My eleven year old returned from school and started to tell me about her "Life Education" session.
I has been expecting her report to be a little different to previous years as I noticed "puberty" and "drugs" were on the list of topics to be discussed - oh, and could you see your way to paying an additional fee of blah blah blah...
Initially, I was annoyed, not because there was a fee but because I've always kept an open mind with my daughter and we've often talked about both subjects - it was against my grain to have to pay some stranger to merely repeat my good work. Regardless, I paid the fee and waited for her to return home, marveling at something one of our own "talks" had not revealed.
I was not disappointed.
"Puberty right, well it's like this. A mother has these teenagers right, and they got the puberty and she's cooked these muffins yeah?..."
(Memo to self: Do not glaze over. Do not glaze over!)
"So, anyhow, one day the daughter comes home and the mother offers her these muffins and asked how her day was. The daughter takes a muffin and is happy, rabbiting away about how awesome her day was, but the next day, when she comes home and the mother asks her how was her day, the daughter just says, oh my God, I can't believe you could ask me that, and goes off into her room and slams the door...."
Lu has noticed my dumbfounded look. "It's cause she's got puberty mum!"
"Anyway, "she continues, "the mother's son comes home on the first day. He eats the muffins and talks about his day, just like his sister but on the second day, when he gets the puberty, he also comes home in a grump. He doesn't storm off into his room or anything but he only eats two muffins and mutters before going to play hoops."
"And that, " she concludes, "is puberty."
My first instinct - is this a 'home economics' class or a pathetic attempt to discuss puberty? I know she mentioned the word 'puberty' but I'm buggered if I know where the word 'muffin' comes from - unless, of course, it's a euphemism for later in life. That aside (for now), I wondered what "stereotypical" behaviors this school was teaching my child. Mother cooks muffins? Oh please! Teenage daughter is a moody cow but son, an up and coming man of few words, just goes off to play hoops? Not only does that seem to be "telling" my 'soon to be teenage moody cow daughter' that she has every right to go stomping off into her room at the mere hint of civilized conversation but that any man she is likely to encounter does not, will not, no matter how hard you try - talk about the basics in life. Is this about the time a green light turns on inside their hormonal heads and sets the tone for things to come - women are irrational, men are aloof?
Whatever the point of that class was, the most my child got out of it was a giggle at how the teenage boy only took two muffins and all because he was getting puberty.
Getting? It's not a disease for goodness sake.
"I think there's more to it than muffins," I add wisely.
This is about the time my mother enters the conversation and I know, in about thirty-nano-seconds I'm going to start contradicting myself and start sounding real right irrational and cranky.
"Puberty's not about bloody muffins.It means getting your period and if you get it too early, you dry up like an old prune."
My eyeballs instinctively circumnavigated the inside of my head. "Oh for Pete's sake Mum, don't say things like that. She'll believe you."
"What do you mean dry up?" Lu asks.
"Nothing Lu, it's nothing. Nannie is just being a dick."
"I'm not being a dick. It's true. You're born with only so many eggs and.....
Lu wisely interjects: "I know about eggs Nannie,"
"Well that's alright then but the next time you eat an egg, you just think about what that really is."
Lu looks mortified and I silently sign behind my mother's back - 'Don't listen to her, she's loop-de-loo.'
"And another thing, you'll probably find, just before your period Lu, that you get real moody and have tummy cramps and ..."
"Mum, stop it. It's a right of passage not a bloody illness!"
"A right a who?"
The conversation swung back and forth, between a cynical grandmother and naive grandchild. I know my mother says things believing she is funny and I look at my child and can only hope that in the years we've spent together, that somewhere along the way, she's managed to figure out the difference.
Just as I'm thinking this, Lu sneaks out an 'eyeball roll' and I smile.
Whew. She's not being sucked into the vortex of my mother's (sometimes) overbearing sarcasm anymore than the naive theory of so-called pubescent muffins.
We live... another day.