information to my kid about sexuality and relationships will encouraged more informed choices. Ones that take into account possible consequences. Knowledge is power, right?