Growth, Development and a Tank of Guppies

The yearly “growth and development” video is upon us.  About this time each year, the smell of recess mixed with a fresh batch of onions starts to fill our halls and causes many of us to lose our appetites.  I actually rubbed hand sanitizer on my upper lip yesterday to ward off the smell of the six 11-year-olds that filled my office.

This movie and talk are NOT, I repeat, NOT a how-to video instead they are a way for us to separate the boys and girls and talk about the changes in their bodies.  You know hair, menstrual cycles, pimples and how to really get in there and wash in every crease and crevice.  Deodorant is the hot parting gift given to each person.  A real crowd pleaser.


Then, for a week, we all enjoy the smell of fresh rain and baby powder.

After this week, parents start to call asking for advice.  “When should we have the real talk?” “Where should I send my child for someone else to talk to them because I don’t even know if I know what I’m doing?” “What day of the week is the best day to talk to kids so there are no follow up questions?”


The sex education of a child is a delicate thing.  None of us wants to “mess” this up.  I’ve always laughed at the old joke about the boy who asked where he came from and the mom went into a very technical description with medical vocabulary and a flow chart. She was prepared.  The boy looked at his mother and said, “Wow. Mike told us today he came from Hartford, Connecticut.”

Growing up on a farm, we were exposed to many reproduction examples.  A few I would love to forget.  But my mother decided she would simply let a couple of guppies teach us the lessons we needed to learn.  s-l300.jpg

Our dinner conversation usually sounded something like this.

“What’s new in Sal’s by the Sea?” my daddy would say.

“I think Mrs. Guppy is with child again.” Momma would answer.

“Again!” Daddy choked.  “Can’t we organize a co-ed volleyball team to keep them busy or something?”

One aquarium ended up being two aquariums which lead to a “let’s-free-a-few-of-these- friends-into-the-fresh-lake” using the route of a toilet bowl.

“Are you girls understanding what is happening in the fish tank?” Momma asked us one afternoon.  “Oh yep.  We do.” I said.

“So you watched the momma fish have the babies? Do you have any questions about the role of the daddy fish? Any questions about why you need a male and female to have all of these babies?”

“Yep.” my sister spoke up. “We have only one question.  How do you choose which baby to eat when they are born?”

My mom walked away saying, “My work here is done.”

WARNING to Pet Smart:  We have twenty-four parents that are picking up two guppies over the weekend.3431839.jpg

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