Lately, it seems like all my son wants to do is wrestle with me. It’s hard to admit I’m getting too old for him to be body slamming me, but one session of wrestling runs the risk of 10 sessions with a chiropractor. The boy’s almost 12, so I can’t throw him off me like I used to. He’s rough. He hurts, and he takes sadistic pleasure in hurting.
One day, my son came home from school and we wrestled on the couch. Then he proceeded to sit on my head and fart. Who does that? Boys, that’s who. I can’t help but think if I had a daughter, her and I would be sitting quietly next to each other on the couch, doing needlepoint or scrapbooking or texting.
As I was cleaning up a hairball the other day, my naked son came up to me and declared, “I have a pubic hair. Look, it’s on my balls.” He was so excited I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was probably dryer lint. “I’m going through puberty,” he said proudly. “I even have a pimple.” He pointed to what may or may not have been a mosquito bite on his forehead.
I remember how I couldn’t wait to get my period. My best friend and I were in competition to see who would get it first. I won, and she was devastated. I had become a woman first. Yay me. My son can’t wait to shave. I tried to tell him once he shaves, he’ll have to shave EVERY day for the rest of his life. That he’ll quickly come to hate the daily obligation, eventually grow the defiant, non-shaving man’s beard and look like Zach Galifianakis. It fell upon deaf ears.
Puberty cannot come fast enough for him. Every day yields a new “symptom” of it—his throat is sore, his balls have dropped, the hair on his legs has darkened. Sex Ed started yesterday, and he was so disappointed to learn girls go through puberty before boys.
There’s a constant internal battle going on inside me over what’s appropriate to discuss with him. On the one hand, I want him to feel comfortable talking to me about sex, but on the other hand, I don’t want to feel like I’m living on The Mustang Ranch either. Out of the blue, my son will suddenly blurt out words like sex, or tits, or orgasm. It’s like he has an X-rated form of Tourette’s Syndrome. Whenever I ask him where he learns inappropriate crap like sticking dollar bills in the G-strings of strippers, for example, he always says Family Guy. How fantastic is that?
We were having a perfectly lovely conversation last week in the car on the way to soccer practice. I asked him who the most popular boy in his class was. He had no idea. But the most popular girl? He didn’t even have to think about it. “Gisella.” When I asked why she was so popular, he answered, “She has big tits. They’re like…huge!”
Sadly, I didn’t have a fork to stick in my eye at that moment, or bleach to rinse out my ear canals, but he understood my open-mouthed horror, because he quickly said, “But I don’t look at them. I look at her face. She has a beautiful face.” Uh-huh.
Of course, I threw in my 2.5 cents about how he should never objectify women—that it doesn’t matter how pretty a girl is if she pulls the legs off grasshoppers and sets her dolls’ heads on fire. But again, it fell upon deaf ears. I know this because a few days later when he was describing the girlfriend he was going to have in the future, he mentioned, “Big boobs, nice legs, a beautiful face. I don’t much care about the ass, but it can’t be too small.”
I have come to the conclusion that I am no match against the ridiculous surges of testosterone in a budding preteen’s body, and that every other word out of my mouth when discussing sex with him will be condom, because I sure as hell am not ready to be a grandma at 48.