My fourth grader attended his first maturation class

In January, we received notice that all fourth graders would be offered maturation classes in March. That is where they separate the boys from the girls and talk about the changes of puberty. (I barely remember mine from elementary school.)

At our school, they start the classes in fourth grade though the girls receive a brief intro talk in the third grade because girls are developing sooner than before. I had no clue that it started in third grade since notices only went home to parents of girls, and we aren’t there yet. (But will be next year.)

So at our school, both fourth and fifth-grade students are separated by gender and receive a lesson on what is about to happen to their bodies.

When the notice came home in January, parents could attend a brief meeting at a neighboring elementary school where they would go over what they would discuss and answer your questions. Or you could just watch the video that would be shown to your student from home. So my husband and I opted to do the latter.  We figured if we had any questions, I could then attend the official meeting.

The video was pretty straight forward. It was done in the format of some boys listening to a radio show called “Let’s Talk.” It was informative, and I could just picture the boys squirming and being embarrassed while watching it.

Jase got his chance to watch the video at school last Thursday. One of the first things he said when he came out of school was that he had to attend maturation class.

“How was it,” I asked.

“I am going to start sweating more,” he said and then bowed his head.

IMG_4362“That’s true. What about the rest of it? Did you find it embarrassing?”

He nodded. “Some of it.”

He then showed me the booklet that he received, briefly opening it to the diagram of male genitals.

We spoke a few more minutes on it as we walked. Luckily, Lexie was talking to her dad who happened to be at pick up with me. (A very rare occurrence.)

Jase went on to talk to my husband the next day. He didn’t really have questions, but I think needed to process through what had been said and perhaps needed his dad’s reassurance that it was true, and everything would be all right.

For a child who is resistant to change, I think he handled everything well.

Next year, I will have two kids attending the Maturation classes. I will get to see what the third-grade  girls learn when Lexie goes, and I will get to see what additional information the fifth-grade boys receive as they watch a different video than the fourth graders.

Adding a Lego-twist to an army-themed birthday party

After Jase’s birthday party in 2013, I decided that we were done with throwing a party and inviting the whole class to some sort of party place. As Jase gets older, I want to scale back his parties. So we started talking about doing one at home or maybe something with just a few friends at another location.

When we first brought this up, Jase was really into army stuff, so we started talking about an army themed party. I did some research online, and we came up with an obstacle course and a shooting/target practice game.

(Disclaimer – we started thinking about this WAY early. As in months before the party which of course means the theme changed as his interests changed.)

Jase 9 invitationIn February, my son saw The Lego Movie and loved it. Suddenly, he wanted a Lego Movie invitation which of course meant the theme was shifting from army to Lego. But he didn’t want to change the activities so we just added Lego bricks and figures to our original activities.

Obstacle Course

CIMG2822This was quite easy to add a few Lego touches to. We started off with a balance beam (adding “Lego bricks” to hold it over the “lava”). After that was the climbing wall which of course resembled a Lego brick. The only other Lego touch was more “Lego bricks” as they leapt over the “lava” in another section. (We also had a tunnel, hurdles, a swing over a “river” and a rope area to jump through like tires.)

Shooting Practice

CIMG2854My husband built a shooting board which I printed out micromanagers from The Lego Movie. Using a laser, the kids would shoot at the micromanagers. Lights and a twirling devise would activate when they hit the target. (My husband had all sorts of plans to have this game outside and have it count the number of hits but because nothing is ever as easy as it seems, we had to go with this incarnation of the game. The kids were still impressed.)

Piñata

CIMG2825I decided to make my own Lego piñata. After reading a few blogs, I choose one of the easier methods that did not require Paper Mache. We used an empty Moutain Dew box that I covered with tissue paper. The bumps on the Lego were just plastic cups covered with tissue paper and then hot glued on. It looked very good but only lasted for about six kids before it broke.

Cake

They simply don’t sell a Lego cake anywhere here in San Antonio. (Ok, some bakery might make me one, but I want an inexpensive cake – and one I don’t have to bake/decorate myself.) So after finding nothing, we decided just to order a cake from the grocery store and have Jase decorate it with some of his Lego figures. He and Lexie had a good time doing that and everyone thought it was cute.

Water Balloon Fight

CIMG2876The big finale of the party was a water balloon fight. Every kid got 10 water balloons to start. (There were 12 kids total at the party). After they used their balloons, they could come and snag a few more in our “reserves” pile. I think we originally filled around 150 of them. The fight lasted longer than I thought it would as the boys held onto their balloons until they had a good shot. Then they broke out the water guns that I had bought in lieu of goodie bags and had a blast chasing each other around the yard.

All in all, I think it was a great party. Several of the boys claimed it was the best party ever. The birthday boy was happy, so I guess that is what matters most!