Category Archives: A Dude’s Guide to Teens

Johann Zahn; You Made My Kids Run Away!

Today, I come to praise the Dude! who first made the camera small and portable enough to allow us mere civilians to start taking our own photographs. Believe it or not, he did this in the 1600s. So, while progress marches on, sometimes it marches very. . . very. . . very. . . very slowly. Still, once cameras hit, they hit big.

Today, thanks to the evolution of technology, we’ve got the cheap digital camera and that, quite simply, is the greatest invention ever in the history of keeping track of your family and little dudes as they grow. I’m old enough to remember when taking pictures of your little dudes involved film camera, finally taking all the pictures on the roll, getting them developed, finding out if you actually did get a good picture, then saving and labeling the negatives so we could — maybe — get some more copies made. It’s a wonder we actually took the time to make any pictures at all.

Now, thanks to the digital camera, I’ve got more than 10,000 pictures at my fingertips. I throw together albums at the drop of a whim and my little dudes can actually see the pictures I took of them. Now, I can see the little dudes as they looked a couple of years ago without leaving my desk. That’s progress.

My only problem is my little dudes start shrieking like little girls and run as soon as they see me coming with the camera. Maybe I’m taking too many?

– Richard

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“Craffing” (c)

What do you call it when your kids crys and laughs at the same time? “Craffing” (c)

Next time your little one gets dinged up and the flood gates open, give them a hug and sneak up under their shirt and start tickling away. The sound you get is absolutely amazing.

Craffing is something absolutely hysterical. If you have not learned this little trick to turn that frown upside down I suggest you master this immediately.

Dude! you should practice on your wife tonight. (I mean just the tickling part, don’t make her cry first!)

– Barry
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Talking THE TALK

My parents were rather open about sex. That is, they kept forgetting to lock the door when they had it.

Despite the scarring,  I did manage to find out about sex, babies and how the two were related. Of course, this was in spite of the football coach who ran what was laughingly called “sex ed” in conservative Texas, which was neither about sex or education.

When I had little dudes of my own, I decided I would make sure they knew all about growing up, getting sexual and having babies, or not having babies, as the case may be. Most parents vow to make their kid happy. I vowed to educate mine about sex. I’m willing to admit there could be something seriously wrong with me.

Once I decided on my course, I did have a bit of an  advantage. See, my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be In Charge, is an obstetrician, so in her job she deals with repercussions from sex (babies!) all the time.

Because of that, my little dudes have always known that babies don’t get dropped down the chimney by a stork. They knew that all babies are given to their parents by Mommy.

Which, once we were able to stop laughing, we realized probably would not be a good basis from which to start our education. Once we disabused them of that notion, things got a little easier. And a lot less funny.

In a move perhaps foreshadowing my wife’s career, she and I had discussed this very topic before we had any of the little dudes. We didn’t want to add to the number of grown Americans messed up about sex. We figured we were going to mess them up in a lot of different ways no matter what we did, but we could definitely make sure they didn’t get too many hang ups about sex.

We decided we’d use the correct words whenever we spoke of certain (reproductively associated) body parts, both for the female and the male. So, yes, the words penis and vagina often were heard around Casa de Dude.

We made sure the little dudes used correct language as well, trying to reduce the titillation factor of using slang. Still, I can’t tell you how disconcerting it was to hear “penis” and “vagina” get said by little mouths. Which only goes to show that I still have a few hang ups about sex.
With all that groundwork laid (no pun intended), we still had some decisions to make. Just talking to the little dudes wouldn’t embarrass them enough. We needed visual aides to really do the job. We wanted to make sure the little dudes had a firm grasp (pun somewhat intended) on what their bodies would go through during puberty  and, most importantly, that it was normal.

After a lot of looking and comparing of notes, we decided on what turned out to be a really great book:  The “What’s Happening to My Body” Book for Boys by Lynda and Area Madara.

We were as prepared and ready as we were going to be. We thought we had it made. We were, of course, wrong.

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