The Adventures of Noah
I was watching TV one day when the back door opened and I heard three sets of footsteps as they marched into the living room. I glanced over at the three boys who had come in: Reese 12, Ian also 12, and his younger brother Noah, 10.
While my son was burying his head in his hands and shaking it, the two brothers sat on the love seat staring silently, but intently, at me. I sensed they’d been talking. Obviously, much against my son’s wishes, the other two wanted to bring me into their conversation.
“Something on your minds?” I asked mildly amused.
Surprisingly, Ian spoke first. He’s usually quiet and reserved. “You’re a nurse aren’t you, Miss Michelle?
“You’ve known me your whole life and you’re just now asking?” I mused at him. “Yes, I was told when I left college I was a nurse.”
For being only 10, Noah exhibits a lot of maturity for his age. He’s very quick-witted and fast on his feet, even at 10 years old. He is also the more animated and vocal one of the three. Noah jumped up from his seat and announced, “You’re a girl, right?”
I nodded. “I like your observation better than Ian‘s.”
My son, Reese, who is very shy and blushes at the mere mention of the word G-I-R-L-S, is groaning to the other two, “Please don’t get her started.” I have no idea where my son gets this abundance of shyness from but his reaction tells me the subject they’re most curious about has to do with S-E-X.
“Okay,” Noah says as he begins pacing around in front of us. Using his hands as he speaks, he says, “Now, explain to us, so that we can understand, what a period is.”
“A period is a dot that is commonly found at the end of a sentence and before the beginning of the next sentence and/or paragraph,” I answered promptly.
The three boys laugh as Noah continues. “No, I mean the blood and mess you girls have to clean up after every month.”
(I did say he was vocal, didn’t I?) “What do you know about that?” I asked him seriously.
“Nothing, that’s why we’re asking,” answered Ian.
“Why do girl’s have to do that?” Noah asks.
“Why don’t you ask your mother,” I suggested evenly.
“My mom?” Noah asks with humor in his voice. “My mom lives in a cave. She won’t even talk to me about French-kissing. And, I know what that is too. It‘s where you stick your tongue down each other‘s throat and call it kissing.”
“Sounds kind of gross when you put it like that,” I say laughing.
“I don’t know. I haven’t done it yet but, I will,” he surmises thoughtfully. The other two nod their heads in agreement. “So, will you tell us what a period is? Please?”
After much thought and consideration, I explain to them what the menses is and how it’s a process of the female reproductive system. I try to explain in layman’s terms without sounding vulgar about it and at the same time, educational. I finish with “We have to rid our bodies of the unfertilized egg. If it doesn’t get fertilized it dies,” I concluded.
“Do you still have a period, Miss Michelle?” Ian asks shyly.
Noah stops pacing long enough to declare, “No, you dummy! She’s too old to have one.”
My son roars with laughter. He still refuses to contribute to the conversation. He’s just listening with great amusement.
“Oh,” Ian says simply.
“You have Man-A-Pausal now, right?” Noah asks me, then turns to his older brother knowingly and explains, “That means she doesn’t have a period anymore.”
“It’s menopause,” I corrected, “and yes, I do still have one.”
“Oh,” Noah replies. “I thought you were too old.”
“Get out of my house,” I say.
Once all three were back outside playing, I called my friend, Gail. She’s Ian and Noah’s mother. Even though I probably wouldn’t be upset by one of my nursing friends explaining things to my son, Gail might not like it so, I called to let her know what had transpired.
“Why are they asking about periods?” Gail asked laughing into the phone.
“Probably because they’re boys and are curious.”
“Yeah, but they won’t ever have one. They know that.”
“All the more reason they’re curious,” I explained.
“Well, Katie (their older sister), has one every month, so they know all they need to know about them,” she replied. We talked a few more minutes and then she says laughingly, “Feel free to answer any of their questions because I don’t think I would know how to.”
“Who answers them when they ask you and Mike?”
“I guess Mike does. I talk to Katie but I don’t know anything about man-things.” Gail cups the phone and yells to her husband, “Mike, do Ian and Noah ask you things about sex?”
I hear from the background, “No. They don’t say anything to me.”
Returning to the phone, Gail concludes, “They must talk to their friends then because they don’t ask us anything.”
Realizing they had found a source of information and most importantly, someone who didn’t feel awkward talking about things, Ian and Noah’s inquiries didn’t end with the menstrual cycle. They came back to me several times over as they grew up. I always threatened to write a book called, “The Adventures of Noah” because Noah was always quick to provide me with the material, not to mention, the laughs.