August 25th, 2010

The P Word

Linda Kennard

About a year ago, Tanner waltzed into the kitchen, took a deep breath and, on the exhale, casually announced, “Man, I could sure go for some puberty right now!”

Jay looked up from her afternoon snack, smirking: “Tanner, you don’t even know what ‘puberty’ means.”

Tanner was incensed. “I do too!”

“Oh yeah?” Jay challenged, still smirking. “What is it then?”

“You know! It’s that stuff—the stuff they put in sodas, like Mountain Dew!”

Clearly, he mixed up something he’d heard, although I could never quite figure out how his understanding had gone so far wrong. Of course, at this point—safely beyond the bed-wetting years and on the cusp of wet-dream years—Tanner and Clyde get the gist of puberty (at least they know you can’t find it in Mountain Dew), but they’re still a little fuzzy on the details.

“How do you know when you hit puberty?” Tanner asked me early this summer, when I was warming my winter-white body by a hotel pool in Phoenix. Eyes closed, I told him that certain types of hair in certain places are among the usual warning signs.

Jay didn’t think that was sufficient. “Do you even know where to look, Tanner?”

“Yes! The front and back doors!”

I told him to leave the back door alone. Finding anything on his own back there would be hard, which might tempt him to send Clyde prowling around. “How ‘bout you just check under your arms,” I said.

“Oh yea,” he said nodding, kind of smug. “I’ve already got hair there.” After he flashed his pit, I explained as gently as I could that one or two blond little wisps don’t actually count. And I would have left it at that, but the sometimes-heartless Jay piped up with a question that raises a haunting issue: “You know Fritz and Lee?” she asked Tanner, calling up my brothers. “Well, they didn’t hit puberty till they were 17!” Tanner looked at me horrified, and I winced when I nodded to let him know that she wasn’t kidding. The truth is, my brother Fritz was carded at R-rated movies well into his 20s.

And this leaves me worried. From the time C&T were in the womb, I’ve wondered: what if they aren’t identical? Okay, so they look exactly alike, but still, without the DNA test, who can be sure? And if they’re fraternal, then there’s a very real possibility that one of them will take after BigG’s family and the other after mine, which means we’ll have Boy #1 shaving by the time he’s 12 and Boy #2 treasuring his few random chest hairs in his mid 20s.

Time will tell, of course, but if Boy #2 is left behind by his then tall and hairy counterpart, I’ll help the little Johnny-come-lately any way I can.

“Um, Mountain Dew?”

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This Weeks Tip

We did a review a while ago of dry shampoo. Here’s an alternative when you don’t have time to wash, but want to get rid of the oily-ness. Sprinkle some baking soda on your hair, comb through then quickly fluff your hair with a blow dryer. (note: You can also add a little scented baby powder to keep your hair smelling clean!)