Tag Archives: puberty

Maybe We Don’t Always Need to Teach Them to Speak Up 

A former student enters my room, walks over to me, and sheepishly mumbles something…

Me: “Honey, I can’t hear a word you’re saying. Speak up!”

Kid: <steps closer and mumbles again>

Me: “I would love to help you but I cannot hear you! Louder!”

Kid: <more mumbling>

Me: “What?!”


Oh. Shit. 

They Noticed

So yesterday this happened and I was just kind of hoping the students forgot about it (as I like to think kids do when something extremely uncomfortable occurs). I convinced myself that the moment was much more awkward and memorable for me than it was for them, and that they probably didn’t even notice.

Yeah, well. They did.

Today we started writing an end-of-year school newspaper. Here’s what one kid is contributing to the Comics section (work still in progress). I’ve translated the kid’s writing in pink, in case you can’t read it.


So I think the moral here is, even 10-year-olds notice when you act like an awkward buffoon.

This is sure to do wonders for my social anxiety.

My Own Personal Sex Education

Most people learn about erections in sex ed.

Here’s how I learned

One day in elementary school, I was home alone with Manolita, our nanny at the time.

Manolita spoke limited English and, to put it mildly, was not the sharpest tool in the shed. No, I’m not being an asshole and suggesting the two go hand in hand– I’m just presenting each one as two separate facts that are important to the story (and if you get to the end of this story and still want to argue that Manolita was not intellectually challeneged, then may god have mercy on your soul.)

So Manolita and I are watching some soap operas when Sammy, our family dog (a yellow lab, the best dog in the world, may he rest in peace) began making sweet love to an oversized pink stuffed animal bear that one of my siblings had won at a carnival. This was not unusual practice for Sammy, a puppy at the time, and I always marveled at how sticky that pink bear became after Sammy had his way with it– “So much slobber coming out of your mouth, Sam!”

To be clear, I got that what the dog was doing to the stuffed animal was something vaguely sexual, but I had ZERO understanding of any of the details that go along with such an act.

Which leads us to the following.

Manolita and I are deeply settled into an episode of Days of Our Lives when I glance over to Sammy’s pink bear humpfest, and notice something has gone horribly, horribly awry.

“Oh my god! Manolita!!!! The dog’s penis is inside out!!!”

Manolita turned, looked at the dog, and– I shit you not– FREAKED THE FUCK OUT.

“Sammy! Sammy! No, Sammy, no no no no! What is wrong, Sammy!? He need hospital!!!!! Penis! Hospital! PENIS!”

Well, the second my assigned caregiver screams “hospital, penis!,” I’m naturally going to panic. The dog’s penis was inside-out, and he was licking it furiously (obviously desperately trying to make it go right-side-in again) and if I didn’t act quickly, he was going to lose his penis and possibly his life.

So I called my mother’s car phone. Yeah– not cell phone– CAR phone. That’s where we are in time, guys.

She picked up, mid drive, on speaker phone.

Mom: “Hello?”
Me: “Mom!!!!!!!! It’s Em!!!! HELP! THE DOG’S PENIS IS INSIDE OUT!!!!!!”

She hung up the phone immediately. I would find out later that night that my mom, a real estate agent, had a client in the car at the time, and was escorting said client to a house that she very much hoped to sell to her. My phone call did not make for a comfortable journey. Pretty sure Mom never sealed that deal.

Meanwhile, panicked and not taking my mom’s refusal to speak to me as a sign that I was being RIDICULOUS (and please keep in mind, this entire time, the nanny is screaming “the penis is bleed!!!”), I then called my dad at the office.

Dad: “Hello?”
Dad: “What?”
Dad: “Oh.” (chuckle….long pause) “The dog has a boner.”

And I was never the same.


The Truth About Blondes

Kid: “I have a question for you, since you’re a blonde.”
Me (terrified about where this is going): “Ok…”
Kid: “Do people look at you more because you’re a blonde?”
Me: “Not that I have noticed, no. Why do you ask?”
Kid: “Well, my friend is a blonde, and she says people look at her more because of it.”
Me: “Oh…well…that might be her perception. But that doesn’t make it a fact.”
Kid (taking a deep breath, turning bright red): “I’m talking specifically about boys. Like, BOYS look at her more.”
Me (smiling, but secretly wishing I still taught Kindergarten): “Yeah, kiddo. I had a feeling that’s what you meant.”
Kid: “So is it true? Do boys like blondes better? Because she said that’s something that like EVERYONE knows.”
Me: “Look, there are lots of silly things said about hair color, and many other physical features for that matter, but those are just generalizations and stereotypes. The truth is that everyone has different tastes, and different qualities, both physically and personality-wise, that they find attractive. It completely varies from person to person, and you should just focus on being proud of your own unique and wonderful traits, because I promise you that plenty of people– BOYS included– are going to notice them.”
Kid: “Ok, that makes me feel better.”

Yeah, well, it shouldn’t. I’m a dumb blonde. What the fuck do I know?