Family / Kids

Talking (Mostly) Openly About Puberty

The other day, my 8-year-old Levi had a question for me that developed into a conversation – about development – and I was reminded that parenting is all about fielding questions whether you’re ready for them or not.

Levi: Mom, why do men’s voices sound so low?

Deborah: Voices get lower during puberty, when girls’ and boys’ bodies change and become women and men.

Levi: Pyoo-brity?

Deborah: Yes, PYU-ber-tee. As you get older, your voice will get lower, and other things about you will start to change, too.

Deborah’s Thought Bubble: You’ll stink. Everyone I know with boys (and many with girls) warn me of the gym locker room that your bedroom will become, and try as I might, no matter how often how many times you shower or how many air fresheners I place strategically throughout your room, you and your surrounds will smell like the inside of a wrestler’s jockstrap – so I’ve been told.

Levi: Like I’ll get taller?

Deborah: Yes, taller. You’ll probably be much taller than I am.

Deborah’s Thought Bubble: You’ll be taller in spite of your diet. I will no longer have to worry about feeding you breakfast in the morning, however, because breakfast will be served when you wake up, well after 1pm. I will, however, still have to prepare your meals otherwise you will eat only what is readily available to you requiring no preparation or cooking of any kind, and expiration dates will have no meaning to you. I will do my best to keep you from subsisting on Hot Pockets, beef jerky, and Cocoa Puffs sunk in questionable milk.

Levi: Wow! I can’t believe how tall I’ll be!!

Deborah: And imagine all the things you’ll know! You’ll be learning all sorts of interesting things in school and reading cool books.

Deborah’s Thought Bubbble: And, for some reason, though your vocabulary will be much more extensive than it is now, words will become precious to you – so much so that you will not want to use them, choosing to nod and grunt to get your message across, parsing out phrases only when absolutely necessary. You will all but lose the ability to form complete sentences until that day that you find it necessary to incorporate premodifiers, adjectives, and superlatives to impress that special someone in your life.

Levi: I love reading! I want to read all about science because I want to be a scientist who invents things.

Deborah’s Thought Bubble: I just hope make time for reading when you will most likely take every opportunity you have to masturbate. You’ll try your best to pull your plonker whenenever the moment arises, so to speak, and I’ll try my best not to walk in your room without knocking. I’ll also make frequent runs to Costco to stock the tissue. And let me tell you this right now so that we are clear. The minute you start using your socks for anything other than to cover your feet is the minute I stop doing your laundry.

Deborah: You’ll also start to grow hair all over your body.

Levi: Like a beard?

Deborah: Yes, and in lots of other places.

Deborah’s Thought Bubble: Given my genes, back hair and a unibrow are most likely in your future. I’m sorry, but we come from hirsute stock. But because I have plucked and lasered most of my body hair, I’m going to tell you it must have been the donor.

Deborah: You’ll have hair on your chest and under your arms and on your bits.


Deborah: Around your penis. On your scrotum.

Levi: On my balls?!?

Deborah: Yup. And women have hair on their vaginas. It’s all a part of growing up.

Deborah’s Thought Bubble: Unless they have alopecia in which case they would have no hair anywhere – or they wax it all off as is the fashion these days.



Levi: I do NOT want hair on my balls! I do NOT!!

Deborah: You may change your mind when you’re older because it shows that you are a grown up, a man. It’s perfectly natural, and the hair may … grow on you. Get it? Grow on you?

Levi: Oh yeah. Good one. But I do NOT want that hair there.

Deborah’s Thought Bubble: While I tell you to love yourself and all that is natural about you, the minute you say the word, I’ll take you myself for your first back, crack, and sack wax. 

Deborah: You know, sometimes when I look at you, I can see the man waiting to introduce himself to me, and I am overcome with love and pride. But you know the best part about growing up?

Levi: That I will be an inventor?

Deborah: Yes, and that you will be a handsome and smart and kind man, AND you will always be my little boy.

Deborah’s Thought Bubble: (no words – knot in throat)





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  1. This was golden! As a single mom of 16- and 21-year old sons, oh man, I could tell you about the talks we talked. I had that knowing smile plastered on my face as I read this whole thing. Thanks for the happy jaunt down memory lane. (I’m just glad it’s actually over and done with for me, though I still find an occasional “sock” in the dirty clothes) 🙂

    • Deborah Goldstein says:

      I bet you have loads of tales to tell! And occasional “sock” – EW! I’d better start wearing rubber gloves to do the laundry.

  2. So cute. What a sweet guy. And you’re not so bad either.

  3. Just save yourself the hassle of Costco (where you can’t get out of there without spending $300 – and will ultimately forget the tissues, anyway). Teach him how to do laundry now. Or, on the other hand, Costco sells socks, too.

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