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The Sudden Need For a 4th Grade Sex Talk

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TALKING TO KIDS
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We had a sex talk plan.

That plan was to wait.

Wait until 4th grade was over. Wait until the summer break between 4th and 5th grade had arrived. Wait until we could have the reproductive health, er, sex talk with our 10-year-old at a leisurely pace and without any nuggets or zingers from it seeping into her classroom chit-chats or into the recess yard banter or into the cafeteria scuttlebutt. We were waiting just a little while longer to have the sex talk with our oldest daughter both for us -- to preserve a few more glorious weeks of blissful childhood unknowing in her -- and for other parents, too. To not have our girl accidentally spilling the beans on the sperm + egg / penis + vagina system to her 4th grade buddies who may not be hip to how they, their friends, teachers, parents, and most every other mammal, got here.

I'm nothing if not considerate.

But the gig is up.

A form recently came home alerting us of a special Always Changing -- About You health class for the 4th grade scheduled for the following Friday. We're talking menstrual cycles, reproductive body parts, stinky armpits... you know, all the juicy stuff. Well, we're not talking about it, school is, but you know, now we are. We must get in front of this End of Childhood School Year special, to ensure the first sex talk our daughter has is a sex talk with us, not some health teacher with Proctor & Gamble sponsored leaflets. That's right, our school seems to have bought into some P&G program, with supplied documents littered with ads for their tampons, their pads and their deodorant.

New plan: divide and conquer. My wife will handle the icky this into that does this and that business. I'll tackle the commercialism bit and, OK, armpit management too. Deal.

*After posting on the Out With The Kids Facebook page about the sudden need for a preemptive sex talk with our oldest daughter ahead of this in-school health class, a friend suggested The Care and Keeping of You books published by American Girl. Both the younger girl and older girl versions have been ordered. Thank you, Jason. And I've queued up the recent episode of the BobbleheadDad podcast discussing THE TALK too. Thank you, Jim Higley.

Truth be told, I've never been worried about this moment because of the words themselves or because of the exact information we'll transfer to our daughter, that her vocabulary and understanding of the world will be forever altered and expanded. It is not icky at all and so I will be an active participant in the series of discussions we'll have, at our 4th grader's desired pace. I continue to not be nervous about this new stage of my oldest girl's life. In fact, I am mildly excited about the challenge and adventure of her tween and teen years and all that comes about during those transformative periods (pun intended.)

Just as I bought and folded her tiny first pairs of underwear after she moved out of diapers eight years ago, I will be the one buying and stocking the bathroom cabinet with pads and tampons for her when that time comes. I'm totally ready for all of that. Bring it on. What I am mourning right this minute is the first wall of childhood coming down. The bricks that will soon crumble are still covered in chalk and stickers. This is what's causing the massive stream of tears to flow as I wrap up this short post. I know that this talk we must have is a line of demarcation between the simplicity of youth and the complications of adulthood, and I, I just can't stop crying about crossing over the border with her.

I just cannot stop.

*This post originally appeared on Out With The Kids, which you can follow on Facebook.